So you have taken the first step, you have taken photos you think are good enough for a paper to use. But you are told it isn’t good enough. It can be very discouraging but you need to make sure that you keep at it.
Often times getting feedback from editors or those who are in charge of the paper can help you to better understand what was wrong with the images you submitted. This can be a difficult time as no one really enjoys getting critiques but it will be invaluable to get critique from those who are in the industry to better improve your work.
If they had another photographer who was able to get a better photo of the same event learn from that. Move more, be more involved and get angles that are unique to capture the feel of an event.
If they say that you didn’t capture the story feeling, retry. You don’t need to resubmit but practicing even when there is not a paycheck will make you better.