Freelance Journalism: Start A Career As A Freelance Journalist

by WorkFromHome on April 9, 2011

Freelance journalism means being on the forefront of providing news at agencies, papers, websites and blogs that range from the best known names in mainstream news to small, niche news sources that are aimed at specific interests within Australia and around the world. Far from hacks that belong at trashy tabloids or grammatical error laden school reports, freelance journalists are skilled writers who use their specialized knowledge in a subject area to contribute to different publications.

Of course, if you are interested in writing lurid and juicy celebrity gossip stories, there is certainly a market for that, just as there is for someone who closely monitors research in different hard to understand areas, such as monetary policy or medical developments and is able to disseminate the information in easy to read articles in a timely fashion.

Being able to write about a topic quickly is an important part of being successful as a freelance journalist. After all, the news is only the news while it is new. Writing about a natural disaster or sports event a week or two after it occurs will not net you a paycheque, but being able to write about it when it occurs will allow you to get a premium for offering the paper or website that buys your article the ability to scoop other publications with the first account of the event. Offering a unique viewpoint of an event, such as the impact that a national event has on citizens of your region or even your town, will also help to differentiate your article and make it more appealing to potential publishers.

What you decide to write about may also be determined by how you are paid. While some publishers will pay you a flat rate for the exclusive rights to publish your article, many websites will pay you per view that your article receives online. If this is the case, then you should take a moment to consider whether there is a unique angle that you can give your article to make it more likely to turn up in search engine results, and garner you more views.

If you are being paid per view, then you also should pull out all the stops to promote your articles by posting links to them on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook. Not only will using these websites help to increase the views that these articles receive, but they can also help you to show to attract the attention of other potential publishers, so that you can continue to build your career in freelance journalism.

Regardless of how you are being paid for your writing, remember that to be paid at all, you need to be providing a quality product. This means that even if you are writing for a tabloid, it still needs to be in the format and with the appropriate grammar that your client has requested. Although the specifics may vary between what is appropriate for a freelance journalism article for a magazine and for a blog, misspellings, blatant grammatical errors and other displays of unprofessional behaviour will not be tolerated. Make these blunders, and you will see your future in freelance journalism end before you have a chance to get it started.

Quality also means that you will have done adequate research on your article, rather than rewriting someone else’s work. Tabloid articles may require you to do some legwork to find out where celebrities like to wine and dine, so that you can add in your own observations of these hot spots, while articles on scientific discoveries and medical developments will require you to do some in depth reading of the latest technical journals before beginning to type up your articles. While being a freelance journalist means being able to pick and choose when to write, remember, you can only hand in an article for a short time after an event occurs. This may mean that you have to force yourself to go to work when you would rather stay at home with your family, or forgo the opportunity to earn that extra income or write about a favourite celebrity or news topic. Of course, if you do write that article, you can then shop it around for the best price.

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