OLD Media Moves

Freelance business journalists must master business skills

December 16, 2010

Maya Payne Smart, a Society of American Business Editors and Writers board member and freelance journalist, writes Thursday about what freelance business journalists need to do to improve their income.

Smart writes, “Beyond writing, reporting and editing chops, thriving financially outside of a traditional newsroom requires one major skill that most journalists lack: salesmanship. Commerical considerations make many journalists squeamish because they are taught that their job is to inform the citizenry, tell compelling stories and bring truth to light.  News flash: all of these goals require money.

“Freelancers must learn how to finance worthy projects, pay themselves a healthy wage, and maintain journalistic integrity. But how?

“In my view, professionalism is the way forward. We all know (or have been) the kind of freelance writer who balances a staggering array of unrelated projects to pay the bills—covering technology for websites, teaching continuing education courses, writing press releases and brochures for neighbors, and penning young adult vampire romances on weekends. That’s fine on a short-term basis, but it’s not an effective long-term strategy.”

Read more here. Smart was responding to the results of the SABEW freelance business journalism survey issued earlier this week.

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