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My Outdoor California Article is Going to Print!

It’s always a wonderful feeling when an article nears publication. I’ve been sent a .pdf of my most recent magazine article to review and to submit corrections. The article is on the Yolo Bypass which is near Sacramento. Entitled High Water Legacy, it chronicles the role the bypass plays in providing wildlife habitat and flood control. The magazine is hard copy only, so I can’t point you to any online presence. The photograph below isn’t the issue I am appearing in, it’s just a typical cover. What’s the magazine about? As they put it,

Outdoor California Magazine

The Official California Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Magazine

Each issue offers California at its best—compelling stories on the state’s native species and habitat, presented with page after page of beautiful photographs. All of this plus the Thin Green Line, which chronicles California’s war against poachers!

How did I get my bypass article query letter accepted? Although some of it is luck, because you never know what an editor needs at any given moment, some it is not luck.

I had previously written on the bypass for the West Sacramento News-Ledger. I became an occasional reporter for that paper by doing my first two articles for free. After that, I did a number of stories, all for $25 an article. But the money wasn’t really the issue. I got paid, something, I got a byline, and I got published. Look at my story titles below.

Can you see yourself working for a weekly or a community newspaper? Query the editor with pitches and see where it leads. The idea is that one door leads to another. Years ago, writing about telecom on the web lead me to be accepted by several magazines and then I eventually landed an appearance on the History Channel. Can you think how the articles below might lead me to other articles? Keep writing!

The Outdoors Next Door: Exploring the Yolo Bypass 

The Port of West Sacramento is on a Path to Profitability 

West Sacramento’s CERT: Educate, Prepare and Assist

The TBD Fest: West Sacramento Hosts the Area’s Largest Music Festival

West Sacramento Reacts to TBD 

The West Sacramento Historical Society: Looking Forward and Back 

The Yolo Education Center: Helping Students Achieve Success

All Politics are Local

Retired Assistant City Manager Carol Richardson Looks Back

A Historic Firehouse Reborn

The Sail Inn is Back In Port

Artwork for Joey Lopes Park

West Sacramento Waterfront Stories

Chando’s Tacos Expands to West Sacramento

The California Highway Patrol Academy

The Sail Inn

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Newspaper article

Making Pitches to Community Newspapers

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.

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