You don’t have to be a big name journalist to make money from writing news. You can make a good sideline income by writing short new stories. You can make money by selling ideas for news stories, which is known as being a ‘news stringer’. You could even make quite a big lump sum from what is known as a scoop!
- First, choose a newsworthy area or two to specialise in. Good, topical ideas (but not the only ones you can write news on) are: Politics, the economy, sport, entertainment, culture, crime, business or the environment. If these sound a bit too heavyweight for you then focus on local news. For example, local politics is a LOT easier to write about than national politics.
- Next, get familiar with some newspapers that publish news on your chosen newsworthy area. The national newspapers pay the most money but are more tricky to get started with. Local and regional publications are easier to sell to but not all pay for news stories – be sure to check first. If the titles are unfamiliar to you go and purchase copies of them and ascertain if there any back issues available. Study what types of news have been run by those publications in the past and aim to source similar news. Some publications want more factual news, while others want humorous news or sensationalist news.
- There are a few directories where you can get contact details for newspapers and magazines. Here’s a good one I use all the time: Media UK.
- Now here’s a very good way to get started: Look for the news stories that appear in your chosen publications every day or every few days. Do some research into those stories. See what else you can find out about them. Look for the story behind the news. People and events the original journalist might not have found out about. Follow those leads up and create new, sellable news stories of your own from them.
Your news story doesn’t necessarily have to be that well written. If it’s good the editor will put a pro. journalist on the case and still pay you for the lead. This is what is known as ‘stringing’.