A newspaper columnist for a local paper has the ability to report on topics of interest that are specific to his or her local community, even if they are international issues. Since most world events have an impact in some form or another even in small communities there is usually a great deal to share information on. A newspaper columnist for a local paper usually focuses the column on one particular topic of theme. These could be women’s issues, farming issues, personal interest stories, community services, gardening or just about any other topic the newspaper agrees to run a column on.
In smaller communities the newspaper may only be published once or twice a week so the columnist may have a part-time job or may also work as a reporter for the paper. In larger centers where the newspaper is produced daily the columnist will need to constantly be researching new material, finding stories or interest, or talking to people to find their perspective or areas of interest. In larger centers much of the columnists time is spent researching and making contacts with others in the community, nationally or even internationally to generate ideas for their column.
With the use of computers and the internet newspaper columnists usually work from the comfort of their own home, submitting articles via email by set deadlines. With computer programs the article is simply inserted into the newspaper without the traditional typesetting issues that used to make printing the paper a challenge. Newspaper columnists must be fluent in the use of language as well as familiar with work processing programs, email, and online research.
Common work activities include:
- Talking to community members to discover topics of interest, controversy or informative topics.
- Writing articles as per the contract. This may be daily submissions, one or two submissions a week or some other timeline.
- Researching information to verify that information provided in the column is accurate and correct.
- Revising and editing as required by the editor of the newspaper.
- Attending meeting of the newspaper staff as required.
- Attending local events and acting as a representative of the paper as required.