Writing for a college newspaper will be a great opportunity for a BA English student, as this is a stepping stone to journalism. Many novelists have a byline in newspapers and magazines as well. If you're not studying literature, then think how your stint in (college) news writing would make your CV notice immediately. Moreover, many jobs require writing at some point. That first news feature can be a nerve-wracking moment, but no need to worry at all.
If you're thinking of a news report, then take notice of the events on the campus. A raise in the tuition fee affects students, which can polarize opinion. (There's a good start.) A college newspaper would be incomplete without a sports story or two. It's THE bread and butter (if you're not a huge fan of college football). In this regard, the sports team star would make a good subject for an interview. It goes on and on, which shows that writing for a college newspaper is not difficult if you know what you write about. The next step is how to write it.
5 Steps To Get Published
Pitch your idea to the editor. You can see the #MeToo movement making ripples in a campus setting, and you believe that you can pen a powerful op-ed. It will be silly if you compose the draft right away, as you're not connected to the newspaper. Yet. Send an email to the editor. Don't use #MeToo as the heading, though. (If you want to be a contributor, then state it. If you want to be a staff writer, then type it right away.) The journey doesn't end if you don't get a favorable response, as persistence is one of the virtues in print media. (If you've seen "The Incredibles", then you know why Edna Mode would come a long way.) Request for an interview, if not a short meeting, if it's the only way.
There must be a clear agreement between you and the editor. You'll meet the editor sooner or later. If you have written anything, then type and save it in a document and attach it to the email. Another option is printing it and presenting it during the meeting. If you don't have any writing experience, then show your enthusiasm to cover a story. It's a mistake to assume anything, so ask the editor on the writing style (whether you know it or not). Don't forget the word count. And tell him or her what you want to write about. If the editor has other topics in mind, then don't decline it. Prove that you can do it.
News writing and fiction writing are not the same. Space (or the lack of it) will be the main issue in print media, but the editorial staff (of the college newspaper) don't have to be anxious about ads (or the lack of it). This doesn't imply that you can write (and send) a feature of two thousand words or less. Keep in mind that teenagers have a short attention span. You must deal with fickle-minded students, which should give you an idea of your opening. It must grab their attention right away. The gist of the feature must be written in one paragraph (or a few sentences). The rest of the feature contains details that expound on the subject matter. You have read too many novels, which should give you a clear idea of the difference.
Be straight to the point. If you have forgotten it, then you must keep in mind of the limited space in a single page (or two). Stick to short sentences. Accuracy may not get the attention of your readers, which doesn't mean that you must fib on a few sentences. Keep on checking on the title of your feature, which must be catchy (before you submit it to the editor). And the opening must be interesting enough.
Proofread your news feature. This can take you some time, as you don't want to be told that you're sloppy on the job. There must not be any typographical errors, even grammatical errors. There must not be any sentence fragment, which can confuse readers. (They may not get your message.) A concise feature is the ultimate goal, so proofread your draft repeatedly until you're satisfied with the outcome.
How to Handle Rejection
It's OK if the editor didn't use your piece, as there's always the next time. You might be given constructive criticism, which you should keep a mental note. Writers, like most artists, keep on striving for perfection. And don't complain about a short notice. (It also happens in paper writing.) What can you get in return?
Seeing your byline would make you proud, not to mention the subsequent attention that you get from other students. It's fine to bask on it, but don't let it get to your head. (You're as good as your last published feature.) You might make a joke on writing rates but don't. Nothing wrong in asking about it, as long as it's said in a polite manner. If it's free publicity, then don't shun it. You need to start on your portfolio as early as possible.