✨Freelance Reporting Resources✨
Taylor Moore / @taylormooresays / taylorgmoore.co / email@example.com
- Study Hall: Community of 3,500+ freelance journalists; membership comes with access to listserv, Slack, weekly newsletters with media news and pitch calls
- Freelance Solidarity Project: A division of the National Writers Union aimed at pushing for better working conditions for freelancers
- IWW Freelance Journalist Union: Associated with Industrial Workers of the World, this union advocates for better labor standards for freelance journalists, bloggers, and writers
- Opportunities of the Week Newsletter: Weekly email from writer Sonia Weiser with curated pitch calls, $3 per month on Patreon
- Writers of Color Twitter: Jobs and pitch calls geared toward writers of color (if someone is asking for POC voices and you’re white…think twice about emailing)
- Journalists of Color: Slack channel for journalists of color
- GLAAD Media Reference Guide: How you should and shouldn’t be covering LGBTQ+ people and issues, including HIV/AIDS and conversion therapy
- Diversity Style Guide: How to cover 700+ topics with both accuracy and sensitivity
- Why Should I Tell You? A Guide to Less Extractive Reporting: Advice on how to cover vulnerable communities, and why they don’t owe you their stories
- Global Investigative Journalism Network: Resources on the reporting process and reporting on different beats
- Investigative Reporters and Editors resource center: Includes 5,000 guides and presentations — seems you have to be an IRE member to access
- Bellingcat’s Online Investigation Toolkit: Huge list of online tools for reporting
- Media news: Mediagazer, Nieman Journalism Lab, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review
- Blogs & Newsletters: Tatiana Walk-Morris’s The Freelance Beat blog, Jenny G. Zhang’s Annotations newsletter, Ines Bellina’s Cranky Guide to Writing newsletter, Delia Cai’s Deez Links newsletter
- Podcasts: The Writers Co-op, Longform, The View from Somewhere, On the Media
- Books: The View from Somewhere by Lewis Raven Wallace, Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum, Street Journalist by Lisa Loving
- Writing and journalism courses: Catapult, Sackett Street Writers, CRIT, StoryStudio Chicago, Poynter
Contracts & Money 🤑
- Adding to this, you can also negotiate for a kill fee (what you’ll be paid if the story doesn’t publish, for whatever reason) or for a higher kill fee. 50% is considered industry standard, but if you want to shoot for 100%, go for it.
- Pitching advice from writers:
- The Open Notebook Pitch Database: Crowdsourced database of science pitches that have worked
- Pitches That Worked: Database of successful pitches created in May 2020
- Trade Publications by Industry: Compilation by WebWire
- Freedom with Writing: Newsletter that goes out a few times a week with open calls for pitches and lit journal submissions (also tells you if an opportunity is $$$ or not)
- Dream of Travel Writing: Dream of travel writing?
- 72 Places to Find Solutions Story Ideas
- Pitch guides from publications: Artsy, Atlas Obscura (and Gastro Obscura), Belt magazine, Bitch magazine, The Baffler, BuzzFeed Reader, Chicago Reader, Civil Eats, The Correspondent, DAME magazine, Eater, The Forge (Medium), Grist, Hyperallergic, JSTOR Daily, Literary Hub, Longreads (essays), Mother Jones, Narratively (Lily Dancyger’s advice), The Nation, Next City, NPR, NPR Goats and Soda, NYT Styles, Politico magazine, Polygon, Scientific American, SELF, Slate, Southwest Magazine, Thrillist, Truthout, The Verge, VICE Life, WIRED
- Help a Reporter Out: Request expert sources via newsletter sent multiple times a day; must have an outlet lined up to post
- Some universities offer portals of all faculty and experts by specialty (e.g., University of Illinois at Chicago)
- Science: Diverse Sources (science, health and environment), Request a Woman in STEM, SciLine (request scientist sources)
- Women: Women’s Media Center SheSource, Women in Tech Policy
- POC: People of Color Also Know Stuff, AAPI experts (AAJA)
- People with Disabilities: National Center on Disability and Journalism (list of disability organizations), Disabled Writers
- Expertise Finder (academia and think tanks)
- Expertfile (database of more than 25,000 experts)
- Global Experts (database of academics, analysts, former officials, faith leaders, civil society activists, private sector/business and media experts around the world)
- NPR Source of the Week
- Muckrack, Contently, Journo Portfolio: Portfolio sites that can archive your work automatically or by uploading links; no design skills required
- Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix, Google Sites, Weebly, Neutral Spaces, Authory: Customize your own portfolio site
- Wordpress, Tumblr, Medium: Make your own blog
- Evernote, OneNote, Scrivener: Organize your drafts, manuscripts, and notes
- Asana, Trello: Project management tools that some people like to use for keeping record of story ideas, pitches, etc.
