Newspapers are kind of dreary, depressed places. I would go the penniless Web route to get practice. You can enter the mainstream so much quicker there.
New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell • Suggesting, during a lecture at Yale, that writers should work for free online to get practice, rather than at newspapers. Gladwell, who once worked at the Washington Post, said that while he had good experiences there, he ultimately felt that newspapers’ lack of profitability makes them less desirable in this regard. How many writers or journalists out there would be willing to take this advice — or are at this very moment? (ht Poynter)