It’s the old Catch-22: Employers want experience, but how do you get any until they hire you? The answer: freelance. If you want a top print or web internship, you need to have clips (published articles) under your belt before you walk in the door. That means you need to start freelancing now—well before you start applying for any internship.
Dozens of newspapers and online publications in New York City will take your work. You’ll find several listed below.
If you have no clips at all, approach one of the small publications below and ask about writing for them. They’ll put you to work, and you’ll wind up with a half-dozen clips by the end of the first term.
Then you’ll be ready to crack the big publications around town, many of which take occasional freelance pieces. But don’t forget: Freelancing means having ideas. Editors won’t simply assign you a story; you have to go to them with a list of on-the-money pitches. So study publications that take freelance work and figure out what their angles are. Start walking the city streets with a view to finding exciting story ideas.
Ask your reporting teachers to help you shape your ideas and develop a pitch. If you do a great job on a class-assigned story, ask if it’s appropriate to pitch it to a community or daily paper. Or to the NYCNewsService, our student-powered news service. As Jere Hester, its editor, will tell you, local papers regularly pick up pieces from our newswire.
Weeklies and other small publications will often consider story ideas over the phone. Practice pitching your story before you call. Make sure you can spit it out in three sentences. Bigger places will want to see a written pitch first (an e-mailed “query letter”). A pitch should explain what your angle is, why the story is important and why you are in a position to write it (perhaps you know the neighborhood or subject well because of stories you’ve done for school).
Remember: This list is not exhaustive. New York is brimming with local publications, and many of them take freelance work.
The Amsterdam News
Weekly paper covers stories with a tie to the black community throughout New York City and the tri-state area, with national coverage as well. New York’s oldest and one of the oldest continuously published black newspapers in the United States. Circulation is 30,000. Typical story length is 350-500 words. Payment is $40 per story. No kill fee. Contact: Elinor Tatum, Publisher, email@example.com, phone 212-932-7465; address 2340 Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, NY 10027. Internships available year round (unpaid, with small stipend in summer).
The Arab American News
The largest and oldest Arab-American newspaper in the United States. Surveys and criticizes foreign policy, news and features from all over the Arab world (including social, political and cultural themes) and targets the Arab and Arab-American community. Looking for freelancers in all areas. Circulation is 35,000. Typical story length is 750 words. Pay to be decided. Contact: Kay Siblani, Executive Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 313-582-4888; address 5706 Chase Road, Dearborn, MI 48126. English/Arabic. Contact to request internship information.
The Battery Park City Broadsheet
Looking for strong writers who are familiar with downtown issues – WTC redevelopment, environmental issues, general neighborhood growth and demographic/services issues. Need writers who can cover local Community Board 1 meetings in the evenings and report on stories that come forth. Circulation is 25,000. Typical story length is 300-500 words. Fee varies according to assignment. Contact: email@example.com, phone 212-912-1106.
Black Star News
Weekly paper that prides itself as the voice of under-represented people. Looking for business stories and profiles, and community coverage–housing, police abuse cases, education, community activist profiles, health stories, community board meetings, local sports, etc. Looking for stories affecting all NYC boroughs plus Jersey City, Newark and Long Island. Typical story length is 800-1,200 words. No pay, but the chance for good clips and challenging assignments. Also looking for articles for Harlem Business News, a monthly magazine. Contact: Milton Allimadi, Editor and Publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-481-7745. 32 Broadway, Suite 511, New York, NY, 10004. Internships available.
Bronx Times Reporter/Bronx Times
The Bronx Times Reporter and the Bronx Times cover the entire Bronx in three weekly editions, operating out of a single office in Throggs Neck. Combined circulation is 57,000 (17,000 paid). Looking for stories affecting the Bronx specifically. Usually have Throggs Neck and Morris Park covered, so stories in areas like Hunts Point, Morrisania, Fordham, Jerome, Woodlawn, Co-op City, Third Avenue, Grand Concourse, etc. are welcome in arts, crime, special interest. For sports, we are looking for people who are willing to go to various schools and cover games, talk to coaches and players and take pictures. We are also looking for profile pieces on Bronx athletes who have gone outside the borough into college and beyond. Any sport is good with us. Typical story length is 500 words. Pay is $25-$40 per story. Contact: Bret Nolan Collazzi, Managing Editor, email@example.com, phone 718-597-1116. Internships available.
