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Freelance advice

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by mlore, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. mlore

    mlore New Member

    Hi,

    I'm a sports reporter with nearly 10 years of professional experience. I've worked for newspapers, professional teams and I'm currently working part time for the NHL. I'm trying to do freelance writing on the side to make a few extra bucks and get my name out there.

    I've done freelance/stringer work in the past, but I was approached by sports editors and given assignments. Now I'm the one having to approach publications/websites with my ideas and stories.

    What are some of the best practices? Are certain places more freelancer-friendly than others? Any and all advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Michael
     
  2. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Pitch every feature idea you can think of. The success rate for pitching stories is low, but sometimes you land gigs that are fun and every once in a while something that pays well.

    Look over the schedules of the teams in your area and reach out papers covering visiting teams and might be looking to skip a road trip.
     
  3. ringer

    ringer Member

    The A#1 best advice I have is: do your homework about the publications you're pitching. Know their audiences, their regular sections, and the types of pieces they like to run. If you haven't done your research, editors will sense it in a minute and won't bother replying. On the other hand, if you have an idea for a new section that could fit, it's definitely worth making a case.

    Second thing: if you've worked for pro teams and the NHL and you're pitching stories in the same sports and/or about anyone whose team has paid you, then it's best to disclose that in advance. And explain (concisely) why you don't think it will be a conflict of interest. Even if the editor disagrees , then at least he/she knows you're being aboveboard. In the freelance world, building trust is key.
     
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    In my experience, newspapers are much more interested in having stringers cover games/events than write features.

    So I would look to see what teams/games/events are in town that you may be free to cover and contact papers that may be interested.

    Once you cover a couple games for a paper, they might be more receptive to features you suggest.
     
  5. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Be open to rejection...most freelance budgets have been squeezed tight or shut entirely in some cases. But if you are persistent you'll find opportunities to write, especially if you are in an active metro area.

    The days of sending reporters out of towns with teams is pretty much a thing of the past, so check the local college seen. Teams come in from out of town and their area papers may be interested, especially if it's a game of consequence.

    I echo Ace...game coverage is where the demand is...perhaps a feature idea once in awhile and once you are established. But freelancers are most often used on game nights.

    One other distant possibility would be to become the 'expert' at something in you area and float a column. We have a guy who has entrenched himself with the local motor racing circuit, and when my editor asked for more of that coverage, I knew right where to go.
     
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