For some of AHCJ’s freelancers, payment issues were already a hassle before 2020. Now they may be even more difficult, depending on the publication or editor. In several writer groups online, fellow freelancers have cheered for a surge in work but also bemoaned payment hiccups. Individual situations vary, of course, but a few common threads have appeared.
To start, freelancers should know that nonpayment is unacceptable. If work has been completed, it’s illegal to withhold payment. The Freelancers Union and The Freelancer have written about this and offer options, and the Freelance Isn’t Free Act may be useful for those in New York City. Continue reading
Two top freelancers at Health Journalism 2018 – Linda Marsa and Heather Boerner – and attorney Ruth Carter offered a series of great tips to help you start thinking of your freelance work as a real business … and make it pay like one.
Marsa kicked off the session, “Unleash your inner entrepreneur,” with advice about getting a good mix of work, and getting paid for it: Continue reading
Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJ
Seeing Spike Lee’s 2006 documentary about how Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans was transformative for independent journalist Andrea King Collier.
“When I saw Spike Lee’s Katrina story, I said to myself, ‘That’s the way I want to tell stories,’” said Collier (@andreacollier) during a panel at Health Journalism 2016 on multimedia skills for freelancers.
An award-winning independent journalist and author, Collier’s work has appeared in O the Oprah Magazine, Essence, Town and Country, The Washington Post, and other publications. Continue reading
At the Health Journalism 2015 session, “Freelance: Re-slant and resell ideas to multiple markets,” panelists offered eight tips for turning a story idea into multiple articles for various publications. To do this, they said, freelancers have to learn to look at stories, notes and interviews in a different way than they may be doing.
The first tip, offered by Kate Gammon, is to shift the audience. For instance, if a writer produces an article on an emerging science being studied on lab rats for one publication, he or she may be able to follow the research through its process and use the information for a consumer publication at a more advanced stage. If you are writing for a women’s magazine, think about ways the topic might be slanted for different ages to fit into a parenting publication or one like AARP.
Second, mine your notes. You never know when you might want to go back to get more information on a topic or an idea that didn’t work in one article but might in another. The panelists recommended using Evernote and Pear Note to organize notes and search for topics or subjects. Continue reading
Pia Christensen/AHCJPeggy Peck, of MedPage Today, offers her advice on writing for trade publications during a panel moderated by Bob Finn, right, and featuring Rabiya Tuma, left, and Dan Keller.
Top editors offered great advice for journalists interested in freelancing for health trade publications during a panel at Health Journalism 2015.
Trade publications for professionals working in health and medicine provide numerous freelance opportunities for journalists, but the work – while rewarding – is different than writing for a consumer audience, panelists said.
Writing for a professional audience requires a familiarity with the lingo and an understanding of the larger context of developments in a particular field, such as oncology or health information technology. Continue reading