Political Columnists and Writers
Newspapers of all kinds run political columns and articles, as do certain magazines and even public radio stations, where a recording is played over the airways of the author reading the column or article. Newswriters are employed by radio and television stations throughout the country, although more opportunities are available in larger media markets. Many also write for online publications and also feature blogs on their own Web sites. Some political columnists and writers are self-employed, preferring to market their work to syndicates instead of working for a single newspaper or magazine.
Political columnists and writers break into the field by working in entry-level journalism jobs such as fact checker, research assistant, or editorial assistant. With experience, they can eventually find positions as political writers or reporters. Political writers and reporters who demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of politics and government, and who demonstrate a knack for lively, opinionated writing, may be offered the position of political columnist.
Another way to become a political columnist or writer is to start out by freelancing, sending columns or articles out to a multitude of newspapers and magazines in the hopes that someone will pick them up. Also, columnists and writers can market their work to syndicates. A list of these, and magazines that may also be interested in political writing, is provided in the Writer's Market.
Political columnists and writers can advance in national exposure by having their work syndicated. They may also try to get a collection of their columns or articles published in book form. Moving from a small newspaper or magazine to a large national publication is another way to advance for columnists and writers. Newswriters who are employed by radio and television stations can advance by moving to the same positions at stations in larger—and more prestigious—markets. Others may choose to become print or broadcast reporters.
Political columnists and writers may also choose to work in other editorial positions, such as managing editor, editor, page editor, or foreign correspondent.
Tips for Entry
Read the columns of notable political writers by reading The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Slate Magazine, and CNN.com.
Get a copy of Writer's Market (http://www.writersmarket.com) as a source for submitting your work.
Visit Niche.com, https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-communications/, to see a list of the top colleges for journalism and communications.
Get a mentor. The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) offers a mentoring program for freelance writers. Visit https://asja.org for more information.
Get an internship. The Fund for American Studies (http://www.dcinternships.org) is a great source for getting a political journalism internship in Washington, D.C., or around the world.