No Cons, Just Pros for Protégé Program

Member Ship

By Amanda Beam
Membership Chair
National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Amanda Beam

Amanda Beam

Fire baptizes those of us new to the writing business nowadays. Like risk-taking toddlers, we jump in feet first into the profession without checking if the opportunities float in hot lava or chocolate sauce. Part of the problem stems from a lack of one-on-one support.

To find this, folks who freelance stalk blogs, bylines and books for tips on how to succeed in this competitive field. Even bloggers and columnists who have access to seasoned journalists and other essayists may find it difficult to obtain answers to their most pressing questions. We feel silly we’re even asking them. With all the online resources, shouldn’t we know how to post to our websites, or the standard fee for a 400-word blog on the benefits of Brussels sprouts?

Of course, the answer is no. Declaring ourselves writers does not make us automatic professors of prose. Learning the in-and-outs takes time, as does establishing a noteworthy network.

Unless, of course, you’re a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

The NSNC strives to provide you both the answers you seek and the resources you deserve. In order to accomplish this goal, we’re proud to announce the start of a mentoring program for members who may need a little extra assistance navigating the literary lava flows. Next week, you’ll receive an email that will ask if you would like to be assigned a NSNC mentor. Just copy and past the questions asked to a reply, and press send.

If you’re a writer who has been around the block a while or two, please consider volunteering as one of these terrific motivators to newer writers. Giving an aspiring scribe an oar of advice may be the best way yet of assuring our professions remains navigable to future generations. For questions, please feel free to use the Contact Form to reach me.

Now if only we had a patent on crazy-online-reply retardant suits.

• • •

Ned Hickson

Ned Hickson

A quick welcome to our newest member, Ned Hickson! Ned is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist for Siuslaw News, a small Oregon newspaper where he has been awarded “Best Local Column” from both the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.

His weekly column appears in dozens of newspapers in the U.S. and Canada as a syndicated feature for News Media Corp. His blog,, is followed by more than 7,500 people who “clearly have excellent taste in columnists.” Ned lives on the Oregon coast with his wife, four children, two dogs, a cat and entirely “too many seagulls.”

Please visit Ned’s blog and give a hearty hello!

• • •

This piece first was published in the November 2015 issue of The Columnist, the monthly membership newsletter of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

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  1 comment for “No Cons, Just Pros for Protégé Program

  1. November 20, 2015 at 11:00 am

    What an excellent resource and you are a fireball of leadership on this program, Amanda!

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