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On Your Own: A Guide to Freelance Journalism

Table of Contents

> Home

> Introduction: The freelance side of life

Freelance journalism 101

> Vocabulary lesson

> Dollars and sense

> Contracts are essential

> Copyright 101

> Dressing for success as a freelancer

> Staying productive even when you’re not working

Business matters

> Five reasons to pay attention to business

> Contracts and copyright — beyond the basics

> Getting your business organized

> Separating yourself from your business

> Keeping track of business

> Taxing matters

> Insurance considerations for freelance journalists

Making a living

> Time and money

> Budgeting without a salary

> A simple way to boost your pay: Ask

> Retirement planning: Where to stash your cash?

Finding work

> Finding your way to work

> Trolling the web for work

> Inspiration for finding the story

> Brainstorming ideas you can sell

> Pitching your way to a full story calendar

> Tips on freelancing for newspapers

Marketing yourself

> Paying attention to business

> Making a home for your business on the web

> Networking: the key to staying happy and fed

> Business cards help make the best first impression

Tools of the trade

> Why journalism ethics matter

> Four tips for better self-editing

> Selected websites for finding freelance journalism assignments

> Journalism organizations

> Journalism reading list

Welcome to the online version of the SPJ Freelance Community’s guide to freelancing, On Your Own: A Guide to Freelance Journalism. This new guide derives from the previous, download-only (PDF) version that made its debut at Excellence in Journalism 2012.

Moving the freelance guide to the web (HTML) format allows us to update and augment it frequently. We plan to add other chapters and sections, including more contents from the previous guide, as soon as we can get them into the new format. Future plans also include a PDF download of the contents, formatted for printing.

Presenting the guide in this format also allows us to repost the current contents whenever we determine that additions or corrections are needed. If you see content that needs improvement, please let us know by posting questions and comments on the community’s Message Board.

We consider this freelance guide to be a living document, one we can adapt to changing norms in journalism (in general) and freelancing. We welcome suggestions and contributions from the Freelance Community. Feel free to send them to us at fcguide@spj.org.

Copyright © 2012-2018 by Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved.

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