Localize Bigger Stories

Hello writers, as I mentioned in my last post, over the next few weeks I’m sharing some simple tips for how to break into the world of freelance writing. Last week, I started with “Write What You Know” and I highly recommend reading that one before you move on to the next tip, which is…


The myth of freelance writing is that freelancers should only focus on more in-depth reporting, covering topics that are not only universal, but ever present. They’re told to stay away from anything timely, urgent, immediately relevant as that’s what the beat writers and regular contributors are paid to cover. I mean, why bother trying to cover anything related to the pandemic when multiple departments of a newspaper, news site or magazine are already covering it, right?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only can you pitch “time pegged” pieces, you should…as long as you’re providing a fresh perspective or angle. In fact, media outlets are counting on you for it.

The trick is not trying to offer the same coverage as everyone else. While a national or international event might be getting coverage fitting of the grand scale, what’s often overlooked is how significant events affect individuals or communities on a smaller scale. It’s easy to look at the macro, but where you have a chance to shine is by focusing on the micro.

Try to find clever ways to localize stories, whether its in a geographic community, a cultural group, an industry, schools, local governments, etc. This is where “writing what you know” can really come in handy as well. Tap your peers, friends, family, colleagues when it comes to something bigger. When it comes to national and international news, chances are somebody has a unique story on how it’s affecting them.

In fact, some of the best coverage of this horrible pandemic came from independent writers who looked past the talking heads and provided a snapshot of just how real all of this was. Look to your contacts and community and show us how the news trickles down into the lives of regular people and/or specific groups, organizations and professions. It will offer a fresh and informative take for us and treasure trove of writing opportunities for you.

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