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#Podcast: Telling your own story – personal branding advice for journalists

November 22nd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Freelance, Podcast


For many journalists, and freelancers in particular, creating a personal brand can help you stand out from the crowd. Achieving this is not always easy or straightforward so, as well as gathering these five tips for personal branding, we went into detail on the subject with some experienced and successful journalists.

We spoke to:

  • Jo Payton, lecturer, trainer and freelancer
  • Susie Boniface, the Fleet Street Fox
  • John Toner, freelance organiser, National Union of Journalists
You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the podcast feed on iTunes.
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#Tip: Read this advice if you work from home


Image by Peter on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Here is a Storify we created we have created with advice on working from home.

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#Tip of the day for journalists – creating freelance opportunities

October 12th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Freelance, Top tips for journalists

On Poynter, Beth Winegarner offers some helpful pointers for freelancers keen to track down new opportunities. Her tips cover topics such as network building and making your specialism known. She also highlights the value of having an online portfolio.

Earlier this week produced a list of online portfolio and profile platforms which journalists can use to share examples of their work and experience.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: 25 popular tools for freelancers

September 13th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Freelance, Top tips for journalists

Meranda Watling of 10,000 Words recently blogged about a survey by BestVendor, a “New York-based start-up site aimed at connecting users with useful apps and software”.

The survey asked about freelancer’s most popular apps, such as those to help share files or manage the business side. 10,000 words lists the 25 most popular ones cited by the respondents.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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#Tip of the day from – 25 most popular apps for freelance

August 20th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

10,000 Words has a list of the 25 most popular apps for freelancers. It is based on a survey of about 100 freelancers conducted by BestVendor.

If you are a freelance journalist it’s definitely worth having a look at the list to see if you are making the most of free tools.

The top five are:

  1. Dropbox
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Gmail
  4. Evernote
  5. Google Apps/Docs

Tipster: @marcsettle

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.


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Video: Freelance foreign correspondent discusses reporting from Yemen and Libya

February 2nd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Freelance

GRN, an agency for foreign correspondents, has posted a video interview with freelancer Portia Walker.

In the first in a series of interviews from GRN, Walker talks about her year covering the Arab spring in Yemen and Libya.

A former TV current affairs producer with Al Jazeera English, Walker explains how she moved to Yemen just before the Arab spring began.

She speaks about the “baptism of fire” in reporting from Yemen for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Washington Post and the Economist as well as GRN’s TV and radio clients.

Expecting to spend time in Libya researching features, she found she was spending her time “daily news reporting” which “did not go down well at some times with the authorities” and led to her arrest a gun point.

You can find out more about GRN in this Q&A interview and read guide on how to become a roaming reporter.

The video interview is below.

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Tips for freelance journalists on National Freelancers’ Day

November 23rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Freelance

Today is National Freelancers’ Day. We have compiled a list of 10 things every freelance journalists should know.

We crowdsourced and gathered advice for freelance journalists from fellow freelancers and editors.

Here are some of the responses:

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Ten things every freelance journalist should know

November 23rd, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Freelance, Lists

Image by monkeywing on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

To mark National Freelancers’ Day we have been gathering advice for freelance journalists. Here is our Storify of curated tweets of advice for freelancers.

Our 10 tips include thoughts from freelancers and editors who responded to a request for advice from @journalismnews on Twitter, and we have added advice gathered over the years.

1. Don’t be afraid to pitch to editors (by email)

Commissioning editors positively encourage you to approach them with ideas and pitches.



2. Recognise that it is tough to go it alone

Make no mistake, it is not easy to start out as a freelancer. It requires you to be a great journalist, sales person, book keeper, networker and you need to be able to manage your own time. There may be periods when you are working long days on multiple features, at other times you may have too much free time. has a number of must-read guides, which can help if you are just starting out.

This updated feature on how to get started as a freelance journalist is an essential.

You can also take tips from this guide on how to effectively diversify as a freelancer, plus there is a two-part guide on how to make a successful transition to freelance journalism.

It may be hard, but believe in yourself and don’t give up.

3. Get a handle on your finances

Some freelancers advise getting an accountant, others manage their own accounts and submit their own self-assessment tax return.

It is wise to put away one third or one quarter of what you earn. That way you will have a lump sum ready when the 31 January deadline comes round. Alternatively you can set up a standing order to pay HMRC monthly so that you don’t face a large bill in January.

Self-assessment tax returns are relatively simple to fill in. You can make the process much easier by keeping expenses and receipts in a series of envelopes, one for every month of the year.

4. Invoice, politely remind, and then take action

Invoice after you have submitted your story, and give publishers a deadline, perhaps 14 or 30 days.

