Guide to Syndicates

Syndicates — links as of spring 2016

Want to be a syndicated columnist? The submissions pages of the majors give their rules.

The above are syndicates as commonly defined, not independent news services, such as The Associated Press and Reuters. News services generally do not accept freelance columns, except possibly through member or subscribing newspapers.

Other news services belong to newspaper conglomerates. The chains’ news services distribute columns written by employees. While media group news services generally have not accepted freelancers, that may be changing. But if your freelance column already is published by a newspaper owned by a chain, start by asking your own editor there for information.

The chain news services include Tribune News Service (name has changed) and The New York Times News Service and Syndicate. Yes, there used to be more major syndicates and news services. Not anymore. Scripps Howard closed in late 2013. Gannett Co. Inc. no longer distributes content through the former Gannett News Service.

A recommended general resource is The Art of Column Writing by NSNC past-President Suzette Martinez Standring. Here is its publisher’s page. Order from your favorite bookseller. More recently Standring has published The Art of Opinion Writing, about op-ed and editorial commentary. The author’s website is ReadSuzette. Further sources can be found on this site’s Resources of Interests to Columnists, Bloggers.

The industry journal Editor & Publisher no longer publishes a Directory of Syndicated Services or its E&P Yearbook. They have been replaced by the Editor and Publisher Data Book, which includes “syndicates and news services.” For 2016 it has online and print versions. Its price in either format is in the hundreds of dollars. This reference should be available at university libraries, journalism and business schools, and larger public libraries.

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