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If you have an article and you want to get it published in newspapers or magazines, what are the parts you could do that? I know guest column is place like that, but any other idea?

If you think my question in broad, please answer it specifically about New York times or Washington post.

  • Classifieds would probably be the easiest. – user11233 Oct 25 '15 at 23:25
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I think it's important to know more about the type of article you're hoping to write. The Washington Post sums it up nicely in this doc--even the majority of words written by their full-time staff never make it to print. However, as @Tave pointed out, there are a number of "smaller" publications that are more willing to work with newer freelancers, and are often just as reputable as the NYT or WaPo.

Personally, I got my start by writing buying guides for a small start-up. It wasn't exactly the kind of writing I wanted to be doing, but a funny thing happened: those guides ended up getting syndicated by Yahoo's Canadian site. The point is, it's great to be shooting for such a high bar, but being published by a lesser-known magazine is also a really, really good thing.

That being said, before you even approach a smaller mag, you should also be aware that a simple "I'd like to write for you" won't get any editors' attention. Here are a few elements of a really good magazine pitch:

  • 2-3 short paragraphs (2-3 sentences each, tops)
  • Answer these questions: Why this topic? Why are you the right person to write it? Why is this important now?
  • Your bio (don't worry if you don't have too many credentials, but make sure you give the editor a bit of background)

I might have gone overboard here, but hope this helps.

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I would suggest you read your target publications to see where your article might fit. In the UK, a lot of copy is produced in-house, but there are slots for freelancers. Again, in the UK, the 'bible' for such information is The Writers and Artists Yearbook. I presume there is a US version?

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What sort of article are you hoping to publish?

Newspapers rarely print unsolicited articles from freelancers. Other than the editorial pages, they normally print news, i.e. accounts of current events based on the reporters eye-witness experience or interviews with eye-witnesses. Other than the editorial page, newspapers don't normally print essays, and I've never seen a newspaper print a short story.

There are freelance reporters who travel around looking for news and writing up stories. If that's what you're up to, you could try to submit those kind of stories. You could try to get picked up as a columnist for the editorial page.

As Rich Moy and Tave point out, if you're just starting out as a writer, the New York Times and the Washington Post are probably not your best bets. These are very big publications that lots of people want to write for. I don't mean this to sound snide or mean, but it's like asking, "I just graduated high school. How do I go about applying for a job as president of General Motors." Yes, if you're very good and/or have the right connections and/or are very lucky, you might manage it. But it makes way more sense to start with more humble objectives and work your way up. Start with a small local publication.

Magazines are much more likely to accept freelance submissions. The trick here is to read the magazine and find out what sort of articles they publish, then write something that fits. Most magazines accept freelance articles. Though some don't: you'd be wise to check out the magazine and their web site if they have one to see if they give a clue on this. I got my start in writing by publishing in computer magazines.

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Because you are asking this quesitong I assume you are not a well-known journalist. If you are an unknown freelancer I would have thought that the New York Times and Washington Post are the wrong publications to aim at. Local newspapers, or at least smaller publications, are more likely to take unsolicited articles.

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Traditionally, the place for a non-journalist who is not hired by a magazine or newspaper to be published in that publication is the "Letters to the Editor" department. This is an open-to-all-comers features, which runs submissions without payment and expressly without the endorsement of the paper.

These are usually informal, amateur epistles, but occasionally you'll see a letter published that reads like a brief essay or article, sometimes by a well-known person. The selection process is entirely at the whim of the editor of the feature, but it's often used as a place to give voice to complaints or to opinions that contradict the official positions of the newspaper.

If money is no barrier, your other option is an advertorial. This is an editorial article presented in space that has been purchased at advertising rates (which are typically very very high). It will be clearly marked as "ADVERTISEMENT" and no endorsement of any sort by the publication will be implied.

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