How to get work as a freelance journalist? Watch

The Nightingale
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I recently did work-experience for a magazine and it was fantastic! I realised that this is something that I would definitely like to do in the future—because I just adore writing (in all forms).

In my time there I wrote four large articles for the magazine and did an interview with a well-known author. It was extremely hard work (I actually up in tears on a few occasions through physical exhaustion), but at the end of the experience, I was still buzzing and enthused. Then, a few days ago someone suggested that (in between studying for my GCSEs) I do a bit of freelance journalism. This idea intrigued me and got my creativity stimulated again – but I am not quite sure how to go about it.

To my delight, I got an excellent work reference at the end of my time there. It is extremely detailed as well – and talks about all my skills in combination. I am also, sixteen years old (so am allowed to be employed). As I mentioned before though, I am doing my GCSEs at the moment, so it is not like I want to be employed by them fully or anything. I would just like to write a few articles a month—obviously I want to paid for it, but I am not particularly bothered about the sum. My motivation is not (and will never be money)— but at the same time, I don’t want to give my work away.

I am interested in all forms of journalism, but particularly critiquing books, film and theatre. As I said before though, I do also love to write just about anything—so full articles would be fine as well. So basically I just need to find out how to go about this, and I have a few questions:

·Would magazines/papers be happy to have sixteen-year-old writing articles for them in exchange for payment?
·How do I find out about freelance work?
·What kind of magazines should I go for? Teen or normal magazines? Local ones presumably, too?


I probably should mention that I am going to be home schooled until I finish my GCSEs. So my circumstances are more adaptable. Obviously I would do my articles at home and then send them into the magazine/paper.

Any advice is very much welcome.
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The Nightingale
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Bump. Any thoughts?
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arsenal111
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Possibly send your cv and cover letter along with a few of your pieces of work to a few local newspapers, ask them that you want to do a few articles. I doubt they will pay you though
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Diamond Matt
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I did my work experience at the local nespaper last year and really enjoyed it.

I play bowls, and my bowls club have given me the job as the club liason officer, so i stillwrite articles up for the county bowls news I don't get paid, but i think this would be good on a cv as it shows i voluntaryily work for my club..
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StotheL
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(Original post by The Nightingale)
I recently did work-experience for a magazine and it was fantastic! I realised that this is something that I would definitely like to do in the future—because I just adore writing (in all forms).

In my time there I wrote four large articles for the magazine and did an interview with a well-known author. It was extremely hard work (I actually up in tears on a few occasions through physical exhaustion), but at the end of the experience, I was still buzzing and enthused. Then, a few days ago someone suggested that (in between studying for my GCSEs) I do a bit of freelance journalism. This idea intrigued me and got my creativity stimulated again – but I am not quite sure how to go about it.

To my delight, I got an excellent work reference at the end of my time there. It is extremely detailed as well – and talks about all my skills in combination. I am also, sixteen years old (so am allowed to be employed). As I mentioned before though, I am doing my GCSEs at the moment, so it is not like I want to be employed by them fully or anything. I would just like to write a few articles a month—obviously I want to paid for it, but I am not particularly bothered about the sum. My motivation is not (and will never be money)— but at the same time, I don’t want to give my work away.

I am interested in all forms of journalism, but particularly critiquing books, film and theatre. As I said before though, I do also love to write just about anything—so full articles would be fine as well. So basically I just need to find out how to go about this, and I have a few questions:

·Would magazines/papers be happy to have sixteen-year-old writing articles for them in exchange for payment?
·How do I find out about freelance work?
·What kind of magazines should I go for? Teen or normal magazines? Local ones presumably, too?


I probably should mention that I am going to be home schooled until I finish my GCSEs. So my circumstances are more adaptable. Obviously I would do my articles at home and then send them into the magazine/paper.

Any advice is very much welcome.
Online, there are tonnes of freelance jobs going, you just need to put the work in. No one asks for you age, as long as you have the skills and can provide the content then they'll most probably hired you.

Make you have some sort of sample work ready to send, then send polite emails around, include a personal blurb describing yourself and it's often useful to include where you're situated. As I live over here, and work mostly with Canadians/Americas, this means there's a huge gap time wise so I usually would babble on about how I'm available at any hours. You need to be committed, you can't take on a job and drop it after a day or two, it's just not how it's done.

If you're create, self motivated and possess a lot of determination then you'll go far, remember if one company says no then it doesn't matter. Not every company will be looking for your particular style of writing, so if you apply for more jobs then you'll increase your chances of being hired.

