The four reasons for a freelancer to decide to write a story

I recently posted on the reasons why I love freelancing. Once you know you want the gig, it also helps to know what you’re willing to do.

There are four big reasons to agree to write a story, and every writer should know them – if only so he can decide if that writing gig, even if it’s on the side, is worth it.

They’re worth recognizing, see them below. Continue reading The four reasons for a freelancer to decide to write a story

Community journalism: What's the job and what's your life

I live in Frankford, an old neighborhood in lower Northeast Philadelphia. Community journalism – the important and perhaps least paying element of the craft – is something I cherish and, as I understand it, begins, funny enough, in your own community.

So when I moved here back in November, I was excited to discover and learn and experience a new neighborhood. My interests reached beyond the professional, I wanted to help and learn and develop with Frankford, like I would wherever I lived. So, I reached out to my legislators – State Rep. Tony Payton and Councilwoman Maria Sanchez. I went to the first neighborhood meeting I found and began what I hope will be a monthly habit, sitting in on the Frankford Civic Association meeting earlier this month.

As life will do, I learned plenty doing just that, a lesson I think every journalist, freelance or otherwise, should recognize.

Continue reading Community journalism: What's the job and what's your life

The equipment of this freelance multimedia journalist: How I became a better reporter this Christmas

It may seem like another cost, another obstacle to your dream. That’s because it is. Journalism students face the challenge of getting professional experience from newspapers and magazines that often don’t pay. Buying the multimedia equipment that would have to be part of anyone’s journalism tool box does cost money that many young journalists, fresh freelancers or recently-unemployed reporters don’t have.

So, I took three years, much of my own money and at least two gifts to accumulate what equipment I think to be important for a developed, independent multimedia journalist. Yesterday, I was thrilled to be given the last of the below items as my family Christmas gift.

All that said, these are tools, not rules. While I am by no means independently wealthy, much of the world doesn’t have the financial resources with which I am blessed.

So, here’s my triage of multimedia equipment, what you need most.

If even time doesn’t offer an opportunity for you to build on this tool box. Take heart. Nothing on the below list could replace hard work, smarts and persistence…. lots and lots of persistence.

Continue reading The equipment of this freelance multimedia journalist: How I became a better reporter this Christmas

Learn to e-mail better

How well do you e-mail?

A few weeks ago I came across a simple, intuitive but worthwhile post on Seth Godin’s blog – an e-mail checklist.

I send lots of e-mails. In searching for a new job, in looking for interviews, in sending pitches for freelance stories.

So, I am immediately incorporating a few of Godin’s points into my style and thought they might help you, too – regardless of profession. I have some thoughts myself.

Continue reading Learn to e-mail better

Journalists are victors of the moment

Perhaps more than any other profession, journalists live in moments, that hour’s story, that day’s deadline.

Zack Stalberg was made a legend for his Frank Rizzo moment. As a 2001 Philadelphia Weekly profile suggested:

Within two years the night rewrite kid is a City Hall reporter covering Frank Rizzo at a time when Rizzo was, as Stalberg recalls, “unstoppable … He was going to be governor and his image was untarnished and then–boom!” Boom, of course, was Stalberg himself, who persuaded the mayor to take a lie detector test to resolve a political dispute. Rizzo, as the whole city knows, failed the test in grand fashion, and Stalberg, as the whole city also knows, became someone who would make a name for himself. [Source]

Continue reading Journalists are victors of the moment

Journalism Tool box: What every young journalist needs

As a young, aspiring journalist, I want to know what it is I need to have, what I need to know and what I need to learn. I’ve spoken to some friends, colleagues and with a few professional internships in my past, I think I am ready to fill the vaccum. What needs to be in every young journalist’s tool box?

Continue reading Journalism Tool box: What every young journalist needs