'These darkly comic tales place the author snugly between Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Be sure: Chris Fielden is one funny feller.' Allen Ashley, British Fantasy Award winner.
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How to Write Newspaper Articles

While educating myself with a correspondence writing course, I wrote a number of articles for local newspapers. Although I always wanted to write fiction, the course advised starting with non-fiction and journalism. This is because it is a lot easier to sell a newspaper article than a book, especially if you're writing a piece of local interest and are approaching a local publication.

Having an article published gives you valuable experience in dealing with editors and how they edit (or, in some cases, butcher) your work to make it fit the page.

Writing a gig or theatre review makes an excellent starting point. If the gig is local and you write well, a local paper is likely to use your work. That’s how I started – I wrote a review for a band I played in. Admittedly, this was a bit cheeky, but being in the band meant I knew the music and knew no one else from the paper was there to review the gig. This allowed me to write about the band and the performance convincingly.


To write an article, you need an angle. When the smoking ban was first introduced in the UK, I decided to do a piece on it as I had a friend who ran a local pub. I interviewed him, talking about the impact it was having on his business. The editor loved the local angle and the article went straight in the next edition. A really simple idea, but it worked. By using local contacts, you can produce something unique that no one else might have thought of or be able to write.

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I’ve discovered that one thing to avoid when doing this kind of freelance journalism is voicing your own opinion. No one cares what you think. Readers just want the facts so they can make up their own minds. I found editors tend to strip anything out that is opinion based rather than factual. You can describe what happened and allow an interviewee to talk and give their perspective, but your own thoughts are not needed. This technique seems to work well. Remaining unbiased results in a higher success rate.

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I can’t really talk in any great depth about this as fiction is my first love and I simply used article writing as a stepping stone to gain experience with having work edited and published. However, the experience I gained from doing this has proved invaluable. For any kind of writer, journalism makes an excellent starting point.

Below are copies of some of the articles I’ve had published in local press; the Bristol Evening Post and the South Avon Mercury.

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Bristol Evening Post - Valentine's Day Article - February 14th 2004

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Christopher Fielden Newspaper Article - Valentines - Bristol Evening Post - February 14th 2004

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Mercury - Ye Gods! Gig Review - November 11th 2004

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Christopher Fielden Newspaper Article - Ye Gods - Mercury November 11th 2004

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Mercury - Smoking Ban Article - December 9th 2004

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Christopher Fielden Newspaper Article - Smoking Ban - Mercury December 9th 2004

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Mercury - Brain Busters - February 3rd 2005

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Christopher Fielden - Brain Busters - Mercury February 3rd 2005

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Mercury - Valentine's Day Article - February 3rd 2005

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Christopher Fielden - Valentines Day Article - Mercury February 3rd 2005

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Bristol Evening Post - Vic Du Monte - April 28th 2005

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Christopher Fielden - Vic Du Monte Newspaper Article - Bristol Evening Post - April 28th 2005

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Mercury - Vic Du Monte - September 29th 2005

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Christopher Fielden - Vic Du Monte's Persona Non Grata Article - Mercury September 29th 2005

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Bristol Evening Post - Vic Du Monte - September 29th 2005

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Christopher Fielden - Vic Du Monte Article - Bristol Evening Post September 29th 2005

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Mercury - Ye Gods! Album Release - December 8th 2005

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Christopher Fielden - Ye Gods gig - Mercury December 8th 2005

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Mercury - Portishead Carnival Article - March 30th 2006

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Chris Fielden - Portishead Carnival Newspaper Article - Mercury March 30th 2006

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Mercury - Lands End to John O Groats Charity Ride - June 2007

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Chris Fielden - Lands End to John O Groats Charity Bicycle Ride Article - June 2007

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Leave your comments

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Your comments:

Stan P
Hello. I'm from Pittsburgh, PA. Every time I contact a newspaper outside of Pittsburgh (National and Regional Newspapers) I get turned down because I am not local. How can I get published in other newspapers when they only accept local writers.

Chris Fielden
Hi Stan. In my experience, for local papers, you have to come up with a story with a local angle. That was the only way I got into them, apart from in Bristol (where I live) because I’m a local writer. Or tie a story in with local events.

For example, I sent bacon into space once (crazy project…) and got into a Wiltshire (UK) area newspaper and on the local radio because they had an event all about locally sourced ham (Wiltshire is famous for it). Bit of an extreme example, but hopefully you see what I mean. The bacon in the project made it newsworthy for that area at that time.

Re the nationals: you’d need a really strong story to get into one of them – it’s very competitive and they often have in-house staff to contend with too. Still, if the story is strong and original and/or you have a unique interview or information or something newsworthy, most editors would still consider it.

I’ll admit, it’s been a long time since I wrote for a newspaper – about 6 or 7 years – but that was my experience of it at the time.

I hope that’s helpful.

Mani P
Dear sir, I'd like you to write articles for our newly opened restaurant, in the Toronto Star or any other famous news paper in Toronto Etobicoke. Can you help me with that ?

Chris Fielden
Hi Mani. I don't undertake that kind of writing anymore I'm afraid - I concentrate on fiction.

I'd recommend working with a Canadian author who understands the local publications.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Ravi A
Hello. How can send you my articles to be published in news papers? I'm a writer and want to develop my career. Can you help me to publish my articles in news papers?

Chris Fielden
Hi Ravi. I'm afraid I can't publish articles for you, as I don't run a newspaper. The best way to go about submitting your articles is to buy copies of newspapers you are interested in and read them so you understand the kind of stories they publish. Then read their submission guidelines and get in touch with them directly to pitch your ideas. In my experience, that's the best way to do it.

