Writers Corner: Fact-Opinion-News

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I recently had a request from someone who wants to write for a local newspaper in Imperial County and needed some information as to what goes where in a newspaper and why.  I have never been asked that question before so I had to pause and think, although I have been writing for newspapers for something like 50 years.

Different from books and magazines, writing for newspapers has more specific rules.  For instance you are never to write an editorial on the front page.  The front page is always reserved for news or something that is news-worthy.  Editorials and letters to the editor always go in the opinion section of a newspaper.

Entertainment belongs in the entertainment section which covers a wide variety of subjects that are considered “Entertainment.”  That can include information on music, films, television or videos.

Special columns have their place.  For instance columns dedicated to Religion, Veterans, Cooking and as I offer, Writing.  The point is, what you write for a newspaper should be directed to the section that is dedicated to those stories that fit your subject. There is one exception.  Obituaries.  They are usually on an obituary page.  However, if it is someone prominent it may be considered news and fit for a front page tribute.  In any event a good newspaper editor will direct you since it is part of his or her job to know where you belong in the makeup of a newspaper.  It is probably the only element of writing that I can think of where there is someone to put you in your place, so to speak.

In another direction, if I may, when in doubt never fear asking for help.  Often help may come from a high school or college professor who is a learned English teacher.  It might surprise the budding writer just how many places help can be found.  The old adage ‘seek and ye shall find’ is sage advice.  Just sayin’

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