How To Become A Freelance Journalist

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How To Become A Freelance Journalist

You deserve regards to the wish to become a freelance journalist. It’s indeed an up-to-date approach. Seems like you are mentally prepared for this challenging job. 

In any start-up, most of the newbie fear and fail. But by nature or due to passion, a journalist loves to face challenging stuff.

Nonetheless, you must listen to some advice. Since only passion will not be enough to succeed. Agree? So here I post some useful tips to boost your becoming. Let us go one by one! 

Stand on Principles

Journalism is the struggle to establish the truth. You may prefer freelance, that’s good. But before all, the most important thing is to stand on basic principles. As a freelance journalist, you will be serving citizens, no matter they are national or global. You have to turn significant issues into interesting topics. But you should never deliver unverified things. Be loyal to your conscience. You mustn’t misuse your journalistic freedom. Rather always leave a space for mass criticism. And don’t forget to make news perceivable, okay! Remember, you are getting into the public mind and the internet knows no bounds!

Emphasize on Networking

Your publicity is your strength. You will build up your hub and keep it expanding. Because the more you expand your network, the more chance you will create. Today things are so convenient for an ambitious freelance journalist. She or he can easily get on various online platforms. So no more delay! Create your website. WordPress nowadays is quite trendy. Blogger.com has also a reputation. At the same time, be active in popular social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, etc. Connect professionals of your field. Join freelance journalist groups. Have a close eye on what they share, offer, and suggest. Freelancing is a lonely job. But no one can thrive without communal support. Hence emphasize joining online-offline groups, hubs, and the community. These will be highly beneficial to go ahead.

Get Prepared for the Worst

I can well assume that you hope for the best. But the beginning of a freelance generally isn’t like a rose. You had better prepare for lots of rejections. Almost all the editors are surely going to show their egos. But taking them as a challenge is wise. Even in parties, some people may try to embarrass you for not having a handsome job title. Just give it a damn! You don’t need a job title like other typical professionals. Void of that you can earn a lot. Just be patient in the beginning and pride in what you do.

Specialize in a Specific Area

The editors are not going to hire you devoid of a specialization, alright! So niche down of what you are most confident of. Whether you are a reporter, sub-editor, or photographer, you should showcase certain expertise to win jobs. Suppose your dream is to be a great freelance reporter. Then specialize in a specific area like business reporting, sports reporting, entertainment reporting, etc. Research to discover the potential market for you. For example, there are several types of categories are waving at a freelance journo-writer. Now he or she may opt for corporate writing or fact-checking or a magazine. One more important thing is cultural sensitivity. A journalist should bear in mind this while writing. 

Be Choosy About the Hirer

Yap, market yourself! Since freelancing is a business. And you are going to be your boss. But I have seen many successful journalists who prioritize being choosy about clients or hirers. You know why? The logic is simple but significant. Because they think, only a good boss (read: editor) helps you build a good career. True that freelance journalists themselves choose who they work for, or where and when to work. Nevertheless, after getting hired, the hirer’s personality matters a lot. However, building a fantastic relationship depends mostly on you. One of the experts suggests having a good relationship with at least 3 editors than shotgun fifty! And it is up to you to charge an apt amount realizing your true worth. In any freelance writing job, buyers or clients do pay per thousand words.  

Hone and Pitch Every Day

Keep developing your storytelling ability. Every issue you cover is a story of society. You must be unique and stand out from others. And wherever you go, buy some magazines or books that enrich you. Watch movies that relate to journalism. Don’t hesitate to engage in promotional works. Try to write a thousand words per day. Keep sending your works to numerous sites. Never get tired. Forget the money. Think merely of serving the people giving your best practices. The money will embrace you. And never ignore deadlines. Rather strive to submit work before the deadline and utilize the saved time on other productive activities. It might be reading, writing, or networking. 

Move-in a Planned Way

You should have a proper plan. No, I’m not talking about event-based planning. If you want to develop a prestigious position in this profession, you better move in a planned way. Make a to-do list. Try to fix how many days of a year or how many hours of a week you want to utilize. Annual or monthly personal development plan plays a vital role. And don’t let anything leave your memory. Immediately note down what comes to mind.

Useful Tools, and Reading Materials

Plantronics is good for having interviews. I have read about some established freelance journalists using notebooks like Moleskin, slimline Filofax. And always remember that endless reading is the prerequisite for producing write-ups. Here I suggest some great books that I read about in other articles:

      The Freelancer’s Bible, Sara Horowitz

      On Writing, Stephen King

      Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott

      Writing for the web

      It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson 

      Writing to Deadline, Murray 

      The Elements of Style, Strunk & white 

      The Economist Style Guide 

To succeed in the freelance journalism business, market yourself extra-ordinarily. No one can succeed without challenging self-limitation.

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