Try:

www.craigslist.org

www.odesk.com

If you want to know anymore, give me a PM. I should be online a fair bit today as I've so much work to do eek. I've a few other links I could get you set up with, I may even be able to set you up with a job, so PM me if you're interested.

Oh, and all of this work is online so it doesn't require you having to meet up with anyone, no phone calls are necessary etc.
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The Nightingale
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This is really interesting knowledge.

I have actually applied for a bit of freelance work now, through several media sources. Most seem fine with age group and are willing to pay for the articles. I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

Thanks for the replies.
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StotheL
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(Original post by The Nightingale)
This is really interesting knowledge.

I have actually applied for a bit of freelance work now, through several media sources. Most seem fine with age group and are willing to pay for the articles. I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

Thanks for the replies.
Good stuff, you've now got the ball rolling
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Aphrodite007
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You may need to do some NCTJ legal training, some publications will be unhappy publishing works from people without any knowledge of media law. Good luck though
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shinyhappy
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(Original post by The Nightingale)
I recently did work-experience for a magazine and it was fantastic! I realised that this is something that I would definitely like to do in the future—because I just adore writing (in all forms).

In my time there I wrote four large articles for the magazine and did an interview with a well-known author. It was extremely hard work (I actually up in tears on a few occasions through physical exhaustion), but at the end of the experience, I was still buzzing and enthused. Then, a few days ago someone suggested that (in between studying for my GCSEs) I do a bit of freelance journalism. This idea intrigued me and got my creativity stimulated again – but I am not quite sure how to go about it.

To my delight, I got an excellent work reference at the end of my time there. It is extremely detailed as well – and talks about all my skills in combination. I am also, sixteen years old (so am allowed to be employed). As I mentioned before though, I am doing my GCSEs at the moment, so it is not like I want to be employed by them fully or anything. I would just like to write a few articles a month—obviously I want to paid for it, but I am not particularly bothered about the sum. My motivation is not (and will never be money)— but at the same time, I don’t want to give my work away.

I am interested in all forms of journalism, but particularly critiquing books, film and theatre. As I said before though, I do also love to write just about anything—so full articles would be fine as well. So basically I just need to find out how to go about this, and I have a few questions:

·Would magazines/papers be happy to have sixteen-year-old writing articles for them in exchange for payment?
·How do I find out about freelance work?
·What kind of magazines should I go for? Teen or normal magazines? Local ones presumably, too?


I probably should mention that I am going to be home schooled until I finish my GCSEs. So my circumstances are more adaptable. Obviously I would do my articles at home and then send them into the magazine/paper.

Any advice is very much welcome.

I've dabbled in freelance journalism since year 10, and it's a lot easier than you might think! Firstly, make sure you keep in touch with the people you did work experience for, contacts are always useful! (This is how I got a leg-up to having stuff published, and once you've been published once, it makes things a lot easier!)
I mostly wrote feature pieces (full length articles, usually around the 700 word mark) on educational issues - a good thing to write about, given that if you're still at school, you can talk about it first hand. So if you've got hobbies or interests that you'd like to talk about, they're a good place to start.
My advice would be to decide on something you'd like to write about. Then decide where you think might like to publish it - try local newspapers first, they're easier to get stuff in than the nationals, obviously. Find out who at the paper would deal with it (e.g. the education editor, or the features editor etc) send them a polite, short email telling them that you've written a piece about X, and would they be interested in taking a look? It is not a good idea to send them the full article straight away, as all of the people I've spoken to say they get a lot of these, and usually just ignore them. In your initial email, try and sell it to them a bit, say a little bit about what you've written (and why) and mention any funny/interesting sounding bits.
Most people I've emailed are pretty good at replying, and mostly they ask to have a look. From there, they'll let you know whether they like the piece. You'll always get several rejections, but generally if the piece is interesting and reasonably well written (from the original post, it doesn't sound like you'd have many problems) you'll find somewhere to take it.
After you've had a few pieces published, it's much easier to get new stuff in (mention in your 'selling it' email that you've been published in X Y and Z - makes them pay much more attention) you can then move on to doing more stuff that you want to write about, reviews, in your case (I don't think these would be the easiest way to get into the business, the world has plenty of opinionated people, and it's much easier to prove your originality by feature writing.) A good place to start would be the magazine you did your work experience on!
Nowhere I've had articles in had a problem with me being young, in fact they seem to regard it as quite a positive thing. The pay is pretty damn good too, so it's well worth trying.
Good luck!
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