Newsletters are an ideal way for writers to practice their craft and become known as writers in the community. Editors of existing newsletters welcome well written features, and a church or organization without a newsletter, if queried, would like to have one. Church newsletter feature subjects would include interviews and profiles of an elder, choir leader, church officer, or church school teacher. Historical topics are popular and might cover the person named on a stained glass window or a short anecdote told by one of the older church members or gleaned from old session notes (how the church got the organ, the balcony used for segregation, when the Presbyterian elder got so tired of session wrangling that he went to the Methodist Church for a while).
Some feature ideas are easy to research on the Internet. The liturgical colors which change during the year, and what Maundy Thursday means, for example, or the story behind a well known hymn.
Features about different departments would be welcome in hospital auxiliary newsletters. The special surgical helmets worn by surgeons; an interview with the Lifeline coordinator who mentions the times the call button is hit by accident by hugging a relative or having a cat step on one; how many individual meals the hospital food service serves and the different diets it accommodates or statistics about the number of dozens of eggs or pounds of coffee it uses every week/month/year are very interesting stories.
These newsletter features, used as publishing credits build resume portfolio clips, stepping stones for future writing positions and introductions to new editors. With prompting, the newsletter editor can write a short recommendation mentioning how the writer met deadlines, showed initiative, and the popularity of the articles.
By Peg Russell
reprinted with permission of The Perspiring Writer