How to Write a Column

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A column is a regularly appearing article in a newspaper, magazine or other publication. A column is different from other forms of journalism in that it is a regular feature in a publication, is personality-driven by the author and has a distinct opinion or point of view. Writing a column for online or print can be fun and profitable, especially if the writer can get his work syndicated.

  • Learn the difference between a news story and a column. In a regularly appearing feature readers want to know what the writer thinks about a given topic. Let your personality shine through. Voice is of vital importance to a columnist.

  • Consider the audience, purpose, content and structure before writing.Just because this is not a traditional news story or formal piece of writing doesn't mean the rules of good writing are left behind. Remember who you are writing for and give them useful information in language they can understand.

  • Research, research, research. Take notes on names, ideas, impressions and figures as you go about your day. Everyday occurrences make for great material for a column. Use local places and names to give your column a personal feel.

  • Tell the story through the experiences of local people, whether you write the column about people, places or ideas. Use references and quotes to give support to your own views.

  • Write daily. This is basic advice for any writer, whether a columnist, reporter or book author. Write regularly, on a schedule. The more you write the better your work will become.

  • Write the way you speak, a much as possible. Columns are meant to be informal and friendly. Write short, simple sentences and paragraphs. Use simple language. Your job is to entertain as much as it is to inform.

  • Finally, assure that the column is timely. This form of writing is very dependent on environment. If an issue or person is being talked about then its good material for a column.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always proofread your material. Once you have read it over a few times have someone else with fresh eyes look at your column too.

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