Three Pathways to Becoming a Newspaper Feature Writer

If you’ve ever read a specific newspaper on a regular basis, you’ve seen those feel-good feature stories about a historic old school that’s been saved from demolition, a little girl who courageously battles a deadly disease, or even a local semi-celebrity. Becoming a feature writer isn’t really all that complicated if you follow three basic pathways to freelance gold, and newspaper article mounting can preserve the hard-won fruits of your labors.

The Cold Call: It Still Works
Call and set up a meeting with the editor of the beat you’d like to help out, and keep the tone light and positive. Bring a sample of your writing and, if possible, some photos you’ve taken, that apply to the editor’s area. Bring photos of your subject that are interesting, appropriate to that newspaper’s style, and reflective of your own individual style. Bring your portfolio. Sell yourself as uniquely qualified, and don’t dwell on setting up a long-term relationship. Prove yourself, and the paper will ask for more and be open to your future ideas.

A Step Back: Unpaid Internships
That dreaded “unpaid” status doesn’t have to last the full length of an internship if you prove yourself as a dedicated and hardworking lackey – just in time to fill that contributing feature writer spot that becomes vacant. Internships are a foot in the door; once you’re in, you can earn the respect and trust of the editorial staff, then bring some fresh new feature ideas to the table.


Create A Regional Feature Niche
Newspapers that are dedicated to a bustling urban area may not devote much ink to suburbs and outlying rural areas, but their readership stretches that far. Pitch yourself as uniquely positioned to cover news and features in a specific area, and start with a summer festival or holiday parade with a new angle. Maybe there’s a float that’s made out of recycled trash, a small municipality that’s come back from the financial brink under determined leadership, or a pair of high school graduates who share a story of friendship and overcoming adversity.

There are feature stories all around us, if we begin to think like newspaper readers about what we might want to read. When you do land that first feature, don’t forget to preserve it with a custom wall plaque. Considering the work it takes to become a feature writer, you’ve earned recognition that will last for years to come. See how great your feature newspaper article will look in a custom frame with a FREE, no-obligation online preview.