Friday, February 19, 2010

Freelance Journalism: You Never Get Praise. You Just Get More Work.

FREELANCE JOURNALISM veterans Beth D'Addono and JoAnn Greco said they wouldn't trade their careers for full-time jobs any day.

They work from home, travel, eat well and control their lives (to some extent). But freelancing isn't easy. Here are a few things that stood out for me from their visit to class yesterday:

- It can take several years to build steady work as a freelancer.
- The time between your doing the work and getting paid can be long - sometimes you'll get paid months later.
- As a freelancer, you're always thinking about the next story.
- Pitch stories about what you know - like Philly.
- One of the keys to being a good freelancer: get your work in on time and prepared as the editor originally asked. Making editors' lives easier will make you look better.

- You may want to write for Rolling Stone but you should begin by pitching somewhere more accessible. Then build up the ladder - from larger publication to larger publication.
- There are a ton of outlets - including trade publications, alumni mags, organization publications, online sites, commercial mags, etc. Don't lock into one place as your goal.
- Tailor your pitches and stories to the various publications, but retain your voice and writing style.
- Pitching is done via email these days. You need to convince editors why they should run this story, and why run it now.
- You need to build relationships with editors, and you can start doing that now in internships.
- The harder you work, the more money you earn.
- Junkets and sponsored trips, while controversial, can be ways of subsidizing your expenses.

JoAnn recently launched The City Traveler, an online travel magazine. Check it out.

What stood out for you?

15 comments:

Annaliese said...

I was wondering when we were going to have some women guest speakers.
These were the most interesting and relevant guests yet. (in reference to real life, accessible jobs)
Cool.

Casey Carden said...

It was nice to hear the women talk about the real struggles they incur everyday as a freelancer. It can seem like a really glamorous job, but at the end of the day, it's not an easy living. Their advice was invaluable, because they have been in the business for years and know what works and what doesn't.

Jess Lopez said...

I absolutely loved these two women. They are strong, fearless writers who were honest in talking about the struggles freelance journalists face. They seemed sincere in their advise to us and it was refreshing to hear about how much they love writing and the sense of freedom they receive from it. What stood out to me particular was how much JoAnn stressed the sense of freedom working as a freelancer gives her. To be able to write about things that strike YOU as interesting and things YOU want to share with the world AND get paid for it doesn't sound bad to me.

joe boland said...

Even thought I don't plan on entering a journalism career, I thought that these two had some good stories and were very honest concerning exactly what they do and how they get compensated.

Erica Hochman said...

These women really made the idea of freelance journalism more tangible for me. I have been warned on numerous occasions that being a journalist means sacrificing a lot in terms of freedom and free time with family etc. It was nice to hear that there are some opportunities as a journalist where one can create their own hours to be conducive with the lifestyle he or she lives.

Chris Tieuli said...

These women certainly have a fun, interesting job, and they had some good advice and stories to tell but I felt that they, and in particular Beth, focused on many negatives about their work. Every answer Beth had referred to money, when she was going to get paid, how much she was going to get paid, etc. At times it sounded as if the favorite part of her job is getting paid. Her job gives her unlimited freedom and she has gotten the opportunity to see and write about some magnificent things, and she has the role of showing people these things and painting a picture for her readers. I think that she downplayed having such an awesome job and turned it into something she was doing to get by. That being said, the two women had many good things to say, I just feel they delivered it in a way that made it sound like they do not fully appreciate what a good job they have.

Berryman, A said...

I actually loved listening to these two women speak, even though I am not a journalism major I was happy to hear about their stories of successes as journalist.

Ed Robinson said...

I enjoyed seeing to people who truly enjoyed the work they do regardless of the pay they are receiving. Even though they seemed on edge about monetary issues they're overall presentation was inspiring to do freelance and live without being restricted to a 9-5 for the entirety of a person's life.

Jessie Fox said...

I enjoyed listening to these two women being totally honest about their jobs. They highlighted on the good and bad and everything in between. They brought the the life of the Journalism world into a reality and I appreciated that the most. Although some things that were said were unsettling, I learned a lot. Every job has its ups and downs, it just depends on how much you are willing to put into it. Being a free-lance writer has a great deal of opportunity, it just really depends on how much you put into your stories and your everyday work. I think that if you stay true to yourself and write out loud about the things that interest you the most, other people will catch on, appreciate, and follow. It is about taking risks and even if people don't like your writing, keep at it. Your dedication and passion will always pay off.

Annmarie Dinan said...

these women seemed to have dream jobs, but it seemed to me that this might not be the ideal job because they had no set income. and there is always the chance that they could work hard and not get paid as much as they desrve, which seems to be an incredibly dicouraging situation.

Gillian Francella said...

After their information about freelance journalism, I think I would prefer to work full time somewhere and then brave freelancing. I admire them for their work and ideas because the concept of freelance journalism seems impossible to me as of right now.

Anonymous said...

Brittni M.Baldrich

I enjoyed listening to these women speak about their job as a freelance writer. They both gave the pros and cons of the job but neither seemed to be truely phased by them. They take there work for what it is and seemed to love the adventure it brings.

Connor Showalter said...

I thought the guest lectures shared invaluable information and I am grateful they were brought to our class. I'm interested in freelance work and the stories they told were very helpful. But it sounds tough to become economically stable!

Kaitlin Ziminski said...

I thought both women were great speakers. They provided great insight on their work and the difficult nature of freelance journalism. Personally, I would not be able to work as a freelance journalist because the pressure of constantly needing to find work because it is your only income would drive me crazy.

Francisco Ovalle said...

admirable women, brave and good at what they do. but freelance writing for me is not an option, why stay home all the time? that would suck all the way, and getting paid months after? NOP, not good.