I hope that's helpful and wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Jemma U
That was useful.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Jemma :-)

Grace J
Thank you for the information! I am currently a year 8 (or grade 7, if you are in America) student who is planning to make a school newspaper with friends!

Chris Fielden
No problem, Grace! That's awesome news about your school newspaper. Please let me know when you get it off the ground - would love to take a look at it :-)

Penchalaiah K
How do I write for an English newspaper?

Chris Fielden
Hi Penchalaiah. Most newspapers have contact details on their website. Some have submission guidelines too. So the best bet it to start there :)

Amarachi P
I am Amarachi from Nigeria. I have been asked to write an article for publication on a newspaper on my experience as the football captain at my last school.

Chris Fielden
That's great, Amarachi.

I wish you the best of luck with writing your article - it sounds really interesting :-)

Valerie T
Hi,  I'm  Valerie. I've been asked to write and publish an article as an assignment in school. Can you give me any advice on what topics or areas to write on?

Chris Fielden
Hi Valerie. It depends where you hope to have the article published. If you're going for a local newspaper (which is a good place to start) then an article concerning something of local interest might be good. For example, when the smoking ban was implemented in the UK, I interviewed a pub landlord in the town I live in about the impact it was having on his business and a local newspaper published it.

You could also consider contacting one of your local publications, explaining your situation and asking them if they would like you to write about anything specific.

I hope that helps and wish you the best of luck with your assignment.

Chioma N
I am Chioma from Nigeria. I am 16 yrs old. I really want to know more about being a journalist. Can you teach me? Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi Chioma, thank you for your message.

I used to do a lot of writing for newspapers, but I now concentrate on fiction writing and running my blog, so I can't help you I'm afraid.

There are many online writing courses. I'd research some of them as a starting point. Try checking out your local universities - many unis run journalism courses. Or try the Open University and similar educational facilities that operate online learning options.

I hope that helps and wish you the best of luck with your writing :-)

Chioma N
Thank you.

Chris Fielden
You're welcome, Chioma :-)

Ejoh E
I'm a content creator, writer for Cheap SEO Articles but I want to become a freelancer. I tried writing for someone once and he complained. He said it was too short and jumbled. I felt the article was fine. What can I do to make my article better?

Chris Fielden
Hi Ejoh. Thank you for your message.

I'd recommend having a couple of articles critiqued. You can do that via a paid service, like the critique service I offer on my website.

Or you can look at platforms that offer free critiques. I list details of those in this resource.

I hope that's helpful and wish you the best of luck with your writing :-)

Eamonn M
Good article, Chris. It came up when I googled article writing so your SEOs are working!

I used to write humorous articles for the Bristol Evening Post and was paid about £30 each for them, not bad back in the 1980s. I don't think they pay anything now but I'm thinking of article writing to keep my brain in gear. I'm giving up on short stories. Even the tiniest non-paying mag gets hundreds of submissions a month now. As for novels, there are 8 billion on Amazon and 8 billion authors tweeting at you to buy their book. I can't give mine away. Also, friends and family read articles. No one except my brother is the least bit interested in fantasy and SF.

I enjoyed your short story book and must review it on Amazon. All your advice was sound but there are so many short story writers now that even the lowest paying obscure online zines get hundreds of submissions every month. One's chance of acceptance is getting lower and of money almost zero. Not much reward for the effort.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your comment, Eamonn.

Sorry to hear you're giving up on fiction writing. You're right about the number of authors and submissions, but I find a dogged approach still works. Everyone experiences rejections, but if you keep trying, acceptances still occur. I'd urge you to keep trying.

Article writing can earn you money, depending on who your write for and what you write about. I hope that works well for you. And if you enjoy it, that's great. I find non-fiction easier to write. Well... "easier" might be the wrong word. "Quicker" might be more accurate. Fiction takes me a long time to write. Making things up requires more thought, I think. Writing a bit of fiction and non-fiction is good, though. Each inspires the other. I find the same with music. Working in different creative mediums works well for me. Maybe it will work for you too?

All the best to you.

Paul K
Dear Chris, thanks very much for sharing some of the experiences that you had and have made you a great writer in this world. I have perused a few of your articles above and I can tell you're a wonderful writer. My name is Paul, and I'm from Malawi. I once published my pieces of article ranging from short fiction  stories to opinions etc. I'm not a full writer by myself because I have never been trained in writing. I did all these writings out of my interest, and passion. I really  need to pursue this career as one of the best African writer. Dear brother, I need to get good advise from you. For sure, I am not able to pay for a journalism institution as it is very expensive compared to the little income that I earn.

The other thing is that, how can I link with the local newspaper so that I can eventually send my article? Do I need to go to there respective offices and ask for an opportunity  to tribute my stories? How did you do yours?

Please help me with any information you can.

Chris Fielden
Hi Paul, thank you for your message.

In my experience, it's best to contact the paper directly. I used to email ideas and articles to the editor and they would let me know if they wanted to print any of them. As I worked with the papers more, I got to know the editors and, on occasion, would meet up with them. That's because they were in my local area.

My advice would be to research the papers in your local area, or publications that deal with your area of expertise, and see what they want from journalists and writers. I started off doing a peice for my writing course about Valentine's Day and the local paper published it because the timing was right and they wanted something on that subject matter at that time - I sent it to them a week or two before Valentien's Day. Then I went on to do gig reviews and articles of local interest. That worked for the publications I was dealing with.

I hope that helps and I wish you the best of luck with your writing journey.