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Credit: Image by DeaPeaJay on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Improving the dialogue between freelance journalists and commissioning editors is the challenge Alison Palmer has set out to address with online platform journohub.

Journohub, which opened in January and was updated this week to include message boards, wants to simplify this dialogue.

"I felt very strongly that there should be something out there that acted as a link between those who work in a rented room or their back bedroom, and editors and staffers," said Palmer, also a freelance journalist.

What makes journohub different from having a conversation over email for example, is the way pitches need to be structured before submission, offering a clear picture of what the story could look like from the beginning.

"They could literally print it off and take it into a conference," said Palmer.

Journohub is free to use for editors, but freelancers need to subscribe to use the service at a cost of £12 a month after a 30-day free trial.

journohub screenshot
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The platform also allows freelance journalists to set up portfolios on the site, and gets journalists' pitches to a variety of publications by getting users to choose where they are sent by subject rather than individual publication, which increases their contact list.

"As a freelance, we're all guilty of falling into that trap of continually pitching to the same people and not necessarily thinking about the wider picture, which is fine if you've got regular work," she said.

"But of course if times are tough or a magazine or a newspaper stops commissioning out quite so much, that's when as a freelance you find yourself not having quite as much work."

For editors, journohub can also be used to develop pitches they receive into related stories, or to find case studies in journalists' portfolios that could be followed up by working with the reporter.

Eight weeks in, journohub has over 600 journalists signed up, said Palmer, and the number of media outlets involved pushes the community closer to 800 users.

Despite being set up in the UK, the platform has appealed to an international community who write and commission pieces on a range of topics, a variety which Palmer described as "pick and mix".

However, all pitches at the moment are for text-based stories, and the founders are considering a move to supporting more multimedia stories in the future.

For journalists looking for more support, compiled a list of online freelance communities back in November, and ran a podcast about managing finances last week.

We also have our own freelance directory you can sign up for here.

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