Community newspapers are weekly publications covering the neighborhoods of a larger town. In Sacramento, California, for example, community newspapers cover the Pocket Area, Carmichael, East Sacramento, and Arden Arcade. Among others.
Community newspapers can be independent or affiliated with the main daily newspaper. They are often free and usually very upbeat in tone. They’re a good place to target if you want to write locally, build your resume, or get paid a little money.
Pitching a community editor is simple: an idea, and then two or three sentences about the idea. Send in at least ten pitches and then wait for a response before sending more. The hardest part is coming up with an idea the paper hasn’t covered before and something they think will appeal to their readers. Make sure to link to any of your writing that is relevant.
Here’s a list of pitches I sent in last year to a local paper affiliated with the Las Vegas Review Journal. Alas, the paper had enough freelancers already. But I am now on friendly terms with some of their people; perhaps something will work out later.
1. Moving to the western side of Las Vegas: a newcomer’s guide to the Summerlin area. How to navigate everything from utilities to schools to Nevada’s DMV.
2. The outdoors next door: what’s new and noteworthy at Red Rock Canyon. I wrote a similar piece for the West Sacramento News Ledger. I could do something like it on Red Rock.
3. Volunteering in the Summerlin area: what’s available and where. A talk with the people at NevadaVolunteers.org.
4. What’s happening at Palo Verde High School? A look ahead to 2016. A school piece I wrote is here.
5. The Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center. Upcoming workshops, lectures, and events.
6. Public art around town. Reviewing three or four art installations. What that plop of steel I-beams in front of the local library is supposed to represent.
7. Water Wise in Summerlin. Tips and techniques for making outdoor watering more efficient. I have a background in commercial irrigation and could interview with authority the folks at SNWA.
8. Firefighters for You. This would be an intermittent series, with the idea of profiling each local firehouse. They all have a different personality. Photos of crews with their equipment might be compelling.
9. CERT: Community Emergency Response Team. An area wide program that acts as a sort of firefighter’s auxiliary in emergencies. They also educate and help prepare citizens for dealing with same. Here’s a link to an article I wrote about the West Sacramento CERT team.
10. Thrift stores and more: our area’s best shops for variety and value.