Tips for Getting Started as a Freelance Journalist
Journalism is quite possibly the best avenue into steady work as a freelance writer. If you write an essay about your trip to Amsterdam, you can only sell it to one travel magazine once. But the news is happening all around us all the time, and there are countless websites desperate for people to write it for them because there are countless consumers desperate to know what’s going on in the world. It’s a beautiful cycle.
Writing a News Story
First thing’s first: writing news stories. The best advice I can give on how to actually write a story is first to just read news of any kind. So, if you’re left-wing and you intend to write political news, I’d recommend reading news from both left-wing and right-wing outlets (i.e. Breitbart, Fox News etc.) so you know everyone’s perspective and you’re totally informed, and just read as much of the daily news as you can. If you do this, eventually the way articles are written will just become a second language to you and it’ll come naturally, and it doesn’t even take very long for this Metamorphosis-like transformation into a journalist to take place.
The second piece of advice I can offer on the actual writing is the same piece of advice you’ll find in every single writing how-to ever created (and there’s a reason for that), and that is to just start writing. Jump in the deep end. Don’t worry if your first article isn’t perfect; you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Just keep writing and it’ll come naturally. And if you haven’t found a news website to employ you yet (we’ll get to that later in the post), it’s still important to write news articles, because it’ll help you refine your journalistic style which will only help your chances of getting hired and they all ask for writing samples anyway, so this way you’ll be able to provide some.
Finding a Unique Angle on a Story
The best thing you can do when approaching a news story is to find your own angle on it. This is where you get creative, and if you can think outside the box (not to pat myself on the back), it’s really easy.
If you find a news story you want to write an article on, don’t just read the MSNBC version and write your own from that. Read the BBC version of that story and the CNN version of that story and the New York Times version and the Washington Post version and the Guardian version, because they’ll all have different angles and different parts of the story, and if you read all of them then you’ll have all the facts and you can use that to hopefully find your own angle on the story.
For example, when I was…