Posts Tagged ‘freelance writers’

No Need To Join The Circus. Just Become A Freelance Journalist To Work For Peanuts.

The other day I got an email from Yotify. The service aggregates and serves up practically any search results you want from multiple sites all over the Web.

Want a camera cheap? Yotify will search out best deals for you on Craigslist, and more. Looking for a job, it does the same thing.

So, the email that popped into my box yesterday was a writing job report. Yotify had found three potential gigs on Craigslist and sent me an alert and a link. Best thing was, I thought one of the projects could have been a real money-maker. Was I ever wrong.

The heading was right up my alley:

“Freelance Writers for News Content”

The description made me shake my fist at the sky and curse anyone who ever gives away their writing:

Skyword is looking for professional grade writers to share their own perspective on the facts of current news-related topics. Topics include: General News, Politics, Sports and Technology.

About this position:

• Choose your own writing topic based on the latest news trends that you are passionate about

• Write from anywhere, submit your articles through our online state-of-the-art publishing tools

• You’ll learn best practices for writing news content and getting picked up in the major search engines.

• At Skyword, you won’t be treated like a number. Team members are readily available to assist you with any questions you may have

• Build your online writing portfolio, reaching thousands of new readers daily

• Earn up to $13 an article, plus bonuses

• No maximum work quota keeps your earning potential uncapped

•  Receive payment twice a month

Fantastic! Up to $13 an article, plus bonuses? How could I go wrong? That’s what I got into freelancing for…to make the big dollars. Vacation home, here I come. New car, sure – buy it with cash. Lavish parties? Yup, call me and I’ll get you on the list.

I mean at $13 per article….PLUS BONUSES….snack packs and microwavable Chicken Tikka Masala were soon to be memories. I’d buy cashmere sweaters for my cat and hire people to do things for me. Like one guy to learn the banjo for me and another to work out. I’d also call the town to see if they would actually change the name of my road to Easy Street.

I digress. And let me stop before I fall off my sarcasm soapbox and hurt myself. Are you kidding me? We both know there ARE writers who will take this job. We know that there is a draw to seeing your work in print and seeing your name in a publication. But it’s our job as professional journalists to educate our colleagues and provide mentoring to those coming into the business that they hurt everyone who sells words when they take jobs like this.

People (myself included) got into freelancing because they wanted the upside of unmentionable riches and the leeway to write whenever they chose. This isn’t the path. Stay away from the word mills and the blog-for-pennies projects. If you have the acumen to understand what the word acumen means, you have more than enough skill to demand ten times that “$13 per article plus bonuses.”

Now go do just that and stay away from the jobs that demean our training, our profession and insult our pride.




Jeff Cutler has been freelancing for 21 years for outlets that include CBS, NPR, The Boston Globe, NY Post, Technology Review and more. He’s the social media trainer for the Society of Professional Journalists and runs a content marketing company – Novel Ideas – where he is able to exchange blog posts for significantly more than $13 each. He thinks you should do the same. Jeff can be reached via any of the contact information at




Resumes & Testimonials in the Digital Age

Contributed by freelance writer Bruce Shutan

Is it necessary to even have a resume in today’s digital age when virtually anyone can stake out a spot in cyberspace and pen an unlimited narrative about their career, skills or accomplishments without worrying about confining the highlights to a single page?

Of course, it depends on each person’s situation. But for the most part, I believe that it’s much more effective for freelance writers with at least some sort of a track record and online presence to spring for their own Web site that features a bio, as well as a client list and writing samples if they’re far enough along in their career. Finishing touches should include a photo and contact information.

One element that I would avoid like the plague involves testimonials from editors or colleagues, which I think are unnecessary and even could be construed as presumptuous, sycophantic or arrogant unless someone is just starting out and could use a jump start. Why not simply let one’s work speak for itself?

For those of us who have a full-time gig with a newspaper, magazine, Web site, TV or radio station and want to test the waters of freelance writing there has to be some sort of starting point. A LinkedIn profile with bulleted points is probably the best sort of compromise for entry-level freelance scribes whose career is an empty canvas. If there’s enough material that can be strung together in complete sentences, then I think it’s a cleaner and more professional presentation. That’s just my humble opinion. Some folks may beg to differ.

Moira Allen, editor of, has suggested that freelancers whose job history may bear little resemblance to their writing ability draft a “skills” resume rather than a traditional one that lists work experience in chronological order. The focus would be on skills and qualifications that are relevant to the job these individuals are seeking, with the information listed in a separate section as opposed to a work history subset.

I think that freelance writers who have written for a few media outlets and have a handful of clips, even if they’re not archived online or available to the public, must invest in their own Web site, which can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. There’s no excuse not to in this highly competitive business climate. And as the Internet becomes increasingly sophisticated, I believe that the traditional resume, with its cringe-worthy description of one’s job objective, eventually will go the way of the dinosaur.

Bruce Shutan is a Los Angeles freelance writer who has written for about 75 publications or corporate entities. His extensive reporting on the American workplace dates back to 1985, with a showbiz sideline developed in 2000 when he began contributing to Variety, a must-read for entertainment industry insiders for more than a century. He can be reached at


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