An Elizabeth City woman is trying her hand at freelance. Melissa Lilley, 22, is a senior mass communication major and is freelancing for the Fayetteville Observer. Lilley published two articles, “Symphony embraces local talents” and “New Orleans flavor takes to Pinehurst stage,” in “Weekender,” the weekly entertainment guide of the Fayetteville Observer. She is preparing a piece for the newspaper about opportunities to launch a career in or learn more about performing arts. Lilley’s most recent article in the Fayetteville Observer was a cover story for the Life section. Her article “Rap, rock, punk” told the story of how local musicians got their start through playing at various open mic nights and venues in the area. “Melissa has the heartbeat of a Walt Whitman, the legendary poet who spent time as a journalist,” said Michael Ray Smith, chair of the Department of Mass Communication. “She writes for newspapers but she has a lyrical voice and she’s destined to be a wordsmith of note.” In recent months, Lilley has sold articles to the Biblical Recorder, The Daily Advance and The Sanford Herald is scheduled to publish a piece about a local therapeutic horseback riding program. Lilley is one of many journalism students trying her hand at freelance. The goal of the program is for students to earn a byline and a paycheck. Lilley leads the award-winning Campbell Times student newspaper. She recently helped launch the online edition,www.campbell.edu/times. Lilley is also president of Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honor society, and she participates in the Baptist Student Union.