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A to Z Writing: Honest Work with House Organs

A house organ can serve as a highly productive and profitable project for a freelance or full-time writer, particularly at the start of his or her professional career.

That’s where I started building my portfolio, fresh out of journalism school, and I’m certainly not alone in that. My first post-masters job had me reporting, editing, designing, and publishing multiple house organs for a Fortune 100 company.

What is a house organ?

Many companies and even charitable organizations produce a variety of publications for internal audiences. These efforts, commonly called house organs, may be circulated to employees, management, shareholders, or other target audiences.

For example, an employee newspaper might contain company news, explanations of benefits, and announcements of upcoming activities. A shareholder or contributor periodical would likely highlight major projects and corporate accomplishments.

As a full-time corporate employee and then a freelancer, I have done house organs for many different outfits, from major multinational corporations to athletic organizations, and from local churches to human-interest groups.

The pay, of course, has ranged from mere peanuts to respectable fees. Occasionally, I’ve produced a house organ for free, but only for causes about which I was passionate and during seasons when time allowed.

How have house organs changed lately?

Increasingly, organizations are going paperless, as much as possible. Many house organs have been replaced by online newsletters, blogs, and web pages.

Their content still focuses on issues pertaining to their intended audiences.

Wise writers have adapted to the new technologies, producing content for these publications. Although freelancers may provide materials pro bono, particularly for causes they support or to pump up their portfolios, many continue to draw real income from these endeavors as well.

Today’s house organs may be found in cyberspace, but they may still be considered in-house publications with specific readerships.

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2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge logo
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1 comment:

  1. On line makes so much sense for this. Less paper, and you can always go find past entries that might be useful. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.


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