Freelance journalism is a tough gig, but it can also be one of the most rewarding. Led by established freelance journalist Abigail Edge, this online course will teach you everything you need to know about the nuts and bolts of freelance writing.
Throughout the four-week course, you'll have the opportunity to submit to a virtual pitch clinic and receive regular feedback from Abigail and your fellow classmates in a private discussion forum.
While there will be plenty of opportunities to work on coronavirus stories, this course has been adapted to reflect the current situation, including advice on:
- Finding freelance journalism opportunities during COVID-19.
- Networking and conducting interviews during social distancing.
- How to pitch virus-related stories when health isn't your usual remit.
This course is ideal for anyone interested in becoming a freelance journalist, including staff journalists transitioning into freelancing, current freelance journalists looking to refresh their skills, career changers, and recent graduates.
A new freelance journalism module will be released weekly on Journalism.co.uk's online training platform for learners to complete in their own time. There will be weekly assignments to complete and aspiring freelance journalists should be prepared to dedicate at least three hours per week to the course.
By the end of the course, you'll have at least four complete pitches to send to editors, built a simple freelance journalist website and – perhaps most importantly – developed your skills, contacts, and confidence.
Week one: Polished pitches
Many editors receive dozens of pitches from freelance journalists in a single day, and hundreds in a week. So how can wannabe freelance writers increase the chances of an overworked editor accepting their story idea?
In week one you'll learn what makes the perfect pitch by examining real-life pitches that have sold to well-known publications. Abigail will share essential tips to make your pitch – and yourself – stand out and show you how to create a pitch log to keep track of your work, deadlines and responses from editors.
Week two: Story hunting
Don't let a great story hide from you. Whether you want to be a freelance music or travel journalist, or you're interested in freelance sports or investigative journalism, week two will teach you essential tips and tools for monitoring your topic or patch.
You'll learn how freelance journalists use social media and other online tools to find story ideas, experts sources and people to interview. Plus you'll continue to develop your pitching technique by creating your own editorial calendar.
Week three: Mastering the masthead
You might already have some idea about the publications you want to write for, but how do freelance journalists find the right editors to pitch?
In week three you'll learn about building editorial contacts, how to find editors on social media, and how to research and break into new publications.
Week four: Building your brand
Freelance journalists might sometimes cringe at the term "personal brand", but building a recognisable presence online can bring huge benefits.
In week four you'll learn about the different social media tools freelance journalists can use to promote themselves and their work. You'll complete the course by building your own simple freelance journalist website – no coding skills required!
This is an online course. The training will run on Journalism.co.uk's online training platform and private forum.
About Abigail Edge
Abigail Edge is a full-time freelance journalist and editor. Her 10-year career in journalism spans print and online news and features, social media, immersive storytelling, and media training. An awardee of the Guardian's Scott Trust Bursary, she’s worked in both the UK and US for organisations including BBC News, Vice, and The Independent. She recently completed a 12-month fellowship with Google News Lab, where she taught digital journalism skills to more than 2,000 journalists across the UK and Europe.
Abigail is currently working on her first book and is also a visiting lecturer at City, University of London, where she completed her postgraduate diploma in journalism. Find her on Twitter @abigailedge.