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How to kick off your career as a freelance journalist

For some, writing is life and they relish the opportunity to write about the world we live in. Often, people who feel this way look to start careers as freelance journalists who write long-form pieces for numerous news outlets and channels.

Despite the waning influence of print, freelance journalism is still thriving thanks to online avenues where basically anyone can publish stories on issues that matter to them.

While we have access to these apps and gadgets to help us make a living in freelance journalism, you will still have to go through the motions of becoming a part of the journalism profession.

Here’s a guide to help you on your way toward becoming a freelance journalist:

Choose a niche

What are you most passionate about? Is it sports? Politics? Or maybe you’re more into covering the creative environment of your community? Finding a niche helps you keep focus and build your name within a specific market. What’s more, focusing on one niche allows you to hone your talents and build an initial network of professionals within your field.

Prepare everything you need

As a journalist, you need to come equipped with the right gear. In this case, you need a laptop, a phone, a DSLR camera, and a notebook. Once you have these tools, you are ready to find a place to get to work. Mainstream reporters are lucky to have news desks where they can type their stories, but you as a freelancer can write anywhere, from coworking in Houston to sipping lattes in Seattle. 

Look for an outlet

The beauty of reporting as a freelancer is that you can work with any newspaper, blog, or magazine you want. The trick here is to look for an outlet that captures your interest. You can either work as a correspondent for these outlets or as a contributor. If you’re offered a contract, just be sure to read it down to the last detail so you know if you’re working for the right people. Then again, it’s safer if you pitch story ideas to these outlets. 

Build an online presence

Being a modern journalist means being online for the latest happenings in the world. Not discounting social media networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, you might also consider building a professional website where you can upload original pieces that haven’t been published anywhere yet. You might also take part in online forums and monitor what people are talking about.

Stay committed to your goals 

The life of a freelance journalist isn’t all roses. It requires patience and dedication. Only the most talented and dedicated people can make it through. If you really think this is your calling, you need to commit to it. Don’t mind the distractions, just let your passion go free and you will be able to reap the benefits later on. 

Freelance journalism is one of the most exciting professions to be in. But to be part of the conversation, you need to go through the process of gaining credentials and the respect of other journalists and news publications.