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Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1

Making a byline for yourself in feature writing

Dream of appearing in your favourite publication? Learn how to craft a well-rounded story and catch the eye of discerning editors. More detail

Upcoming course dates

StartsMonday 13 July 2015

Location Sydney
Ground Floor
55 Lavender Street
Milsons Point NSW 2061

WhenMonday EVENING classes
(once a week for five weeks)
6.30–8.30pm

Price$395

Presenter Alexandra Spring

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StartsSaturday 17 October 2015

Location Sydney
Ground Floor
55 Lavender Street
Milsons Point NSW 2061

WhenWeekend classes
(2 consecutive days)
10am–4pm

Price$395

Presenter Sue White

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StartsSaturday 1 August 2015

Location Melbourne
The Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067

WhenWeekend classes
(2 consecutive days)
10am–4pm

Price$395

Presenter Cindy MacDonald

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StartsSaturday 24 October 2015

Location Perth
Wembley Hotel
344 Cambridge Street
Wembley WA 6014

WhenSaturday and Sunday classes
(2 consecutive days)
10am–4pm

Price$395

Presenter Alecia Hancock

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Course description


How to become a freelance writer

  • Would you like to see your own byline in your favourite magazine?
  • Keen to turn your ideas into articles that you get paid for?
  • Want to know how to approach editors to publish 
your stories?
  • Do you like the idea of working and writing from home?
  • Have we just described your dream job? Read on!

The genuine article

OK, so you love magazines. Whether it’s a lazy weekend with the lifestyle supplements or a midweek appointment with a thick glossy tome, they all offer a mix of views, stories and information from a variety of writers. And more than once you’ve probably found yourself thinking, “I could do that…”

And you’re right – you CAN do that. There are literally hundreds of titles out there – all vying for shelf space and covering everything from Gaga to lager; fishing to fashion; paparazzi to pepperoni. And each one of them is chock-a-block with articles written by people just like you.

If you’ve got a stack of story ideas, but don’t know how to get them from jotter pad to editor’s desk, then you’ve just hit the jackpot. Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 is one of the Australian Writers’ Centre’s most popular courses. Our students often end up getting their byline into some pretty major publications, sometimes even before they complete the course!

Your guide to getting published

If you’re serious about becoming an intrepid freelance writer, Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 will give you the tools and skills to craft magazine and newspaper articles that editors want to publish. We’ve distilled years of knowledge into a relevant and highly practical course – with scripts, templates and insider information from journalists/editors who are currently working in the industry. After completing this course, you’ll not only write with more confidence, you’ll get published faster!

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Ideas – where to get them and which ones work.
  • The industry – understanding the magazine/news market.
  • Styles – all the different types of feature articles.
  • Researching, structuring and actually writing your feature.
  • Interviewing skills – whether it’s a CEO or circus clown, rock star or rocket scientist, learn the questions you need to ask.
  • People power – who to approach to get the best subjects for your stories.
  • Editor expectations of freelance writers
  • Selling your story – a step-by-step guide to successfully pitching your article or idea to a magazine
  • And MUCH more!

Feature writers come in all shapes, sizes, makes and models. This course is perfect for first-time writers and anyone wishing to brush up on their skills. You might be looking to make some extra cash on the side, or even embark on a brand new full-time career. Or maybe you have absolutely no idea – all you know is you’d love to be paid to write these kinds of stories. Whatever your motivation, we’ll help you reach your goal.

Just remember – all those writers in all those magazines are just like you. With the right set of tools, you’ll be well on your way to seeing your name in print and making those “dream job” dreams come true!

Students have been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, Cosmopolitan, Sunday Life!, BRW, The Sun-Herald, The Sunday Telegraph, CLEO, Madison, Australian Associated Press, Practical Parenting, Management Today, Australian Financial Review, City Weekly, Herald Sun, Home Beautiful and countless other magazines and newspapers.

Course content and outcomes are consistent, regardless of which presenter or format you choose.

We are sticklers for consistency and quality in our courses, so you’ll achieve the same outcomes regardless of which presenter you have. Naturally, each presenter brings their own insight to the course, but you can be assured that the content is consistent across the board.

You’ll also achieve the same outcomes regardless of whether you enrol in our online or classroom course!

Many students have been published as a result of this course – and some are now full-time writers. If you discover that you want to make this your career (even just part-time), we’re here to support you every step of the way. You can build on your skills with Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 2.

Prefer learning at home? Learn online!

If you have an internet connection, you’ve come to the right place! With our online courses, you get the same juicy content as the classroom course PLUS backstage passes to Q&As, assignments and feedback direct from your outstanding online tutor! You could be anywhere on the planet, or you could be just round the corner. Either way, you’ll be joining thousands of online graduates from here and overseas who’ve already had an awesome time learning online. Check out our demo today.

Online or classroom course – which one is better?

Ha! It’s a trick question… they both have the same high quality – it just depends on how you learn and sometimes where you live. In fact, we’re fanatical about consistency across all our courses, so rest assured that when a class begins in Perth (or Sydney, or Melbourne), it’s going to cover the same ground as its online cousin. Now, we’re not talking robots here. Each one of our talented presenters does of course bring their own unique flavour, but the core lesson material remains the same!

What internet connection is required?

To participate in any of our online courses, you will need high-speed internet. For us, high-speed internet means ADSL or Broadband/Cable, with a speed of 128kBps or higher.

Dial-up connections or using the internet on your phone are not recommended — you may find that the audio in the online course will pause, skip or completely stop.

Previous students have let us know that they have had no problems accessing our courses using Satellite internet or wireless broadband, but it depends on each connection.

