Become a Local News Reporter

Need extra cash for your homestead expenses or city savings? It could literally be right at your fingertips—just apply those digits to a typewriter and become a local news reporter.

| September/October 1978

  • The hat and cigarette are optional, but this young man is otherwise well equipped to put in a few hours as a local news reporter.

No matter how much of the food and other essentials of life you and your family produce for yourselves out there on the ol’ homestead (or in your small town back yard or wherever), it's a cinch that you still need some cash money from time to time. You know, to pay off those backward individuals (like the tax collector) who haven't caught on to barter yet. And if you still live and work in a big city, surely you could use a few additional dollars to help you meet those ever-present bills or to get yourself ready for the Big Move out into the country. But you already know that. The question is: Do I know of any relatively easy, non-time-consuming ways for you to pick up those bucks?

And the answer is: Yes, I do. If you can write—not "fancy stuff," just plain, clear sentences that folks can understand—and if you have five hours or so a week to devote to an occupation that's almost too much fun to be called work, you could make up to $150 a month (just as I do) as a local news reporter for your newspaper.

You’ll Need Some Equipment

The most important "tool of the trade" for anyone who wants to write for pay is, of course, a typewriter. Believe me, no editor is going to pay much attention to your work (even if you do expose a Grange hall Watergate) if it's scribbled down on "cute" note paper or torn from a spiral-bound pad.

And whether your "writing machine" is an expensive electric or a garage sale special, keep a fresh, black ribbon in the typewriter at all times and keep the machine's keys clean. Remember: The appearance of your written copy is the first thing an editor will notice. Make that copy neat. Make it crisp.

If you're interested in earning the maximum possible income from this part-time job, it's also a good idea to equip yourself with (and learn to use) a reliable—but not necessarily expensive—35-millimeter camera.

Relax. I didn't know anything about cameras either (except for the little Kodak types) until I bought a $95 K-Mart Focal ES 35mm picture taker especially for my job. But I did memorize that camera's instruction manual before I bought and ran my first roll of film through it. And then, a week later, I went back and spent another $9.00 at the same department store for an electronic flash attachment so I could take good indoor shots. So far I haven't needed anything else to take photographs that a newspaper will pay for.

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