Useful tips for newbie Freelance Journalists
It has always been difficult to build a career in freelance journalism. It is also not easy to advise something in this area. In addition to the difficult questions to answer and the obvious issues (such as what degree, experience, and internships you need to have), there are many more topical things that no one talks about in the departments of freelance journalism.
We picked up several useful tips for an aspiring freelance journalist for career success. If you are to practice, internship, or plan to find freelance journalist jobs in the media, or wonder why you haven't done it yet, these tips will help you avoid the mistakes most newcomers make.
- If you think about how to start as a freelance independent journalist, determine what kind of freelance journalism you want to do. There are reportage, analytical journalism, emotional essays, journalism of figures, interviews, investigations, reviews and more. Of course, every expert should be able to work in most genres, but beginner ought to work more with pleasure in some particular kind. To be a freelance journalist, it is helpful to understand as early as possible what you love and this works well for you - and focus on this type of job.
- Create a portfolio. It plays an important role for a newcomer to find a job. You can create it by doing projects. Take small projects first. And then you can add them to your portfolio. This will tell customers about your experience.
- Formulate the idea of the material for yourself. There is no material without the idea. You need to answer the question of why this event is so important to your audience that you write about it. Among young journalists looking for freelance journalist jobs, there is a widespread misconception that news information is purely a retelling of events. However, this is a news format for the agency, and in the rest of the professional media, you have to give the reader something to understand about the importance of the event and its consequences.
- If you want to know how to be a freelance journalist you need to understand the importance of correctness of the material. Check work several times. An independent journalist should spend 5-10 minutes to carefully check the logic and styling of the material and read the mistakes than to seem to the editor an illiterate negligent person. Spelling mistakes, descriptions, “holes” in the sequence of events - all this subconsciously raises doubts about your professionalism. This can be even if you have dug an exclusive topic and managed to make a valuable comment. Particularly important is the first material you hand over to the editor. It forms an idea of you as a freelance journalist, which is then difficult to change.
- Consider publishing your material in foreign editions. Which article will be interesting abroad? Foreign publishers only buy material on topics that they cannot write on their own because they do not have access to specific people or places. You can try to interview the winners of international competitions, athletes, scientists. But the most interesting will be the stories of ordinary people - witnesses of historical events in the past or participants of interesting events today.
- Kindly remind - then act. Everyone who works as a freelance journalist today is faced with a notorious scenario: you come up with an idea, approve the material, write the text, publish it, then wait for 30 days - and nothing happens. If you don't see a fee in your account - don't be afraid to remind the editor politely. Or you can call the accounting department to see if the funds have been sent to your account. You must immediately explain to the editor or director that fees are your main income. If the calls and reminders do not help, it is best to secure yourself in advance with a properly drafted copyright agreement.
- Don't be a hermit. Working at home as an independent journalist (without an employer who can support you) can be a very lonely process. There is no editor or colleague around to help with the advice in freelance journalist jobs, and no social contact (coffee breaks or a Christmas party). Find new friends in online communities so you don't get hung up on freelance journalism. Attend training, workshops, press conferences, make new acquaintances.
- Chat in the forums. This is the best way to avoid unscrupulous customers. This is where the blacklist of employers gradually pops up. Therefore, if you see various freelance journalist jobs posting on the platform, it's best to first find out if anyone has heard of the firm or client. Although it is possible, you will be the first to work with this.
- If you doubt that the materials are good then ask a smart and objective person to read your work. This can be a friend. Let him indicate what he did not understand and what he would like to know more about, what to argue with, what thoughts the material suggested.
- Don't take your material as a result, and edit as a personal failure. Understand the format and style of your edition. The purpose of the freelance journalist is to sell the work to the best edition with the largest audience for the biggest money. Listen to editors early in your career, understand the text quality criteria, and this will pay off a hundred times in the future.
There is no dispute that freelance journalist jobs are difficult and persistent. A person who already knows how to freelance as a journalist can say with certainty that there are no qualifications or fixed rules for this type of activity. Often, newcomers may encounter many problems related to the profitability of an independent journalist or the ability to organize themselves and the time and quality of their work.