The Brooklyn Paper
www.brooklynpaper.com | www.go-brooklyn.com
Weekly papers with 70,000 circulation cover Brownstone Brooklyn, from Williamsburg to Bensonhurst. Publish five editions: Downtown and Brooklyn Heights; Park Slope area; Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst; Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill; and Fort Greene/Clinton Hill. Specialize in covering the hip, hot, literary areas of Brooklyn. Need news—borough-wide stuff and small, “Hey, didja hear about the new…” kinds of stories; news features and profiles, plus arts and entertainment news for the GO Brooklyn section of the paper. No dead kids. No tragic accidents. Typical length for briefs is 200-250 words; for stories, 400-600 words. Typical payment for briefs is $25; for stories, $40-$75; for photos, $20. For news, contact: Gersh Kuntzman, Editor in Chief, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 718-834-9350 x119. For arts and entertainment, contact Lisa Curtis, GO Brooklyn Editor, email@example.com, phone 718-834-9350 x131. Address 55 Washington St., Suite 624, Brooklyn, NY 11201. In addition, The Brooklyn Paper has a section called The Stoop, which is a tightly zoned section for each of our five neighborhood editions (DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights; Fort Greene/Clinton Hill; Park Slope/Windsor Terrace; Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Red Hook; and Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst). The Stoop covers smaller neighborhood issues, the kind of stuff you talk to your neighbor about: car theft rings, famous people moving onto the block, a new store, a quirky “only-in-this-neighborhood” story. Send completed stories or pitch ideas to Gersh Kuntzman, Editor in Chief, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 718-834-9350 x119. Kuntzman prefers you to pitch story ideas in advance so that he and you are on the same page before you’ve started your reporting. Unpaid internships available year round.
Catholic New York
Biweekly newspaper (except during the summer when it is published monthly), Catholic New York is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York. It is not a spiritual or theological journal, but rather covers news of the Catholic Church in the archdiocese, at the Vatican and elsewhere. Freelancers (Catholic background/Spanish proficient preferred) sent out on assignment to cover events (mostly on the weekends). Circulation is 130,000 throughout Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, and the Northern Counties of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan. Typical story length is 350-650 words. Longest stories are 1,200 words. Pay is $100 per story, plus expenses for travel (mileage, subways, etc.). Clips will be requested. Contact: Mary Ann Poust, News Editor, email@example.com, phone 212-688-2399 x150; address 1011 First Ave., New York, NY 10022.
Chelsea Now—part of the newspaper group that also publishes The Villager, The East Villager, Downtown Express and Gay City News—is always looking for freelancer articles. Our coverage area includes Chelsea and the surrounding neighborhoods (Hell’s Kitchen, Meatpacking District, West Village, Flatiron District). We look for stories of all kinds, from hard news to features, profiles, Q&A interviews and, of course, good community-board meeting coverage (we report on C.B. 4 and 5). We also report on citywide stories that are topically relevant to Chelsea, such as those dealing with LGBT issues, affordable housing, etc. If you come with photography skills, all the better.
Typical story length is 800-1,400 words. Pay is $50 per story (slightly more for experienced writers or longer pieces). Email pitches to Scott Stiffler, Associate Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 646-452-2497. Internships available.
City Limits Weekly
City Limits is a nonprofit urban affairs news agency that produces a bimonthly magazine and publishes online news several times a week. It aims to cover policy and neighborhoods in depth, with a special emphasis on education, the environment, government, justice, the economy and housing, and an emphasis on issues affecting low-income and/or outer borough neighborhoods. The magazine has a circulation of 10,000. The website gets 50,000 to 70,000 unique visitors a month. Magazine assignments are for 10,000 to 15,000 words and are typically given only to very experienced writers, usually five to six months before publication. Web stories generally run 1,000 to 1,500 words and pay up to $500. Student work is not paid. E-mail pitches to CityLimits Editor Jarrett Murphy, email@example.com. Unpaid internships available year round. Send resumes and clips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courier Life Publications
Local weeklies: Bay News, Kings Courier, Flatbush Life, Canarsie Digest, Bay Ridge Courier, Brooklyn Graphic, Park Slope Courier, Carroll Gardens Courier, Fort Greene Courier, Brooklyn Heights Courier
Local monthlies: Sunset Park Courier, Bushwick Courier, Bedford-Stuyvesant Courier, East New York CourierFor a breakdown of what neighborhood each paper covers, visit this link.
