Saturday, July 9, 2011

So you want to become a Freelancer?

I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world

- Henry R. Luce

Journalism from its advent was seen as the noble profession. In India, Journalism gained momentum during the colonial era. It was a tool which was used for mass awakening against tyranny of the British government. It was the voice of our national leaders and journalism owed loyalty to those struggling for freedom. However, a few years into freedom and time changed. Everything became commercialized. Journalism was no longer about revealing the truth; it was about TRP’s. So what happens to someone who wants to write a story they want to tell? They become Freelancers.

Freelance Journalism with all its beauty is still not a rose without thorns. There are certain set of skills one needs to possess and practice. Here are a few pre-requisites to be a Freelance Journalist:

· Eye- Freelance Journalist or not, one definitely needs to have an eye for story. Whenever one comes across a story, one need to gain an understanding of what the story is about, what’s intriguing about it, what different angles one can work on and what are the nuances.

· USP- Unique selling proposition, a very popular word in the advertising and marketing world. One will wonder what it has got to do with Journalism. Well, it is an indispensable part of Journalism. One may end up writing a marvelous piece but one must possess the skill of selling it. Only if you know to whom and how you should pitch your story, you will ever get it published.

· Networks- A strong network is always a feather in the cap. If you have a well- established network with journalists in country and abroad, it will always prove to be extremely useful. Whenever one hears any news and wants to do a story or confirm the reality, one can always use their contacts as relevant sources.

· Equipment- Without proper equipment one might feel challenged to do their job. It is always better to make sure that one has extra ink, paper, batteries and the rest so that one doesn’t run out of essential materials.

· Self-discipline- Well, if you think you already had enough to deal with, here is the big challenge. Self-discipline is an art difficult to master. It may take up your whole life. But if you have made a decision to become a freelancer it’s absolutely unavoidable. Once you get into the groove, you will rule time.

These suggestions may or may not work for some; in such case one always has a choice to craft his or her own rules.

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