Could you be a columnist in The News?

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Do you read newspaper columnists and think ‘I could do that’? Are you full of opinions and not afraid to share them with thousands of readers who may disagree with what you have to say?

Today The News launches a search for a new columnist to appear in the paper every Tuesday and on our popular website portsmouth.co.uk - and it could be YOU.

Just think, you could have a weekly platform in the biggest-selling newspaper on the south coast.

Regular columnist Jim Riordan has had to step down after six-and-a-half years because of ill health, so we’ve decided to use this opportunity to unearth some new talent in the Portsmouth area.

You don’t need to be a journalist, or a published writer. The chance to write a column is open to anybody.

Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said: ‘The only qualification you need is that you write well, enjoy observing the world around you and are up with local and national issues so that you’re able to give a view.

‘Columnists can come from all walks of life and The News already has a variety of men and women who entertain and inform by offering their opinions each week. What we’re looking for is somebody who can add to the mix.’

You could write about things that happen to you in your daily life, or subjects you read about or see on the television. The only stipulation is that your words have to be legally acceptable and suitable for a family newspaper.

Still interested? Then write a column consisting of three elements - one of 350 words and two of 120 words each - and e-mail it with your name, address and daytime contact number, plus a short biography of yourself and a photograph, to features@thenews.co.uk

Or you can send your column and additional information and a photograph to: Simon Toft, Features Editor, The News, News Centre, Hilsea, Portsmouth PO2 9SX. Closing date is midnight on Thursday June 2, 2011.