Weekly arts & entertainment: 24-7
Monthly family magazines: Brooklyn Family, Queens Family
Freelancers contribute all story types. Circulation varies based on publication. Typical story length is 800 words. Payment is $40 per published story. Contact: Meredith Deliso, Assistant Editor, email@example.com, phone 718-615-3809; address 1733 Sheepshead Bay Rd., Brooklyn, NY 11235.
Weekly paper covers Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street. Freelancers cover community board meetings, downtown arts scene and other local activities. Open to pitches. Circulation is roughly 30,000. Typical story length tends to be in the 800-word range. Payment varies. Contact: John T. Bayles, Associate Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 646-452-2463; address 145 Sixth Ave., New York, NY 10013. Unpaid internships available year round.
America’s largest Jewish newspaper. Looking for features, news, arts & culture, and calendar—all with a Jewish angle. Circulation is 30,000 nationwide. Typical story length is 600-1,200 words. Pay to be negotiated with the editor. Contact: News Editor, Popper@forward.com, Arts & Letters Editor, email@example.com, phone 212-889-8200 x417; address The Forward, 45 East 33rd St., New York, NY 10016. English/Yiddish. Internships available.
Gay City News
A free gay and lesbian weekly circulated throughout New York City. Circulation is 45,000. Focus is on politics, health, crime, the legal system, and a range of arts and entertainment (film reviews, theatre, opera, dance, books and galleries). Always looking for freelancers, particularly those who write stories to attract a young demographic. Looking for people who can alert the paper to performance-art events, particularly music geared toward younger readers. Always looking for news writers (politics, elections, crime, campus stories). Typical story length is 800 words. Pay is $50 but is negotiable based on work required and is more for a feature. Contact: Paul Schindler, Editor-in-Chief, Schindler@gaycitynews.com or Editor@gaycitynews.com, phone 646-452-2503. Unpaid internships available year round.
Pioneering and award-winning online publication about New York City and state policy and politics covers everything from the arts to the waterfront, with a special focus on city and state government. Circulation is 54,000 (unique visitors a month). The publication hires unpaid interns, who do reporting, writing and research among other editorial tasks. Accepts freelance news feature articles of 1,000 to 2,000 words: See writers’ guidelines at www.gothamgazette.com/writers.shtml. Contact: Gail Robinson, Editor,firstname.lastname@example.org; address 299 Broadway, Suite 700, New York, NY 10007.
The Hunts Point Express
This nonprofit news outlet, online at www.huntspointexpress.com and published as a newspaper monthly, is staffed by students in Bernard L. Stein’s Neighborhood News class at Hunter College but welcomes stories from CUNY J-School students as well. The Express covers Hunts Point and Longwood in the Southeast Bronx (Bronx Community Board 2), where unemployment, poverty, health problems and crime are serious issues, but where community activists have raised environmental awareness, fought to create parks and improve schools, and founded exciting arts and theater programs. Print circulation is 3,000; website gets 9,000 hits a month. Typical story length 650-1,000 words. No pay, but lots of advice and editing. Pitches for freelance stories are welcome, and Bernard Stein is happy to give assignments as well. Contact him at email@example.com , at 718-549-2398 or during his office hours in the newsroom.
Manhattan Media (Our Town, West Side Spirit, Chelsea Clinton News, Westsider, City Hall, New York Press)
Publishes five weekly newspapers, a new political publication called City Hall, New York Family and an upscale magazine named Avenue. Our Town covers the Upper East Side; West Side Spirit covers the Upper West Side; Chelsea Clinton News covers Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen; New York Press covers the five boroughs as well as national issues on a localized level.
Combined circulation is approximately 100,000 for the papers. Use freelancers for a range of stories, including news coverage of local issues and for special-section pieces (health, real estate, pets, seniors, continuing education, etc.). Looking for well-rounded writers who can tackle specific assignments. Looking for business, real estate, good profiles, occasional essays. Typical story length is 750 words. Payment is 10 cents per word. Contact for Our Town, West Side Spirit, Chelsea Clinton News and Westsider: Allen Houston, Executive Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 212-284-9711. Contact for City Hall: Adam Lisberg, email@example.com. Contact for New York Press: Jerry Portwood, firstname.lastname@example.org. Address 79 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Unpaid internships available year round.
