it as a Freelancer Journalist
Yes, it is possible.
Sreenivasan, Columbia Univ journalism professor and WABC-TV
(writing samples at sree.net)
and thoughts are garnered from my experience (as a freelancer and an assigning
editor), from talking to editors and freelancers and from attending countless
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are lots of assignments out there. You have to know where to look. Thanks
to growth in the Internet and the trade press, there are plenty of places
that don't want to hire full-time writers. Yes, even in this bad job
- One obvious
place is Writer's
Market, the "listing of 8,000 editors who buy what you write,"
from the Writer's Digest
folks. Or go to the site of your favorite publication and look for writer's
guidelines. There's a bunch online at Writers'
- Join a
journalists networking group. There are so many kinds out there for
every type of interest; there's at least one for you. Attend meetings,
meet editors, meet reporters. Your contacts will be a good source of
future assignments. Guaranteed. Here's a list of U.S.
journalism organizations: every kind of journalist--travel writers
to cat writers to music writers.
a peronal homepage and an online resume (see below in the online
portfolio section). You will save postage costs of mailing clips
and stand out from the crowd. Here's a column
I wrote on the subject. And here are some tips
on setting up a personal Web site and some examples
of journalists' sites (add yours there). Nowadays, I just send an
e-mail and include my URL: www.sree.net,
which has several of my clips and a bio.
- Try to
learn as much as possible about the style of the publication you are
writing for before you send your query. Try to read at least a few recent
- Be professional
with your editors.
- Use e-mail/fax/snail-mail
to make initial contact with them.
worse than cold-calling a busy editor.
sites for Freelancers
personal Web site is a boon for freelance journalists. It helps separate
you from the rest of the pack and is easy for both editors and sources
to see your work.
writing rates vary so much it's hard to keep track... Now that the dot-com
boom is over, prices have come down, since there are fewer places to
publish. Here are some articles with guidelines:
I have on my desk and use several times a week
- The Merriam-Webster
House College Dictionary
- The Associated
- The New
York Times Manual of Style & Usage
- The World
Word: of course (but I try not to use attachments)
Keep track of tasks
and phone calls and billable hours
Internet Explorer 6.0
- Web site
See personal sites
Dreamweaver: Web authoring software
image editing software
Pro site hosting
from New York Financial Writers Association
New York Financial Writers Association
March 22, 1999
Getting that first assignment is the hardest
part. After that it can become routine.
More freelancing opportunities out there
than ever before.
Technology makes it easier for both editors
and freelancers to communicate with each other.
The industry getting more flexible, so
needs flexible people.
It is difficult to make a living doing
a lot of little pieces--look for bigger stories and bigger assignments
with bigger checks.
What editors are looking for:
dependable writers, who deliver on time, every time.
- People who can work on different topics
within a field.
- Long-term relationships with their writers.
International freelancing: Lots of interest
in international stories. If you are planning to pack your bags &
go overseas for a while, tell some editors where you are going to be.
The less journalists there are where you are going, the more likely it
is that you can get assignments.
ERIC C. GONON
Supervising producer, CNN FN
I know you can make a good living freelancing.
Pays per hour & per diem
Lots of full-time freelancers
Uses a lot of freelance print journalists trying to make the switch
More opportunities for those willing to coming in very early in the morning.
Has positions for entry-level production assistants
cnnfn.com has need for fill-in copy editors
Best way to make a pitch: snail mail, with
Don't be afraid to be persistent.
Pay: Starts at $20/hr
ALLEN R. MYERSON
Deputy Sunday business editor, The New York Times
Because NYT is such a heavily edited paper,
handing in your copy is only two-thirds of your work. You may have to
do a lot of re-reporting and rewriting, answering questions the editors
Always open to new ideas, especially for
the 900-word profiles in the Sunday "Money & Business" section.
Prefers what you do is exclusively offered
to the NYT first.
Pay $75 - $1,000 for a sunday biz
Senior editor, Journal of Accountancy & a freelancer herself
Needs a lot of freelancers. As long as
I can trust your reporting.
Most freelancers don't listen or follow
Don't get bent out of shape if we edit
the heck out of your copy.
We print e-mail addresses. We expect people
with the bylines to get their facts right.
Don't pay expenses.
Pays $1 a word
HOWARD R. GOLSON
Editor. Barron's Online
Need freelancers on occasion.
Big issue is finding good people
Depend heavily on recommendations from
Internet has changed everything
Print& TV will continue to fine
Brevity without sacrificing quality.
News is a commodity online. Add value by
Pays $750 for the 900-word pieces
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