Who needs freelance journalists?
There is huge scope for journalism jobs in the marketplace and below we cover the main areas where you can win contracts or supply stories on a freelance basis.
The main sectors of opportunity are magazines, newspapers as well as the vast array of websites online that you can contribute to. Print is not as popular as it used to be and online journalism has become king, however, print journalism is still in operation.
All media types and individual titles will have their own rules for accepting freelance work. You will need to carry out research on all individual publications that you want to contribute to. You can easily find the contact details on the publication website, or even if you google the relevant person to contact. Below are the three main categories where journalists can contribute their work.
With information readily available online, and most magazines being online, physical copies of magazines are still being printed. Since 2011, each year the copies sold in physical magazines are decreasing. In 2017, it was found that around 422 million copies of magazines were sold in the UK. This is a huge decrease since 2011, in which 820 million magazine copies were sold.
Although there is a decrease in print media in general, it is still surviving. Therefore, you might want to consider gaining skills that focus on online journalism, in order to keep up with society. Outdated skills can hinder your chances are being successful as a freelance journalist, therefore make sure to invest in modern journalistic skills.
If you have always dreamed of working in magazines, there don’t fret. Most magazines have websites that feature the same content as the print version. If you want to write niche content, whether it’s on cooking or fashion, there is still a need for you in the market.
There are thousands of commercial websites covering every imaginable area. A good website is always on the lookout for quality content, therefore there is ample scope in this field. The best way to crack this market is to use Google to return a list of sites that cover your particular specialty. See which ones have current news, stories, articles, or technical publications, and draw up a shortlist. Contact the webmaster or editor with a proposal and a sample of your work. Please do read the contact pages on the individual sites for any comments they may have about submissions.
If you are interested in a niche topic and want to create content based on that, then you will need to carry out some research. Make sure that your network and build contacts and connections, because it will help you get exposure in the niche community.
The power of the internet has completely transformed the face of journalism. People can now have news instantly at their fingertips. Writing online is the best way to get the relevant news out to the public, therefore it will require certain skills in order to be competent at it. From social media to blogging sites, you need journalistic skills which are transferable and can be applied to various media platforms.
Almost all national and local newspapers will use freelance journalists, either on an ad hoc basis or more regularly. At every major event you will find a heavy presence of staff and agency journalists, but do not let this put you off. With some perseverance and ingenuity, you can always get an angle that others might miss.
If you fancy getting into news journalism then a great place to start is your local newspaper. Pretty much every town and city has one and although the events covered may not be the most exciting they will provide useful experience and will help your resume and portfolio of stories. Having had local press experience can also help you if your goal is to write for the nationals. Breaking into this marketplace can be difficult because of the large number of writers already employed. Nationals tend to have large numbers of staff writers and these are backed up by freelancers who are already known to the papers. Like all careers, there is only one route to the top - hard work and perseverance.
Some argue that print publications are dying, although this may be the case, currently, there are still millions of newspapers in circulation today in the UK. According to News Work, there are 31 million read print newspapers on a monthly basis. With still a huge number of readers across the UK, the print media may change and alter but it will unlikely die. Therefore, if it has been your dream to work on or contribute to local or national newspapers, then there are still opportunities available to do so.
More on freelancing as a journalist.