A freelance journalist is a nonfiction writer who works for various media outlets on a freelance basis. She may submit her articles to magazines or newspapers for publication, as well as for broadcast on television, radio, or the Internet. For various clients, a large number of freelance journalists also write press releases and newsletters.
Some journalists specialize in covering a specific topic or field of interest. Others are more likely to let current events and pop culture guide them to topics they want to learn more about. The ability of a freelance journalist to predict which topics are newsworthy enough to get her hired for articles she pitches to editors is crucial to her success.
Politics, law enforcement, health issues, and personal triumph are examples of subjects that a journalist might choose that have lasting appeal to many editors, readers, viewers, or listeners. Because of the variety of aspects that each has, these topics are generally regarded as timeless sources of fascination. The variety of perspectives from which each can be approached adds to their appeal.
A freelance journalist must have reliable sources and contacts in a variety of fields in addition to the ability to write concise and compelling copy. These are usually the people who help her obtain the information she needs to write a professional and accurate piece when she seeks expert opinions or confirmation of facts. This is a common stumbling block for new freelancers working in unfamiliar areas or industries.
The ability to sell one’s work is often regarded as the most important aspect of a freelance journalist’s job. She is frequently up against other journalists who are pitching editors similar ideas, so she must make hers stand out in order to land the job. Establishing strong relationships with a few editors consistently providing them with interesting, well-written articles is usually thought to be critical to a freelance journalist’s long-term success.
Natural curiosity and the ability to predict the preferences of her audience are two qualities that a successful journalist possesses. She is also expected to be able to meet deadlines on a regular basis. This usually necessitates exceptional organizational and time management abilities.
A bachelor’s degree in journalism, creative writing, or media communications is typically required for a freelance journalist. Writing or reporting experience for high school, college, or community publications is typically preferred. A portfolio of published clips is frequently included with an aspiring freelancer’s resume when submitting it to potential employers.