How do you become a stringer or freelancer? I recommend making initial contact by mail. A simple introductory letter identifying yourself as a photographer interested in working as a stringer or freelancer, plus some samples of your work, should be enough. Don't overdo it on the number of samples you send. Two or three shots that demonstrate your ability are enough.
Then, follow up. In your letter, say you're going to call in a day or two to discuss how you might be able to help the paper. All you're aiming for at this point is a chance to meet the editor, show him or her your portfolio, and sell the idea of your contributing. The smaller the newspaper, the better your chances (although the smaller the pay, too).
Be thorough in your examination of the potential marketplace. Many areas have more than one newspaper and thus more than one opportunity for freelancing.
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