If you don't see the editors' advice, hover over photos

Mike Brassfield

"As a freelancer, you need specific ideas and some proof, some clips, to show you’re not a loony toon. If you call and say, “Hey, I’m available to write stories.” An editor will say, 'That’s nice,' and not think of you again. Write about timely, local, unique stuff. Don’t send a meandering, epic-length meditation on your childhood in Clearwater."

Sherri Day

"It’s rewarding when freelancers really get stories and realize they’re more than regional. They see a trend, and their stories are broad and well sourced. That takes something off my plate because I have a staff to manage. I’ve had other editors say to me, 'Wow, did a freelancer write that? I didn’t know that story would have so much depth.'"

Kim Franke-Folstad

"A lot of times, people will email me a pitch and five minutes later they’ll call me. The ideal person will send me an idea and maybe a day later they’ll call me. Be respectful. Keep it short. If I say 'No,' no means no, but you can be respectful and say, 'Can I call you again with another idea?'"

Dennis Moore

"Read the publication, find out the stories they do and save us all a lot of time. I’ve had discussions with people about the validity of a story, why it should be in USA Today, and why they should write it. I guess I admire their confidence in themselves and in the subject, but not enough for them to cover the story."

For more editor advice, read this website's companion feature story.