If you’re not sure what kind of internet connection you have, there are two things you can check:

  • Speed – If you can play a YouTube video from start to finish without issues, your internet should be fast enough.
  • Download limit – We recommend contacting either the person who takes care of your internet, or your internet provider directly to see what your download limit is. Each week there will be 40-50MB worth of materials to download, so you need to make sure your internet connection will allow for that (times five for each week!) without speed limitations or excess charges.

If your connection is not fast enough but you’d still like attend the course, we recommend checking with your local library to see if you are able to download the files there.

If you can do that, you’d just need to pop them onto a USB drive and then take them home with you to listen to later.

Exclusive access to our AWC Graduates’ Club

Want to know where all the cool kids hang out? The Graduates’ Club of course! Now, calm down – there’s no cigars, leather armchairs or loud ticking grandfather clocks here. But it IS exclusive invitation only (on completion of a course) and it’s free!  Meet other writers online and share successes, seek help or just get something off your chest. Many students believe this ‘legacy learning’ is one of the most valuable things about our AWC community, and who are we to argue?

So if you want to receive feedback, support and a heads-up on opportunities … join the Club!

Your presenters

  • Alecia Hancock

    Alecia Hancock, Perth

    Alecia Hancock has been working in the media for 12 years, with most of her time spent at... View Profile

  • Allison Tait

    Allison Tait, Online

    Allison Tait is a freelance writer with more than 20 years’ experience in magazines, newspapers and online publishing.... View Profile

  • Sue White

    Sue White, Melbourne, Online, Sydney

    Sue White is a freelance features and travel writer whose stories have featured in The Sydney Morning Herald,... View Profile

  • Valerie Khoo

    Valerie Khoo, Online, Sydney

    Valerie Khoo is an award-winning feature writer who has been writing for Fairfax for the past 15 years.... View Profile

  • Alexandra Spring

    Alexandra Spring, Sydney

    Alexandra Spring is a journalist and editor. The former features director of Vogue Australia, her stories have appeared... View Profile

  • Cindy MacDonald

    Cindy MacDonald, Melbourne

    Cindy MacDonald is deputy editor of The Saturday Paper, where she commissions and writes a range of features on news, books, lifestyle, social... View Profile

Video: What presenters say

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Graduate testimonials

  • I signed up to do the course Magazine and Newspaper Writing with the Australian Writers' Centre in late 2009. I was a bit sceptical about doing my first ever online course, but shouldn't have worried. The whole process was easy and it was great having virtual classmates to discuss the lessons and to cheerlead each other on to success, even if it was a bit bizarre not being able to see them! I actually got my first paid commission from a magazine while I was still doing the five-week course. Five months later, my article was published in Cosmo Bride magazine and I was hooked (line and sinker) on the writing game. Since then, I've been published by titles including Girlfriend, Jetstar Magazine, Women's Health and Fitness, Diabetic Living and The Big Issue, as well as ABC The Drum and Mamamia online. I've also recently completed the Travel Writing online course taught by Sue White, which definitely lived up to my first wonderful learning experience with the Centre. It offered me real, practical guidance to ethical questions, writing practice and feedback. The entire experience felt like fun, not work. I've now got my sights set on the courses in Food Writing and How to Get Your Book Published. I'll definitely keep coming back for more. One of the best things about the Australian Writers' Centre is the ongoing support. Valerie, Sue and the other teachers don't just cut you loose once you've finished your course. They keep helping you through the email newsletter, blogs, Graduates' Club and more. I wholeheartedly recommend trying a course with them. The only thing you'll regret is not giving it a go sooner.

    - Rebecca Douglas

    "I thought the presentation style was relatable with good examples. There were a great amount of handy hints and I feel like I have a good understanding of what's required to get an feature published. I was a little afraid of not having a teacher to face and students to interact with, but as it turns out, we did get to interact. I enjoyed being able to get back over parts again and also accessing it when it suited me best, often breaking it up into 2 or 3 parts. The convenience of doing it from home was great."

    - Sandra Shakespeare

    "I've always wanted to be a published writer and, in October 2011, I completed the AWC course in Magazine and Newspaper Writing. Since that time I've been published regularly and commissioned by publications such as Sunday Life!, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Life, Dumbo Feather, Jetstar magazine, Modern Farmer (US), Practical Parenting, Essential Kids, and more. The course gave me not only the confidence and information I needed to pitch my ideas to editors, but provided an insider's look into magazines and newspapers that would have taken me years to acquire on my own. Without hesitation I can say that the course changed my life."

    - Lindy Alexander

    "I wanted to write and tell you some exciting news since I finished the online magazine writing course with you. The idea I put forward as my pitch in the course (a travel story on Griffith in NSW) has since been published in The Sydney Morning Herald Traveller section and I have another travel story coming out in the September issue of Coast and Country Magazine. "I've also been signed on as a regular freelance contributor with the Herald Sun Home Magazine, something that has meant I am now freelancing four days a week! It has been an amazing few months since I finished the course and I have to say, none of this would have been possible without your incredible skill and advice. So, many thanks once again for such a fabulous course, it really has changed my life!"

    - Penny Harrison

    "Completing the Magazine Writing course with the Australian Writers’ Centre gave me the confidence to take my writing further. The course content was relevant, well presented and easy to follow. The best thing about the course is how it's delivered - you can do it at your own pace and so it's very convenient. I used to download the sessions and listen to them at various times of the day. Also, Valerie was a fantastic presenter, sharing her own insight and experience. I have since had a 2 of Us, Good Weekend (Sydney Morning Herald) story published as well as several articles with different magazines."

    - Claire McTaggart