Weekly paper for Washington Heights, Inwood and East Harlem. Freelancers needed for writing and photography. Looking for spot news, investigative pieces, multi-part series, local issues and entertainment. Circulation is 15,000. Typical story length is 100-1,200 words. Typical pay is $25-$100 per story. Contact: Debralee Santos, Editor, email@example.com, phone 212-569-5800; address 5030 Broadway, Suite 801, New York, NY 10034. Spanish/English. Internships available.
Metro New York
Metro is a free weekday daily newspaper designed to deliver the news of the day to young, modern, active, professionals in roughly a 20-minute read. The average age of a Metro reader is 36. Our paper has no editorial page and no political persuasion. We deliver straight facts to our readers. We have more than 18.5 million readers across the world. We have editions in New York, Boston and Philadelphia as well as 71 editions in 21 countries around the world. Freelance: Use features, news, photo, sports. Story length: 300-400 words. Payment: negotiable. Internships: Interns work in our newsroom directly with Metro staff. The position is unpaid, but it does provide an opportunity to get daily reporting experience. The qualified intern is one who writes well, has creative story ideas and is driven to cover New York City. This is not a get coffee and make copies internship. Contact for freelance and internships: Ron Varrial, U.S. News Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org. Address 44 Wall St., 8th Floor, New York, NY 10005.
The New York Observer
Weekly paper covers topics including New York City politics, media, real estate and the arts. Website is refreshed daily. Circulation is 50,000. Looking for story ideas about the outer boroughs, including pieces on business, restaurants, arts, entertainment, and the literary and intellectual worlds. Freelance contributions usually for these columns: New York World (pieces about New York life that run 800-1,000 or 2,000 words) and New Yorker’s Diary (which could be international, first-person, etc.). E-mail pitches to Hillary Frey, Culture Editor, email@example.com. Unpaid internships available year round; the intern’s primary duty is fact-checking articles. Several current interns have covered events for the newspaper and have written online content. Also, interns often assist reporters with researching articles and may receive an additional reporting credit on some stories. Contact for internships: Jesse Wegman, Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 212-407-9313; address 915 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10010.
News Americas Now
Have an opinion or the urge to tell the story where you are? Then “Back Pack It” to News Americas. Send us your print, video news or still photos and news stories or blogs on the Americas to Contributors@Newsamericasnow.com and start raking in the clips. News, travel, sports, business entertainment, hot gossip and controversial opinions/blogs on anywhere in the Americas welcomed. Interns – contact us and get started today earning while gaining useful clips that will reach millions of eyeballs! News Americas is your medium – for news of the Americas today! Let’s Get To Back Packing It Journalists/Eye-Reporters/Bloggers!
The Norwood News is a biweekly community newspaper serving all the neighborhoods of Community Board 7 in the northwest Bronx. It was founded in 1988 by Mosholu Preservation Corporation, a not-for-profit community development organization. MPC also publishes the Mount Hope Monitor, a new community paper in Community Board 5, and has spearheaded the formation of the West Bronx News Network, a media collaboration of three west Bronx nonprofits. The paper has won a number of awards for investigative and feature reporting from the Independent Press Association-NY and the New York Press Association. Accepts freelance articles on issues pertaining to coverage area. Those interested in freelancing should e-mail pitches and two clips or writing samples. Internship: Interns work from 12 to 20 hours per week and produce news and feature stories. Unpaid, but interns receive $25 per article. Contact: Jordan Moss, Editor, email@example.com, phone 718-324-4998, fax 718-324-2917.
Our Time Press
Weekly publication covering community/world issues of African-American community. Looking for features, profiles, hard news and community events. Circulation is 20,000 (copies printed and distributed in Central Brooklyn). Typical story length is 700 words. Pay is $50 per story. Contact: David Greaves, Publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 718-599-6828; address 679 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216.
