By Nicole Reis
As summer approaches, there are many opportunities for journalism students to apply what they’ve learned over the course of their studies. Current students and recent graduates have found happiness in the freedom of freelancing. Nicole Reis offers five tips on professional freelancing through five Centennial journalists.
Wendy Ann Clark
Sports Journalism graduate
Covers freelance track and field beat (Winter 2016)
1 Instead of stumbling on stories, immerse yourself in a community, club or cultural group to get an insider’s perspective on certain issues.
2 Keep in touch with the relationships you cultivate; often they can refer you to stories and more contacts.
3 Expand your skill set; master video editing, photography and multi-task on multiple platforms.
4 Use social media to showcase your work and make the content you post unique to each social media platform.
5 Tell people what you do and share your passion. Often a source may feel comfortable coming to you to tell their story because they feel warmth from your passion and professionalism.
Chase Producer and freelancer, CTV News
1 Realize freelance is unstable income; manage your budget and pick up as many stories or shifts as possible – it shows that you care and you may result in full-time work.
2 Cover as many issues as possible and pitch your stories to as many publications as you can.
3 Write less time-sensitive information rather than breaking news; If a trend or story is happening in spring, write for that season.
4 Be willing to rearrange your plans to accommodate work schedules.
5 Be careful with your political opinions on your blog or website; Future employers may have conflicting views, unless you are a political reporter.
Current journalism Student, Journalism Program
Freelanced for the High Desert Star in California, Covered Women’s March in Washington
1 Be Professional – Don’t be afraid to negotiate terms of your freelance pitch before you do the work.
2 Don’t be upset if your content is altered, editors get the final say.
3 Take as many photos of an event as possible.
4 Stick to your deadline and don’t push for more time to write.
5 Find a niche for the stories you write and do some research about who might be interested in your work.
Advanced journalism certificate
Covered video game reviews and wrote for Rue Morg.
1 Start a blog – Create content to refer prospective employers where your work is consolidated.
2 Use your summers for perfecting your writing craft.
3 Don’t be afraid to volunteer or work pro bono.
4 Be social and network when invited to events with other journalists.
5 Introduce yourself to people you want to work with. For example, Scott pitched a story to Zoomer magazine but made sure to meet the editor first before emailing any of his work.
Centennial Sports Journalism Graduate 2016
The Score, copy editor and freelancer prior to full-time employment.
1 Buy your own domain name as soon as possible. A .com domain is ideal.
2 Sell yourself through blogs, podcasts and showcasing as much of your work as you can on your website.
3 Realize how competitive the industry is and set yourself apart. If your goal is to get into broadcast journalism, start a video blog.
4 Be diligent and don’t be discouraged if you are rejected; keep applying and looking for work and keep posting your work. Don’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t pick up your stories right away.
5 Talent will only take you so far – leave a good impression on the contacts and take criticism constructively and be willing to have a wide range of transferable skills.