Author Archives: Carolyn Crist

Carolyn Crist

About Carolyn Crist

Carolyn Crist (@cristcarolyn) helps AHCJ’s freelance members find the resources, tips and contacts they need to create and run a successful business. A freelance journalist and author, Crist covers health, medicine and science stories for national news outlets such as Reuters, Runner’s World and Parade. She also writes for trade and custom publications. Contact her at

Should freelancers pitch right now? Yes, and here’s what to do

Photo: Dan Simpson via Flickr

In numerous groups, forums and discussion lists, freelance journalists are asking three big questions: Do I pitch right now? Can I pitch COVID-19 stories? Can I pitch non-coronavirus-related stories?

The answer to all three: Yes! A resounding “yes, absolutely.”

Some freelancers have reported a decline in work, and others seem booked around-the-clock. Those who have lined up work are reporting similar trends: Continue reading

Another AB 5 lawsuit update: Motion denied but groups consider appeal

Photo courtesy of David Lena and GSALA Federal Courthouse expressing civic architecture by way of association with City Hall and similar patriotic symbols incorporated into the building.

After a Los Angeles District Court judge declined to halt the current limits on freelance journalists and photographers in California, the two national organizations that filed the lawsuit are thinking about the next move — possibly an appeal to the 9th Circuit.

On March 20, Judge Philip Gutierrez denied a motion for preliminary injunction on California Assembly Bill 5, which restricts journalists to 35 submissions per publication per year as freelancers. Gutierrez also dismissed the lawsuit entirely. The two rulings came as a surprise on Friday since the next step in the case was scheduled to take place on March 23. Continue reading

AB 5 lawsuit moves forward in California court

california-flag-on-the-round-button-isolated-on-white_fyCzJLi_A lawsuit against California’s new independent contractor legislation took a step forward on March 11. U.S. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez heard comments from both sides, and the next hearing is scheduled for March 23. That date could move based on COVID-19 updates.

Ultimately, the judge didn’t rule on the motion for preliminary injunction to halt Assembly Bill 5, and he didn’t indicate when that might happen. The next hearing at the end of March will focus on the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Continue reading

AHCJ freelancers contribute to new book on science writing

Several AHCJ members are part of a new book, “The Craft of Science Writing,” which was published at the beginning of February. The 300-pager, available for $10 as an ebook and $25 as a paperback, is a collection of articles from The Open Notebook, which covers the stories behind science writing.

Among the more than 35 contributors, AHCJ members include Christie Aschwanden, Jeanne Erdmann and Kendall Powell. You’ll also recognize The Open Notebook editor Siri Carpenter, Washington Post health editor Laura Helmuth, New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer, and many more. Continue reading

Freelancers start national group to oppose independent contractor legislation

Karon Warren

Karon Warren

Spurred to action after the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act passed the House on Feb. 6, a group of freelance writers created a website, Twitter and Facebook group for Fight for Freelancers USA — and they want every type of independent contractor to join the fight.

“Anybody who gets a 1099 should be in the group,” said Karon Warren, a 20-year freelance writer based in Georgia who co-founded the group. Warren and fellow members of the American Society of Journalists and Authors created the group to mirror the Fight for Freelancers NJ and Fight for Freelancers NY groups. Continue reading

AHCJ freelancer dishes on her $135K year in new ebook

Jen Miller

Jen Miller

AHCJ member and freelance journalist Jen Miller earned $135,000 from her writing in 2019 and, after posting about it on social media and receiving a positive response, she decided to create a white paper to explain the details to others.

The 30-pager has a solid 11 chapters, including a By-the-Numbers guide to her income and examples (with templates) of how she landed four clients — a mainstream consumer publication (ahem, the New York Times), two B2B publishers, and a health care organization. She includes a “lessons learned” section at the end of each case study, too, to help others replicate her work. Continue reading