Getting to some important stories

Every writer has been told at least once to “write what you’re passionate about.” I guess I’ve always been somewhat of an exception to that advice, although not really intentionally.

Another piece of advice along the same lines is to develop a niche, something you know very well and have been able to write about successfully. Back in the day, natural gas development was one of my niches. Not really by choice. The newspaper I worked for at the time had the bureau I worked in right in the middle of intense gas drilling. It made sense to focus much of my efforts on that topic.

I don’t live in the same area and haven’t written about natural gas in many years. Maybe some people Continue reading “Getting to some important stories”

I dig digging in to find a story

Truth be told, I never found writing breaking news stories that hard. You’re really just telling what happened where and, if possible, why. It’s an important role for a journalist but it never really lit a fire under me.

Not so with most of the stories I’ve written over the last several years. As a freelancer, I get to pick and choose the stories I write. My clients are not interested in breaking news, although some probably wouldn’t turn it down if I learned of something that merited immediate coverage. They’re more interested in features and details, so I get to dig deeper and find an angle and a story.

My most recent case in point involves Continue reading “I dig digging in to find a story”

Pitching my pitch gets closer

For freelance writers like me, with a strong journalism background, one of the areas I’ve wanted to learn more about and give a good try is story pitching.

Instead of having an editor assign stories, the writer tries to convince an editor they should publish or post a story. As a reporter, I would often actually pitch story ideas to my editor. But one main difference was those stories often resulted from some event or news release I read that morning. And since stories, or content, is what newspapers, TV stations and any other news outlet need to survive, it wasn’t too hard to get my editor to say “go do it, Mike.” 👍

As a freelancer, I don’t have that relationship with an editor. I get asked by clients to do this story or that story, Continue reading “Pitching my pitch gets closer”

Not just another buy out in the newspaper business

It happened again, at the end of May. Sadly, it’s happened so much in the last several decades, not many people knew it or – even sadder – cared.

The newspaper I had written for over the last year was bought out and has already lost its online brand presence. Later this year, it will lose its even more established print presence. Newspaper buyouts and the loss of jobs for journalists such as myself don’t usually garner much news of their own these days. You could maybe say there’s not enough reporters left to cover the story. Another sad note. Continue reading “Not just another buy out in the newspaper business”