If you do not receive payment, telephone the accounts department and ask that the bill is settled.

Freelancers can feel awkward about hassling publishers for payment and may fear not being commissioned in the future. However, you are entitled to that payment, your own rent or mortgage needs to be paid and it is likely you won’t have a large cash flow.

If the publication delays, £2 + VAT will get you a legal Letter Before Action from a debt collection agency such as Thomas Higgins. An official letter will no doubt encourage slow payers to speed up.

This guide on how to get paid on time has some excellent tips, advice on setting your own terms, chasing payments and threatening legal action.

5. Do not let others steal your work

Simon Crofts, a former lawyer who is now a photographer, has written about claiming damages for breach of copyright on EPUK (Editorial Photographers UK).

The article, published last week, details copyright law, what you are entitled to claim from an infringer, and how to assemble and present a claim. Although aimed at photographers, nearly all of it is relevant to writers who have had their articles ripped off.

6. Be strict with yourself

There is a danger of working too hard or not putting in enough hours and therefore losing potential commissions.

7. Think pictures

Consider selling your stories and photographs as a package. You could partner with a photographer or source your own images.

Selling a words and pictures package can make a story more appealing to a busy editor, and it could boost the amount you earn.

8. Consider syndicating abroad

This is not relevant for every type of content but there are various agencies who can sell on features for you, providing you have the rights to sell the story outside the UK.

This guide details how to syndicate freelance articles abroad.

There is also a recently launched Canada-based platform called MediaCooler that maybe worth uploading content to. has published a question and answer interview with MediaCooler’s CEO.

9. You need help from others when going it alone

Working from home and not having an employer to support you can be lonely and challenging. There is no editor or colleague to turn to for advice, there is no social contact, no post-work drinks or office Christmas party.

In order to learn from others and benefit from a support network, join a local freelancers’ meetup group, become a member of’s freelance directory, which not only provides exposure but also gives you access to other freelancers with years of experience and those just starting out.

Also, set yourself an annual budget to pay for yourself to go on training courses ( runs one-day training courses, and has links to other short courses), attend journalism conferences (such as our news:rewired event where you can learn about the latest trends in digital journalism), and go to networking events.

10. Take advantage of the quiet month

The second half of December and first half of January is deadly quiet for many freelancers. You can either twiddle your thumbs and worry that you will never land a commission again or you can take advantage of the freelance life and go on holiday for a month.

For more news for freelancers, bookmark the freelance news section of

  • The freelance database on contains hundreds of members from all over the world. A listing includes an individual page on the site where you can post links to your work, as well as a branded email address – and access to the group. You will also be able to purchase discounted training courses run by Sign up as a freelancer here.
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#Tip of the day from – advice on freelancing in TV

The BBC College of Production produced a useful podcast earlier this month which looked at working in freelance in the television industry, asking how to find work, the “insecurity” of looking for the next job and also how to “balance the books”.

The podcast features interviews with freelance TV producer Barney Newman, freelance production manager Jude Winstanley and David Thomas, who owns a business which offers training in communication, broadcast and business skills.

Tipster: Rachel McAthy

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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Similar posts:, a new portfolio platform for freelance journalists

October 24th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Freelance, Handy tools and technology

When freelance journalist Nicholas Holmes wanted to upload and share examples of his work could not find the ideal platform – so he built one., which was launched earlier this month, allows freelancers, journalists and trainees to create an online portfolio with a simple, clean and effective layout.

You get your own URL (, for example), can upload your own background image and select from a couple of different layouts. Holmes promises more customisation options will be available in the near future.

It takes just a few minutes to create a portfolio, complete with biography and links to your blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, and then you can start bringing in your cuttings by adding links or uploading PDFs.

You can see examples of journalists’ profiles at and

There is currently no index of users so although profiles are technically not private, no one will see your page unless they have the URL.

“It’s possible that in the future I will introduce a feature where I can browse other people’s profiles,” Holmes said, explaining that he would inform users before making changes.

Holmes, who is British but lives in Switzerland, is tourism editor at France-based leisure newswire AFP/Relaxnews “and a bit of a geek on the side”.

“As well as doing my day job for the newswire I am also pitching for freelance stuff,” he told

What I found is that I was always having to send different URL’s in emails. It all got a bit messy when I was trying to remember the best bits that I had done and found I had the need for a single place to put all of this stuff and wanted the ability to direct people to that single page.

There are lots of resources online where you can hook up your Twitter feed, your Facebook URL and your LinkedIn URL but there was nothing specifically designed for journalists and so I thought I’d have a bash at developing it. is now in public beta and Holmes is looking for feedback, which you can give by tweeting @cuttingsme.

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