Speaking with University Students About Being a Full-time Freelance Journalist
I was recently interviewed by a journalism student about my work as a freelance journalist and we covered some important points so thought I’d share those here with you. If you are visiting here for the first time, then I’ll share a little about me to bring you up to speed. And if you’d like for me to speak at your university, college, school, career workshop or other event, then just send me an email to get that conversation started.
I’m a full-time freelance journalist, writer, editor, and communications professional based in Los Angeles, California. I work with print and online media outlets, locally and internationally and cover a few different beats. I am also the publisher of a 52-page monthly digital magazine called Traveler and Tourist focused on travel and lifestyle. Each issue has three destination features with their own video teasers and a playlist of tunes to listen to while reading that edition.
On the magazine side, I am the founder and editor, so I create the editorial calendar, complete the content, and liaise with my graphic designer and editorial assistant to get each issue published monthly. My workload there includes finalizing stories, sourcing images, editing and proofreading, uploading and promoting each issue, etc. I also speak on panels about travel journalism as well as where to travel, and other related topics.
On the freelance side, I work with several media outlets with a consumer and/or trade focus so as a features generalist I’ve written about construction, business, travel, lifestyle, dining, education, entertainment, diversity and inclusion, technology, etc. My workload there includes research, interviews, seeking sources and images, writing the article, and submitting the final stories to editors for publication.
I thrive writing about so many different topics because it keeps things interesting. I get to learn a lot, I get to speak to some great experts in their respective fields, and I am constantly growing and learning because of it. This also opens the doors to writing for other outlets covering industries and beats I may not already, but the versatility of my published work makes that an easy transition for me and the outlet/client.
I’ve been in the business 10 years full time and about 4-5 years part time prior as I gradually moved toward the fulltime scene. I’ve been able to sustain myself in this business that long by building relationships with editors and publishers and being strategic about which clients and projects I work with/on. I’ve used online and offline networking as ways for marketing and outreach to find the clients and projects I want to work with.
I did not, however, go to college for journalism. I studied sociology and have a Bachelor of Arts in that discipline. Most of my know-how with freelancing and journalism has been gleaned on the job and through certifications and trainings, both online and offline, and other self-directed education to bring myself up to speed on how the industry works and where I can find work that adds to my professional experience.
Here are some of the questions we covered in our quick chat...
Many freelancers love social media, others don’t and then there’s the camp that hates it and won’t have anything to do with it ever. It’s your personal preference to be in social media for your professional branding or if you simply want a personal account where you sometimes share professional information. Do what is comfortable for you and never feel pressured to join something you cannot fully commit to. No matter what manner you choose to participate on social media, ensure you are happy with your decision as to how you will use the platform. Here are ways that social media has worked for me and what I’ve shared online on different channels…
Learning to say no in general is a difficult thing to do for many, but more so in a freelance setting where it’s usually a feast or famine situation for most folks unless they’ve strategically planned how they are going to grow their business. Many freelancers jump into that lifestyle on a whim and end up feeling overwhelmed, having to say yes to every opportunity, not knowing when the next good thing will come by. Learning to say no will help you change that. Here’s how and when…
Starting in the freelance writing world is usually the stumbling block for many and that’s a common issue. Here is some feedback from my experience starting out in the freelancing world that I hope will be useful for you either as a newbie or as someone that just needs a reminder!
As a freelance editor and writer, I’m sharing some insights here that will be useful for you. Whether you’ve taken on a new editorial role or have been editing for a while, these three tips are golden! Read on …
There are some basic professional courtesies to follow when working with an editor as a freelance writer. Here are some from my experience on both sides. I hope these three tips will help you if you are starting out and serve as a reminder if you are already a freelancer...
This is the ‘after the holidays’ edition. If you live in the United States, then you just got back to work from a long weekend – Memorial Day weekend here. But this post applies to any break from work and planning to get back to the routine. Since this was a national holiday, chances are your colleagues, partners, clients and other associates also did take some time off. But not everyone will be back on the same note depending on what they did during that holiday so here are a few tips to plan on how you can get yourself and your team back on track. Read on…
The arrival of the vaccine means that business owners are that much closer to bringing people back to work. But what is the safe and legal way to get back to business as usual? Attorney Rick Grimaldi shares some insights. Many employees are still working at home as the pandemic lingers. But now that vaccination distribution has ramped up, many leaders are counting down the days to when they can bring employees back and once again maximize the rewards of face-to-face collaboration and innovation. The biggest question on their minds: How can we do this in a way that keeps everybody safe—including employees, vendors, and customers?
Organizational trauma takes many forms. It can be “collective trauma” like what we’ve all struggled with over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be a “shock and awe” event like an act of violence or a suicide. It can be ongoing and cumulative, like systemic sexual harassment or racism. Or it could be a less dramatic, but still disruptive event like a round of layoffs (or the ongoing threat of them), a contentious merger or restructuring, or a cyber hack. Regardless of the specifics, says Diana Hendel, PharmD, trauma affects organizations in predictable (and deeply destructive) ways.
Excited to share a link here to a lovely conversation with Lexie Smith, Owner of ThePRBar on her podcast Pitchin' and Sippin'. We covered everything from ghost writing and advertorials to pitching and editing. A lot of what I work on as a journalist, editor and writer was explored as well as some industry standards such as AP Style and even delved into the ethics of certain types of written work. Give it a hear right here!