Getting started as a freelance journalist
Coming Spring 2017
So you want to be a freelance journalist? It's a tough gig, make no bones about it, but it can also be one of the most rewarding.
This five-week online course will teach you everything you need to know about the nuts and bolts of freelance journalism so you can start making money doing what you love.
Taught through a combination of written instructions, video, and audio, the course is built on actionable advice and includes weekly assignments and regular feedback via email.
By the end of the course, you'll have a thorough overview of how to succeed as a freelance journalist and grow your skills, contacts, and confidence.
Whether you're a recent graduate, a career-changer, or staff journalist venturing into the world of freelancing, this course is for you.
Week one: Polished pitches
Editors often receive dozens of pitches in a day, and hundreds in a week. So how you can you increase the chances of your pitch getting picked up, especially if it's an editor you haven't worked with before?
Week one will include advice on how to make your pitch – and yourself – stand out, plus setting up a quick and easy online portfolio. Throughout the course you'll have the opportunity to submit to a virtual pitch clinic and receive feedback from both myself and your fellow trainees.
Week two: Mastering the masthead
You probably have an idea of the kind of publications you want to write for, but how do you go about finding the right person to pitch?
In week two you'll learn about building editorial contacts, how to find editors on social media, where to find writers' guidelines, and researching and breaking into new publications.
Week three: Finding stories and sources
Don't let a great story hide from you. Week three will teach you about essential tips and tools for monitoring your topic or patch, as well as advice for creating an editorial calendar to help you make timely pitches.
We'll also look at how you can use social media and other mediums to find the best sources for your story.
Week four: Building your brand
Many journalists cringe at the term "personal brand", but building a recognisable presence has huge benefits for your new freelance career.
In week four we'll review the different mediums you can use to promote yourself and your work, as well as how to network like a boss (even if you hate networking).
Week five: Diversifying your income
Most people get into freelance journalism because they want to write. But writing isn't the bread-and-butter for most freelancers (although it might be the cream). As a freelancer, you're not just a writer – you're a business.
In the final week of the course, we'll look at how you can utilise the skills you have to create additional income streams for peace of mind and to help you cope with dry spells. We'll also cover money management tips for when income is unpredictable, plus how to create an invoice and – most important – make sure you get paid on time.
About the tutor: Abigail Edge
I'm a freelance journalist writing news, technology, and travel stories for a range of outlets, including the Guardian and Journalism.co.uk. I spent five years as a journalist and editor in regional news before joining Journalism.co.uk as technology editor and training programme manager in 2013.
An awardee of the Guardian's Scott Trust bursary, I have a postgraduate diploma in journalism from City University, London. I've been freelance full-time since moving from the UK to Denver, Colorado, in 2015, where I also run the Colorado chapter of Hacks/Hackers, a meetup for journalists and technologists.
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