After working for two literary publications (ad manager, magazine distributor, and graphics designer) I was a stringer for several newspapers for sixteen years following graduation. I started out being paid per column inch of copy. Then later I was paid per story some pretty big bucks for investigative pieces that took a week to research, and do my interviews - then write. It was a great experience that I would recommend to any one wanting to build up their writing resume. It's one way to get the byline, then at the same time get some experience.
A stringer is a person who writes for a newspaper on a freelance basis. It's sort of an old fashioned term.
The real trouble started when I moved from non-fiction to fiction. Completely different ball game. Ended up taking some college courses to learn the architecture of a story.