Weekly paper covers all of Queens County. Circulation is 160,000. Through a wide variety of sections, from arts & culture supplement called qboro to monthly PrimeTimes guide, seeks to serve all ages of this diverse and growing borough. Freelance: Looking for coverage in all areas, particularly trend stories, arts and entertainment, community news, features and investigative reporting. We are also looking for freelancers to cover night meetings and day assignments. Consider feature sports stories occasionally. Articles may range from 500 words to 1,200 for in-depth pieces. Payment begins at $25 for the shortest stories and can be negotiated depending on quality, length, etc. Ideas may be pitched, or potential freelancers may send clips and a resume to get on the paper’s list for assignments. Unpaid internships available. Paid internships require two full weekdays in the office for three months. Freelance and internship contact for Chronicle: Liz Rhoades, Managing Editor, email@example.com, phone 718-205-8000 x121. To pitch arts & entertainment stories (must have clear Queens connection), contact qboro editor Paula Neudorf at Paulan@qchron.com, 718-205-8000 x120.
Chain of 18 publications serving the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, including The Queens Courier, The Courier Sun, El Correo de Queens, Queensborough Magazine, Key to Queens, Healthwise, North Shore Towers Courier, LeHavre Courier, LIC magazine, and Home Reporter, Sunset News and Brooklyn Spectator newspapers. Freelance rate is $25 per story assignment. Special project assignments can pay up to $150. Unpaid interns accepted at all levels of experience – all year long. They get experience and bylines by writing features, hard/spot news, business profiles, etc. Interns may be asked to attend press conferences, community board meetings and/or other gatherings such as Police Precinct council meetings. May be asked to take some photos to accompany stories, so minimal knowledge of point and shoot digital cameras is a plus. A car is a big plus. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or Lou Parajos, Editor-in-Chief, email@example.com, phone 718-224-5863 x222; or Toni Cimino, Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 718-224-5863, x204; address 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361.
Weekly paper with 179,000 circulation. Freelancers write Queens-based occasional news, general interest and leisure. Emphasis is on storytelling and reporters’ voices. Typical story length is 400-600 words. Pay is $25. Contact: Brad Groznik, Managing Editor, email@example.com, 718-357-7400 x121; address 174-15 Horace Harding Expy., Fresh Meadows, NY 11365. Unpaid internships available.
The Riverdale Press
Weekly newspaper has won more than 400 awards for journalistic excellence, including a Pulitzer Prize. Covers the Northwest Bronx neighborhoods of Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Van Cortlandt Village, Kingsbridge Heights and Marble Hill. Circulation is 10,000. Freelancers contribute features only: stories about people or events in coverage area. Typical story length is 550-750 words. Payment is $30. Always query before undertaking or submitting. Contact: Kate Pastor, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 718-543-6065 x307; address 6155 Broadway, Bronx, NY 10471. Paid internships available, summer only.
Publishes seven weekly newspapers that cover different neighborhoods in Queens. Paid circulation is 75,000. Freelancers cover Special Sections, Arts and Entertainment Guide, and some general news and features. Features and profiles are assigned by editors, but some pitches from freelancers are accepted. Typical story length is 600-800 words. Payment is $25 per piece, $15 per photograph. Contact: Roz Liston, Editor, email@example.com, phone 718-260-4536; address 41-02 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. Unpaid internships available year round.
Weekly newspaper covers neighborhoods of Downtown Manhattan from roughly 34th Street to just south of Canal Street. Community focus. Use freelancers for local news stories, profiles, features, photos of events or stand-alone feature photos. Typical story length is 500 to 1,000 words. Pay is $50 per article for freelancers; for larger pieces may be more. Contact: Lincoln Anderson, Associate Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 646-452-2464; address 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, New York, NY 10013. Unpaid internships available year round.
Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts
Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts is a broadsheet community newspaper covering the Williamsburg and Greenpoint sections of Brooklyn. All aspects of the community are covered from crime to art galleries and music. The editor, Genia Gould, is open to receiving brief story pitches. See the website for a rough guide to style and suitability. Final articles should be between 500 and 700 words long and be print-ready. Strong concise writing would help too. No pay but a byline will be given in web postings or printed stories. Interested parties should write to email@example.com with brief story pitches.
Daily online publication covers issues of particular concern to women and provides women’s perspectives on public policy. Does not cover fashion, diets or other lifestyle topics more typically found in women’s consumer magazines. Monthly cumulative readership is 4 million. Relies heavily on freelancers for news features and policy stories, commentaries, and personal essays. General interest topics include women’s policy issues, feminism, politics, health, education, sports, science, media, legal affairs, etc. Typical story length is 800-1,000 words. Pay rate begins at $300; commentaries and essays have lower rates. E-mail pitches to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Paid internships available year round; for information go to womensenews.org/become-womens-enews-intern.