Well, as a freelancer the requirements are pretty simple. You just need to be able to write to the paper's audience. You need to be clear & concise, & you need to be able to write with little editing. You also need to be able to meet deadlines.
If you have an idea what you want to write, send a query letter to the appropriate editor, with clips of previously published work. If you don't have published clips, send a sample article or column for them to look at. Your query letter should be 1 page, explaining what you want to write, & why you're the 1 to write it. Remember the newspapers don't pay a lot, but they are a great place to get started.
As far as getting a staff position. They generally want a college degree for writing positions, although you can get an office position & move up without one, & can occasionally get a staff position if you're already well published. If I can help more pm me.
at 9:15 PM on Aug. 13, 2009