Weather the Economic Storm: Freelance

With graduation months away, I’ve spent long hours researching online on what to do during economic hard times. I turned up something rather special on accident.

Writing as a profession has always been an uphill struggle. There are tricks of the trade such as tone, audience and credibility that must be mastered. But recessions always makes job-searching difficult. To put simply – there are less to find.

What a friend of mine called the “lack of a new business plan” for today’s media is what is hurting journalist institutions the most. The individual journalist can still find material, research and write – but where to publish and how to make money is now the $1 million question. Print isn’t what it used to be and online media isn’t the perfect answer quite yet.

But without meaning to, I received some fantastic advice from journalism veteran Barbara Iverson while posting on the We Media Community journalism message board:

First and foremost, it is critical to keep doing what you love. You are going to have to kludge together freelance work and whatever you can get until the economy looks up a bit. Don’t just sit. If you don’t have a paid reporting gig, assign yourself a story to cover, and cover it for a community paper, for a blog, for Huffington Post, etc. etc. Make sure you can write, take photos, edit and upload them quickly, shoot short videos, record audio and make podcasts. When you can’t get paid, do it to please yourself. Practice makes perfect.”

Practice makes perfect. To read all of Barbara’s reply, go here.

Barbara also related today’s economic hardship with a similar situation in the 70s. In many ways, the journalists that are graduating now are in the same boat that previous generations were stranded in before.

Times may be hard, but some things just don’t change: it’s time to freelance, freelance, freelance.


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