Freelancing for Newspapers Challenge: Brainstorm Some Ideas for the Food Section

Sue Fagalde LickBy Sue Fagalde Lick 

Newspaper food sections are an often-overlooked market to sell freelance articles. Perhaps you don’t even read the food section because you have more than enough recipes or you don’t like to cook, but you do like to eat, right?

The trick to getting into any food section is to come up with something it’s not already doing. Food is a broader category than you might think. You could come up with delicious ways to cook a ham, find new ways to make fun and exciting cupcakes for your child’s preschool class, or profile outstanding chefs. You could write about ethnic meals that your family enjoys, telling where to buy the ingredients and how to prepare the food.

But think beyond recipes. What’s the difference between all those apples in the produce section? Should you use a Fuji, Granny Smith or Red Delicious for your pie? Or, what’s the latest on pots and pans? Some people believe that aluminum pots and cookware coated with nonstick surfaces are unhealthy, so what are the alternatives? Or, how do you cook when the power goes out?

To crack this section, as with any other, email a query to the editor. Grab her attention with a tantalizing lead, describe what your article will be about, including a few sample recipes or suggestions, and tell a bit about your writing background.

YOUR CHALLENGE: Brainstorm food-section article ideas. List where you would send them and why readers would be interested. Keep in mind that your ideas could be resold to multiple newspapers and might also apply to food-oriented trade papers.

If food writing interests you, check out the Association of Food Journalists or the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association.

You are welcome to share your results or discuss the challenge here, as well as at my Freelancing for Newspapers blog. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

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Sue Fagalde Lick, author of Freelancing for Newspapers, worked as a staff writer, photographer and editor for newspapers in California and Oregon for many years before moving into full-time freelancing. In addition to countless newspaper and magazine articles, she has published three books on Portuguese Americans. She has taught workshops at Oregon Coast Community College, online for Writing-world.com and for Willamette Writers and California Writers Club. She offers an online course on reviews as well as individual coaching. See her website and visit her blog.

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