Freelancing for Newspapers Challenge: Business Pieces

Sue Fagalde Lick By Sue Fagalde Lick

For many of us, the idea of writing about business sounds dull. But before you scroll down to the next column, let me change your mind. Yes, business can involve numbers and a corporate mindset that we might not share, but businesses are made up of people pursuing their dreams, and that’s where the real stories lie.

Major metro dailies all have business sections. Community newspapers are filled with tales of individuals setting up shop, moving or expanding their businesses. Specialty newspapers run countless features on people with interesting jobs–for example, a modern-day blacksmith or the owner of a doggie boutique.

More than 40 major American cities have localized editions of The Business Journal (bizjournal.com), which use lots of freelance articles. And of course, there are plenty of specialized trade publications looking for good writers.

Business stories come in many forms. If you can write about technology, stocks, insurance or mortgages, editors will love you. While not sexy, these pieces can be very useful to the readers.

Business sections also thrive on news about corporate leaders and their companies, advice for people looking to improve their careers, reviews of new technology, and trends in the various industries. Now would be a good time to write about anything being done to reduce the use of gas, for example. How are the gas prices affecting the tourist industry? What are they doing to auto sales? Are companies cutting back on business-related travel? What is it like for Joe Smith, who owns the Shell station on the corner?
You see? Business isn’t boring at all.

Your challenge: Come up with a list of business ideas and draft queries for the ones that grab your interest.

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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1 Response to “Freelancing for Newspapers Challenge: Business Pieces”


  1. 1 Rebecca September 24, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Great advice! I picked up a writing project on financial markets. It was a great experience. Who knew that my accounting background/education would come in handy in this manner. I never thought about it from a “writing” perspective.


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