I remember the first time someone said to me “Cassie, you should consider writing for The Community Voice.” I laughed. The suggestion came from a friend who followed me on a local community Facebook group page. I would report on what happened at our local school board meetings. However, having retired a few years ago, I was looking for either a part-time job or a hobby to keep me active. So, when another friend, who did write for the local community paper, suggested the same thing the next morning; I didn’t laugh. He was taking an extended leave of absence and knew they were looking for writers. He encouraged me to apply.
I had never considered writing for the public. Sure, I’ve written a paper or two for school; a couple of letters to the editors and even an article for my professional association. And like many folks, I’ve considered “writing a book” someday, without committing to doing it. Yet, writing for a paper? Having your friends, family, and neighbors read what you write. That thought was daunting. But it was also intriguing. Could I? Would folks like what I wrote? Am I going to embarrass myself? But I decided what the heck, I’d give it a shot. So here I am almost one year and over a hundred articles later, a journalist who even belongs to a professional organization for journalist. Best of all… I love it!
The Community Voice is a great opportunity to explore your writing abilities. You could be a student considering journalism, a freelance writer, or like me – just someone looking for a hobby to pursue to stay socially active while bringing in a little extra income. So, I took the chance and called to inquire if they’d consider me. They would. The editor asked me to send in a short piece and a longer piece of my choosing to review as an example of my writing abilities and style. They then scheduled me for an interview.
I went into the interview, not knowing what to expect. I’m not polishing apples here, but the owner/publisher and the editor were warm and welcoming to me. We talked about expectations, mine and theirs. What type of stories would I like to cover? What type of stories they might want me to cover? They shared the philosophy of the paper. They were up front that the compensation wouldn’t be a lot. Also, they explained that the first few weeks were on a trial basis. It gave them time to evaluate my fit and abilities and allowed me to see if I’d enjoy writing for a community paper.
When we were both satisfied, we then sat down to discuss the free-lance contract required. So, for me, I get to cover stories I’m passionate about. This includes the local school district, diversity and equal opportunity topics and the local LGBTQ community. For them, they had another resource to cover local events, city council meetings and profiles of local businesses. A community newspaper is always in need of reporters, columnists and writers.
You won’t get rich writing for them. You get paid only for articles they accept and publish. It’s not a full-time job. You can’t live on the compensation. But the people are great to work with. It’s also a foot in the door to see if you too can be a writer. Who knows… it might be the first step to writing for larger papers, magazines, or on-line outlets? And it’s fun to boot!
The Community Voice is expanding into Sebastopol. So local talent is especially desired to cover events and stories of interest in that community. But anyone who is interested and willing to take that first step; please call the News Team Leader, Irene Hilsendager, at (707) 584-2222 to let her know you’re interested. Browse the E-Edition of the paper at: https://www.thecommunityvoice.com/section/home. This will give a glimpse into what we provide in coverage to our local communities. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.