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How to be a Freelance Journalist

I thought it would be nice if I made on post on how to be a freelance journalist because it isn't the most obvious thing to do. I'm sure you've heard of news that breaks somewhere in the Middle East or really anywhere, it is always a freelance journalist that is reporting to the major networks what is going on. I know that big news doesn't always happen where ever you may be on this planet, but you have to be prepared for it.

1. Start Your Own Website

What you want to do is pick up your own .com website name and start doing journalism. The easiest and best way to create a brand is by using your name. You put that as your domain name and you will build a brand out of it. At first no one is going to no who you are and maybe they won't know who you are when a big news story breaks, but it is a leveraging tool.

You want to set it up to be professional and to make the point that you're a freelance journalist. This is where you share your own personal well written journalism. Spend some time on stories, do research and interview people on the subject. It's a lot easier than you would think. Build up a nice portfolio of news stories that you have personally done. They'll speak volumes later when you contact a major network during a big event.

2. Have The Right Equipment

You need the right items at your disposal. That means you need a cellphone that you can make calls with, a laptop computer for you to write your story and a camera to take pictures. A camera is something that I think is important, though it is not required. I think when you have the chance to take amazing pictures you can get credit for them in the media.

If I was to pick the best camera for the job I would go with a Pentax Optio Waterproof Digital Camera because they happen to be well made and rugged. This camera is waterproof, shockproof (for dropping) and coldproof, which will cover you for all the important situations you could end up in. The other important point about the Pentax camera is that it is 12.1 MP, so the pictures are going to be crystal clear and big. Lastly, you can also record 720p high definition video with it. This is the type of video that any major network would be dreaming of when looking for footage from a freelance journalist. So definitely have one of these cameras.

When you have a laptop you want to make sure that you have the internet to upload your story. Remember that timing is very important when stories break because information is very scarce. I actually suggest not getting a full laptop, but a netbook. You may want to read the HP Mini 210 HD Edition Review since this is a pretty good netbook.

3. Start Building Contacts

A lot of people think the way to be a freelance journalist is to keep hounding CNN or something. Frankly, you're never going to find a number that would get you to anyone that could help you out. The key is building up contacts slowly and working your way up to the bigger contacts. You want to start locally and keep building them. And what you'll end up with is that your contacts will know someone that can help you get your stories out there.

That really is what happens. CNN is more likely to contact you because your name gets heard from one of your many contacts that CNN respects. And that is how it goes and that is the key to the whole thing.

Now you know how to be a freelance journalist you just have to go and do it. It is a long grueling process, but something that needs to be done. Building contacts at first will be difficult, but if you're doing good journalism the contacts will be come easier and easier to obtain.


Anonymous said…
Quick question, are you actually a freelance journalist? If yes, links to your work would be great.

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