Freelance Journalism: Tips to Make it Work!

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Divya Karthikeyan who is an Award-winning independent journalist has penned down some thoughts on Freelance Journalism which are useful for everyone.

She says, “I started out with the help of some really good friends in the industry, but I learnt to cold call and cold message editors, big or small. The most important part of building on your skill set is your body of work. You get started on that by cold mailing. It may seem like “oh who am I to mail such big editors” Trust me, they are always on the lookout for good reporters and writers. Once you’ve got over self-doubt, pitch. Here’s a way to pitch I learnt from reading others.”

She listed some important points on Freelance Journalism.

1. Explain the crux of the story in a couple of lines.

2. Explain in one sentence what you think is the most impt part of the story to you.

3. Find an angle no one has written about. (Read others)

4. Why is this story important? Why should the editor care?

5. Is it going to be explanatory? Is it going to be opinion? Is it going to be a profile? It can’t be vague.

6. Who are you going to talk to? Names. Where are you going to. Specific areas. What are your questions going to focus on?

She also adds, “Take a deep breath and read your own pitch. See yourself an editor or someone commissioning your piece. Does it make sense? Does it have all the elements you would look for? You can give it to a trusted friend to read it as well. Always thank the editor for their time. Now the wait. This wait could last anytime between 3-7 or 10 days, depending on the publication.”

This could go two ways.

1. They get back and commission it.

2. They get back and refuse.

Here is one way to deal with rejection, and rejection can be hard to deal with. Here are some tips.

“IT IS NOT PERSONAL. It is never personal. It is not a blackmark on your writing or reporting. It doesn’t mean you judge yourself more. Instead, see this as a chance to improve your pitch. Cry in the shower, yell at the wall, do what you have to. This rejection is a good thing. You know why? Because you’re now deep into what you do. There is no going back. And when there is no going back, you’re completely in. When you’re completely in, you’re giving everything your best shot. Best shots matter in this profession.” she said.

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