It is one thing to know how to write news articles. It is quite another to know how to make money from this knowledge.
A freelance journalist can be both an irritant or a savior for editors. While they may seem annoying when proposing stories at short deadlines, freelance journalists can save a news desk that is in dire need of staff.
To be a freelance journalist, you must keep working hard and do quality work. This will ensure that editors have enough time to read your work. A freelancer must be familiar with four things in order to get into your local newspaper: the news, editors, newsmakers, and follow-ups.
Before you submit your work to any publication, take some time to think about these important aspects.
1. Get the Latest News
Although it may seem obvious, you would be surprised at how many freelancers have no local knowledge but feel that their writing is worthy of premium column space. Your article will not be published if it isn’t relevant to the publication’s goals. Spend some time reading the paper. Take the time to read through each issue and understand its editorial stance.
2. The Editors
These people are your gatekeepers and could drop your stories at any time. These people are the gatekeepers of your articles and you should get to know their names, titles in the company, how they behave, and what they think about certain topics. This will give you an idea of how to position your articles for greater publication chances.
3. The Newsmakers
It is important to know who makes the news. Look through local newspapers to identify the people who are frequently quoted in the news. Once you have this information, look through the phone directory to find their contact numbers. The ultimate goal is to meet these people face-to–face, on both a professional and personal level.
This knowledge is the most crucial because it will define you as a journalist. This is important because it is not something that you can read, but rather what you create from your own mind. You can learn the information required to handle the issue and work on a follow-up story. You should remember that the in-house journalists will likely be reporting the same thing so try to come up with a different angle. This will keep you from treading on others’ toes, and it will also improve your standing with editors.
Once you have this information in your head, email or call the editor to tell him your story idea. It is likely that your story idea will be published if it is relevant, current, and fresh compared to the latest issue of the paper.
You are now ready to get in on the action. This applies to more than just newspapers. Targeted publications and news sites can also be used. These are the four rules that will help you kick-start your career as a freelance journalist.