How I Landed a Newspaper Column That Ran for 15 Years! by Linda Harris Sittig

How I Landed a Newspaper Column That Ran for 15 Years! by Linda Harris Sittig

I launched my freelance career by becoming a weekly newspaper columnist. My plan was to review the newest and best of children’s literature and feature accompanying tips for parents, teachers, and grandparents on how to instill the love of reading in children. As a ten-year teaching veteran, I wanted my column to provide our community with exposure to great books for children.

The day before my interview with the editor, my husband and I had sat in church explaining to our 5-year-old twin daughters how the Pope was the head of the entire Catholic church all over the world. The next morning as I was expressing my nervousness about interviewing with Mr. Jim Pope, and hoping he would hire me, one of our daughters ran up to me and exclaimed, “Oh, Mommy, good luck. We didn’t know you had to interview with the Pope!”

I shared that story with the editor and told him that, compared to interviewing at the Vatican, I felt completely confident about producing a weekly column for his suburban newspaper.

Smiling, he read through my credentials, and asked two questions: 1) could I come up with a different topic in my column every week for the next four months, and 2) what made me believe I would be successful as a columnist.

I confidently replied to question number one with an affirmative, “Yes.” Later, I learned that four months is the threshold when many new columnists run out of ideas.

For question number two, I spoke with the passion I felt in my heart: if my column could save even one child from being illiterate, then the effort would be worth it.

Confidence, credentials, and passion gave me the edge in the interview and the courage later to negotiate for a salary.

I became a freelancer and my column ran weekly for the next fifteen years.

Linda Sittig was born in New York City, reared in New Jersey, educated in Pennsylvania and started telling stories almost as soon as she could talk. A seasoned author with a 15 year weekly newspaper column, a 4 year running monthly blog, stories in numerous anthologies, and freelance articles ranging from professional journals to the Washington Post, Linda follows her dual passions about childhood literacy and stories showcasing strong female protagonists who serve as role models to others.