Its not like anyone can be a freelance reporter, because, unlike a poet, a story writer or a play writer, a news journalist requires vast knowledge on the happenings that take place around them.
A freelance news reporter should have interest in all popular reporting areas including sports, politics, economy, government etc. You must also have the knack or zeal to find and investigate people, facts and incidents and develop your own stories. The basics like being able to read a lot, write, punctuate and spell, and internet research shouldn’t be difficult either.
If you have all of these qualities in you, then you should not hesitate to consider becoming a freelance news reporter. We have, in this blog provided necessary step by step information for newbies to become anindependent news journalists.
Steps to Become a Freelance News Reporter
A freelance news reporter must be business minded and should possess the ability to find work regularly. You may have to travel to other cities, countries and even across the continent to cover news. Sometimes news reporting may turn dangerous especially when covering wars and natural disasters.
Step 1: Career Requirements – a Bachelor’s Degree is Must
The basic educational qualification for freelance news reporting required is a Bachelor degree in Journalism.
Most employers prefer candidates who have a degree in Mass Communication or Journalism or any English related field. Your courseware should include subjects like reporting techniques, journalism ethics, editing, visual communication and print media.
How Can You Enhance Your Skills?
- As a student you can do an internship to gain practical experience. Internships help students to improve their skills and get ready to face the corporate world.
- You can also gather experience by working in your college or school’s magazine; become an editor or work for your friend’s company portfolio or website for free.
- Knowing English, both spoken and written, fluently is must for an English news reporting job. However, you can also learn two or more languages for gaining advantage.
- If you want to be a print news reporter, you can try writing blogs on trending news and topics and create your own job portfolio.
- Talking about portfolio, it is a collection of previous work samples that showcases your skills and experiences. A newbie in the job can create a portfolio that includes his work experience as an intern, educational qualification, workings in school newspaper or radio station or any blog or article that’s published online.
Other key skills required to become a freelance news reporter are reading and listening skills, analytical and critical thinking ability, creativity, word processing knowledge, videography and photography skills and use of social media software.
Step 2: Setting Up Your Business
If you want to venture out there as a Freelance News Reporter, you need to have a business plan which will serve as a research and planning document. When you know what you are getting into (research) and where you are getting into (planning) you will be easily able to organize and run your career effectively.
What should be a news reporter’s business plan look like? –information about marketing, services offered, job description, and financial plan. A strong business plan will help you identify existing working opportunities, discover medium to market your skills, and plan out your finances and salary expectations.
According to Careerlancer.net, news reporting today is one of the most demanding and interesting jobs, thanks to the immense opportunities the internet is introducing, unlike the yester years where TV and Newspaper were the only two options.
Step 3: Securing a Job as a Freelancer
You have to find agencies or potential buyers to whom you can sell or report stories to. You can find buyers in local, state and national news channels (Times Now, BBC etc.), magazines, regional and national newspapers; e-magazines, news websites and other organizations that provide news to public.
You have to continually market or promote yourself in such organizations or companies. In fact you can also get associated with news agencies who share news to big TV channels.
Working for them for a lower salary will help you understand how the business runs and how you can connect with big broadcasting agencies with your work.
Your job search may involve travelling to other cities, working for long hours, non-stop and at times reporting without getting any payments.
Essential Tips for Securing Job:
- Professional networking is essential in a media business like News Reporting. You have to have strong relationships within the magnum industry to find good and adequate work.Some of the easy resources through which you can build good rapport with industrial experts are online social media applications, news websites, local events, seminars, community and clubs and other related occasions.
Professional organizations such as Associations for Editors or Professional Journalism Societies could also be a great source. Members from these organizations frequently involve potential aspirants to their team and help them grow in their career.
- Hone your skills by completing professional courses and programs. Apart from your regular bachelor’s degree, you can also get yourself enrolled into certified journalism courses, programs or workshops where you can refine your reporting, writing and listening skills.These courses can be taken simultaneously to your degree program as weekend, online or distance learning classes. Not only these courses improvise your skills (even the interpersonal, communication and leadership) but they also help you to earn a bonus point in interviews.
Step 4: Earn a Master’s Degree
A graduation degree is always not enough to become a successful freelance reporter. Since the competition has seriously stretched, we need a little push up through our qualifications.
Although, a part time course or a journalism program can help you secure a good job as a freelance news reporter, you can take up a master or advanced degree in journalism, to add further experience and credentials to your portfolio or bio data.
Also, master’s programs help students to choose a specialization such a politics, business, cinema or crime, which a bachelor’s degree doesn’t provide, as it focuses more on teaching the fundamentals or the basics of the subject.
A master degree will teach you each specialisation in depth. Internships, projects and case studies are often part of the curricula of a Master’s Degree.