Freelance for Newspapers by Being the Middleman (or Woman) By Jill Pertler

Newspapers have a number of characteristics that can benefit writers. They are published regularly and frequently. Their purpose is information dissemination through the written word. They are in need of good copy, which leads directly to a need for good writers.

Current trends with the economy, coupled with information availability on the Internet, puts the newspaper industry in trouble, or at the very least in a state of change. Newspapers don’t have a whole lot of money to pay freelance writers. Budgets are tight. You know what they say about squeezing blood from a turnip.

Newspapers are not turnips, and this is not a dead-end street. There are ways that you – as a freelancer – can write for a newspaper and get paid well.

How? By becoming the middleman (or woman).

Newspaper exposure – from a business perspective – is a good thing. Businesses are willing to pay for exposure in the form of newspaper ads. Ads work; so do words – in the form of a newspaper column.

I’m guessing there are a number of businesses in your area that would benefit from regular newspaper exposure. The veterinarian could write a column on pet care. The bank manager could have a Q and A format about money matters. The law office? A legal column. Many businesses would welcome a newspaper column, except for one thing: they don’t have the time or (sometimes talent) to get the job done.

Newspapers are looking for good copy. Local newspapers often pull generic stories from the Associated Press in order to fill their pages.

As a writer, you can approach a local business with an offer to ghost write a column. It elevates the business owner to level of expert in his or her particular field. It gives exposure to the business. And, the business owner becomes an active, giving member to the community – providing knowledge in the local paper.

Best of all, they pay you to do the writing. I’ve been ghost writing a medical column for the last eight years. The authoring doctor reviews and approves the article before it’s printed. The newspaper is happy to have an article from a local doctor. The doctor and clinic benefit from the exposure. I cash a paycheck.

We are all happy.

Jill Pertler has touched people’s hearts and funny bones with her well-loved column, Slices of Life, since 2002. She self-syndicated it in 2009; it currently appears in over 75 newspapers in six states.

Her book on the subject, “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” is now available online through, Barnes and Noble,, and many more. Visit her website at:

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A practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles