Oct. 17 was an anniversary of sorts.
My first freelance article appeared in the Iowa City Press Citizen Oct. 17, 2014. In the first year I wrote 76 articles for the newspaper, which when added to my previous work for the Solon Economist and North Liberty Leader brought the total to 100 before moving on to other writing. At least I think that’s how it went.
Freelancing for a newspaper paid a flat fee per article published. The income was dependable, if low at $50 each.
The best part of newspaper work was meeting so many people in the community. It opened a window to the work and attitudes of young people and entrepreneurs. I also got chased away from a splash pad by someone because I “looked suspicious.”
Some of my favorites include Trevor Owen, who gave up culinary school to cook as he knew how and opened a restaurant in Wellman; interviewing local icon Willard Boyd; interviewing Scott Koepke about his visit to the White House garden; the bridal shop at Iowa River Landing; interviewing Ellen Buchanan; and learning about Iowa’s child mental health problems from Tammy Nyden. It’s hard to pick a favorite because every one of them was engaging at some level.
I’ve taken to writing letters and opinion pieces in newspapers and for the most part get published. There is no pay for that. I don’t have much interest in writing for money, although I created a Patreon account, just in case I lose the ability to pay for this website.
I kept paper copies of most of the printed articles. The differing sizes of the clippings makes them difficult to store. I suppose I’ll transcribe some of them into digital format and include the most significant ones in an appendix to my autobiography.
At least I had the opportunity to write for newspapers. I wouldn’t call sitting through school board and city council meetings fun, exactly. But it is a common experience I’m glad to share with others that had it.