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How Tos

Woman’s Day Pays up to $2 a Word for Straightforward, Feel-good Writing

womans-day-january-2014Woman’s Day knows that its readers (women ages 30 to 90) are incredibly busy, and they crave easily digestible advice on everything from cooking and home decor to health and money matters.

The editors are looking for writers with a straightforward tone and the ability to do their research before sending a pitch — reading back issues of the mag (at least the past 12 months) is invaluable. Knowing which section to pitch and what type of reader to cater to is also key:

A writer’s best entryway onto the pages of the mag is a front-of-book section called “Embrace the Day,” focused on community and giving to others. It’s a special place in the hearts of Woman’s Day readers. “We did a story six months ago about a woman who makes cakes for children with cancer. Another editor and I discussed it and she said, ‘do you want to put a call-out for people to give?’ The woman didn’t have a 501(c)(3), so I didn’t feel comfortable soliciting donations on her behalf. But it didn’t matter,” [executive editor Annemarie Conte] shares. “Our readers found her. One even wrote in and taped a $100 bill to her letter. Our readers are incredibly giving and want to find deserving places to give.”

To hear more about how to get published in this mag, including what not to pitch, read: How To Pitch: Woman’s Day.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Get a Publication to Pay You Without Going to Small Claims Court

chess-knightsThis week we wrote about how journalists should be paid in the digital environment. Journalists being paid is a hot issue, especially since a lot of times, we’re asked to write for free or for exposure. That, too, is a loaded issue — sometimes it might be worth it, or it never, ever is.

And sometimes, we agree to do work for payment and never receive it. This is a classic freelancer dilemma and while most of you are, hopefully, sitting in newsrooms with a salary and benefits package and paid sick days, you never know when the shoe is going to drop and you need to pick up some work. Or, as is common in the digital environment, your contract allows you to write other sites every now and again, as long as you’re not competing with yourself.

Recently, I made a rookie mistake by taking on work for a start-up magazine. The work kept coming and the pay was in line with my experience and time. I won’t disclose the name of the publication (just to say it wasn’t this one), since the affair is — almost — concluded. But I did learn some lessons. Not about how to prevent this from happening again — there were contracts and tax information and all the legalese you can dream up.

So, short of a lawyer, who wouldn’t have been worth the sort-of small change I was owed,  and one step away from small claims court, here’s how I won my war.

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WATCH: Five Things I Didn’t Learn In J-School

Something they don’t always teach in college is that learning doesn’t really happen until you’re out of school. But by that time it’s called working on your craft. And you get paid for it.

Stephanie Tsoflias, New York market TV reporter and Mediabistro instructor gives her list of the top five things she didn’t learn in journalism school.

If you like what you hear, click on this link to sign up for Tsoflias’ “TV News reporting” class or go to mediabistro.com/courses to search for something else you may want to learn.

How to Handle Haters: Journalist Edition

We’ve all had to deal with them: I call ‘em haters.

Journalists indubitably have to face the (oftentimes) unjust and inaccurate criticisms of those who don’t like what we have reported and written. With the Web, our work is constantly under scrutiny, and anyone has the opportunity to comment on the story’s content, the reporter, and the reporter’s mother.

The “haters” vary — be it municipal public information officers, school board members, politicians or just a publication subscriber, if you haven’t ticked someone off enough to receive a nasty letter or angry phone call the morning of publication, (despite your unbiased, factual and carefully edited reporting, of course), you’re probably not doing it right.

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How to Get The Most Out of Your Expert Interview

Whether you’re new to the journalism trade or just introverted, interviewing can be a daunting task – especially when you’re on deadline. In the latest Mediabistro feature, veteran writers give tips on how you can get the most out of your interviews, and what tools to use in the process. Though we have all sorts of technology to help us nowadays with recording and transcribing, there are some skills that will always be necessary in the art of interviewing:

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If your expert uses an unfamiliar term or draws an analogy that doesn’t make sense, ask her to expound. If you don’t understand something your expert says, your readership may not, either — and your job as a writer is often to boil down complicated or abstract ideas into practical information.

Freelance writer Rachel Heston-Davis admits she learned this after trial and error. She emphasizes the importance of asking an expert to reiterate because “you will not be able to figure something out from context later.” She adds that having misinformation in your article, or a lack of information, reflects poorly on both you as a writer and your interviewed expert. Getting clarification in an interview “really is better than the [expert] looking at your article and feeling like you didn’t understand what you’re writing about.”

For more on interviewing skills and tools, read Get the Most Out of Your Interview With an Expert.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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