Had a reader and then a coworker at the university where I’m getting my master’s ask me pretty much the same question over the past couple days, so I thought there might be some other readers interested in it, too.
From the reader’s email:
I am not a journalist by profession though I have worked off and on in the field for the last 20 years. Professionally I teach history and coach football. I have coached just about everything at one time or another a lot of basketball and baseball. … For the past few years I have been freelancing for local papers writing mainly preps basketball and spring sports. Add in some features and a little politics. I also do photography which I have learned to enjoy. My question to you is how do I start expanding to bigger assignments. I enjoy writing local sports, etc. but I want to write something bigger and more important. — J.W.
My coworker wants to write about film.
Now bear in mind, this advice is free, but it’s also just my advice, and as I say down there at the end, there’s no one way to go about this. That said, here’s my (extremely abbreviated) take.