Where’s the (freelance) sports coverage?

QUESTION: I am a sports columnist and member of the CAJ, my work has been published in smaller newspapers and online for the past three years. I am quite aware that the daily newspaper business is in a state of flux but when I approach any daily newspapers with my work, hoping to reach a new level with my writing, I run into one dead end after another. I would love to actually get paid but being published is more important at this point in my career. Even without being paid, editors have told me if they use a freelance writer, the union gets angry. How do I overcome this hurdle and get published and hopefully paid one day? Thanks for any suggestions, your help is truly appreciated.
 
Andrew Rodger

Answer by Chronicle Herald sports editor Andrew Waugh.

ANSWER: It is a difficult thing to justify publishing a freelance column over something written by a guild member. However, it’s not impossible. The most important way to differentiate yourself from other offerings is to offer something genuinely different. Simply being another voice weighing in on Tiger Woods, Sidney Crosby or LeBron James just won’t cut it. Target a niche that the paper’s readers might be interested in – as a general rule, local always trumps national or international – and then cover it well. Chances are if your pitch will really add something to the conversation already occurring within the paper’s pages, you’ll stand a better chance of having something published.
 
Andrew Waugh is the assistant director of news content and acting sports editor of The Chronicle Herald in Halifax.

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