Category Archives: Freelancing

Why freelancers should attend Health Journalism 2023

Photo by Paola RodriguezEditors attentively listen to freelancers pitch their ideas.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the new time and date for PitchFest signups.

Come to Health Journalism 2023 in St. Louis to network with fellow freelancers, generate more story ideas than you can handle, pitch a range of top-notch editors and learn about the latest developments in health from more than 50 expert panels. The deadline for registering for the conference is February 17, 2023. We hope to see the largest contingent of freelancers ever. And don’t forget to apply for one of the many fellowships available to help defray the costs of attending. 

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Freelancers: AHCJ’s 36 market guides can help you craft your pitches

Photo by George Milton via pexels.

It’s that time again when I provide a snapshot of the latest market guides that have been added to The Freelance Center. There are three new ones: Philadelphia magazine, Nature and Men’s Health.

Each guide always includes an interview with at least one editor and usually their direct emails, which can sometimes be challenging to find on a publication’s website. Even when the publication wants writers to submit pitches through a web-based form, I recommend sending the editor a heads up and quick introduction.

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Tips for finding great interview subjects on social media 

Photo by Pixabay

Editors often want people with lived experience in stories. The question is, where to find them? I spoke with four freelance reporters about their experience using social media to find “real” people to interview. You can find their advice in this tip sheet under the Pitching, Reporting & Writing tab on the Freelance Center. Here is a preview of what they had to say.

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When to quote survey results: How to judge quality and recognize red flags

Courtney Kennedy (Photo courtesy of the Pew Research Center)

Journalists often include survey results in a story to offer a sense of public opinion. But not all surveys are created equal, and some should be avoided at all costs. 

In a recent phone interview, Courtney Kennedy, vice president of survey research and innovation at the Pew Research Center, a “nonpartisan fact tank,” shared advice with me on how to judge survey quality. 

A longer version of our conversation, which was edited for length and clarity, can be found at The Freelance Center. 

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How to avoid onerous freelance contracts

Photo by via pexels.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that contracts I have been asked to sign have gotten longer and more complex. I have often been asked to take on all the legal responsibility if someone should sue over an article. 

And most contracts now demand that the article is a work for hire, which means if I were lucky enough to have an agent approach me about writing a book or a script or hosting a podcast based on the story, I would be out of luck; the publication would own all future rights. I have tried negotiating my way out of onerous contract clauses, but I haven’t always succeeded. In those cases, I hold my nose and sign, or I try to take the idea elsewhere.

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