How to Become a Writer for a Newspaper

By C.J. Heller ; Updated September 15, 2017

Thanks to the internet, newspapers may be a dying breed of journalism. However, scores of people around the world scoff at the idea of reading words off a computer screen and prefer their crisp morning paper. Here are some tips on how to become a writer for a newspaper.

Do some investigative work to scour websites of local or national newspapers, as well as career websites such as monster.com to find print journalism ads online. Most job openings, in any industry, are advertised online even if the company has a preferred candidate in mind. Some also offer the option of having personalized job listings emailed to you repeatedly.

Apply online for a newspaper job that strikes your fancy. You will likely be asked to fill out a basic form that contains your personal information. You will also likely be asked to upload or copy and paste your resume and any writing samples you have.

Tailor your resume and writing samples to suit the newspaper job you are interested in. For instance, if you want to write for a national newspaper such as the Boston Globe, you will want your resume and writing samples to show that you have written for publications that have also served a national audience. In this case, articles written for a national news wire and a listed past internship or job with such a wire is valuable to an editor at the Boston Globe. Such an editor is likely not to be as impressed with a piece about your town's farmer's market or a resume consisting mainly of gigs at a small, free community newspaper.

Email an editor who has some authority at the newspaper where you are trying to get a job. Do not contact a very senior editor, as people in such positions usually do not have time to respond to cold job queries. But if you want to get a job as a metro writer, for instance, you would likely want to contact the head of the metro desk. To find out the email of the person you want to contact, simply call the newspaper's main line or the main line of the desk you are interested in writing for and ask for the address. Explain who you are and what the purpose of your call is. Be polite, but brief. In most cases, newspaper secretaries will be happy to disclose emails as they are less personal than phone numbers.

Wear professional career attire and use a notepad during a job interview to become a writer at a newspaper, if you are called to undergo one. Using the notepad to jot down notes will show you are serious and you will also look the part of a good journalist.