A Writing Career: Newspaper Vs Magazine Work

I completely agree with you that thoughtful feature writing can be more challenging than the classic hard news stories. I don’t think that your preferences necessarily make you more suited for magazine work than for newspaper work, but I do think that you should consider pursuing a feature writing career rather than a hard news career factoryextreme.com .

Whatever you pursue, the good thing about hard news and features for both papers and magazines is that you can use your creative writing skills for virtually any story. A “featurey” lead is all the rage anyway. I wish I had more concrete advice for you, but perhaps these comments can help you find the right path for you.

You’re aware that you can do the creative feature-writing you love at a newspaper, right? A lot of my newspaper career was in the “Living” section of various newspapers (the section containing the soft news, features, articles on health, technology, recipes, interesting people, etc.). The larger newspapers may give you more latitude for writing features because they have a larger budget and more staff; the smaller ones may have more budget constraints and fewer staffers, leaving you less time for features.

Then again, you may have to chase hard news more at the big papers and have time to get to know your community and write the really up-close-and-personal stories at a smaller local weekly paper. A lot depends on the publication’s resources and editorial emphasis. You’ll need to read a lot of each publication to decide.

One of the great things about being on the newspaper’s features staff is the latitude you have; you have a beat to cover, sure, but you can basically write any feature story you want, with your editor’s approval. It’s a tremendous amount of autonomy.

You also might consider working for one of the news services such as AP, Reuters, etc.; a lot of the wire stories I pulled during my newspaper career were features. I’m not sure how to get started with them, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask your professors how to get started. Many college students “string” for them and establish themselves as reliable journalistic professionals that way.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.