- Wave: Free software for invoicing, expense tracking, and accounting. I don’t use this, but others really like it
- Freshbooks invoice templates: Free downloadable documents in Word, Excel, PDF, Google Doc, and Google Sheets formats
- PrintFriendly chrome extension: Save your stories as PDFs or images so that your clips don’t disappear if a site shuts down
- Study Hall transcriptionist database: Journalists who will transcribe your audio accurately for fair pay (looking at you, Rev)
- Otter: AI transcription service that lets you transcribe up to 600 minutes of audio per month for free
- Temi: AI transcription service, more accurate than Otter in my experience, costs $0.25 per minute
- oTranscribe: Secure, offline platform that lets you play back audio and type your own transcript in one window
- Feedly: Aggregates news by topic so you don’t have to get your news from Twitter, spiritual successor to Google Reader
- Pocket: Save articles for future reading (also allows you to bypass some paywalls…)
- Twlets: Chrome plugin that lets you export a Twitter account’s tweets, followers, people followed, likes, etc.
- DocHub: Fill out and sign forms (e.g., contracts, W-9s) without dealing with a scanner or Adobe Acrobat
- Pomodoro: Timer that makes you work in 25-minute increments
- Ommwrites: Minimalist word processing software that blocks distractions (minimum price is ~$6)
- Signal: Encrypted messaging app
- Protonmail: Encrypted email service
- Best VPN for journalists (VPN Guru)
- LastPass: Password manager, can generate long complicated passwords
- Recorders I have: Sony digital recorder (built-in USB drive, 57 hours of battery life, audio playback options), telephone pick-up microphone (plug headphone jack into recorder mic input, put earpiece in your ear, records both sides of the phone conversation)
How I Work 👩🏽💻
- I track every pitch I send, every story that’s published, and every invoice that’s sent. Here’s a Google Sheets template of what this looks like. Feel free to copy and make your own.
- I also save every published story as a bookmark in Chrome, save as a PDF with the PrintFriendly chrome extension, and save the link to the document mentioned above
- Like other freelancers in Study Hall, I have tweeted about the rates I was paid and how much I made freelancing in 2019 and 2020. My offer is still open: if you are a freelancer (especially if you’re a woman, POC, and/or LGTBQ+), please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter if you want to know what I was paid for a story or my experience with a publication.
My Pitches That Have Worked 🤷🏽♀️
ZORA MAGAZINE - AUTHOR PROFILE
[I introduced myself because I had not worked with this editor before.]
My name is Taylor Moore, and I'm an Asian-American journalist based in Chicago. I've written for Literary Hub, Electric Literature, Chicago Review of Books, and other outlets. I saw your call for 2020 pitches and wanted to throw my hat in the ring.
For Zora, I'd love to feature Cathy Park Hong, who is coming out with Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning on 2/25. In this essay collection, the New Republic poetry editor dissects her Korean-American upbringing, the "vague purgatorial" place that Asian-Americans occupy in U.S. cultural consciousness, and how our experiences become flattened in service of politically driven model minority narratives.
I think that this would interest Zora readers because it reflects a moment (one of many to come, I predict) of Asian-American radicalization. There is deep economic and social stratification amongst the many communities and cultures that make up the group, and the gatekeepers of publishing and film are finally starting to see the value of our disaggregated narratives. Not only that, but I also think there is an emerging realization that our continued existence is tied up with advocating for (and with) other communities of color, rather than the American dream of assimilation into whiteness.
In terms of format, I could write this in longform, similar to this interview with Carmen Maria Machado, or as a Q&A. Let me know what you think would work best.
Here are some examples of other work I've done: [XYZ]
Thanks! I look forward to hearing back.
SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY - FEATURE
[I already knew this editor and this was part of an existing email chain, so my pitch is less formal. This is also for a local publication, so I did not explain what these neighborhoods are like and what these organizations do.]
I'm interested in writing about how COVID-19 is exacerbating existing issues of air pollution on the South Side. Pollution breaks down your immune system, making you more susceptible to the virus, and existing breathing issues make it even more deadly. There's also the fact that neighborhoods like Little Village, McKinley Park, and Deering are low-income communities where work-from-home jobs are scarce.
I'd like to interview environmental justice organizers from Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Southeast Environmental Task Force, and Neighbors for Environmental Justice (McKinley Park) to see how they're engaging with coronavirus-related education, mutual aid, and activism, as well as talk to a physician about the effects of COVID-19 on an immuno-compromised community.
Anything I Should Add?
My name is Taylor Moore, and I’m a journalist in Chicago. I write about cities, arts and culture, development, and politics for publications like The Guardian, VICE, CityLab, Jacobin, Chicago magazine, and the Chicago Reader. I’m secretary-treasurer of AAJA Chicago. If you found this document helpful, please consider donating a few dollars or subscribing to your local news outlets, especially indie media. In Chicago, I love South Side Weekly, the Chicago Reader, and City Bureau.