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How Freelancers Can Break Into Community Journalism

For journalists just starting their careers and breaking into freelance work, national magazines and newspapers are the usual avenues for which to concentrate pitches. However, an often-overlooked market is right under their noses. Covering local news and events for websites and publications might just be the ticket to landing steady work. In Mediabistro’s latest Journalism Advice column, editors offer tips for entering the field of community journalism.

One tip is to ask for advice from your freelancer network. Writers should speak with successful colleagues in their areas to get the scoop on where to find writing opportunities. Beth Winegarner, a writer for the Poynter Institute, said tapping your fellow freelancers is invaluable:

Knowing who’s writing, and who they’re writing for, gives you a good sense of which publications are open to taking freelance work.

It’s also important to pitch frequently because local news sites can always use extra content. As Lance Knobel, founder of community news site Berkeleyside, said:

We use freelancers reasonably regularly so that we can expand our coverage beyond what the four journalists on our staff do. Most of the work we use from freelancers is commissioned by us. The freelancers we use regularly do pitch stories, which we welcome.

For more tips on how to begin writing for hyperlocal news pubs, read: 6 Way to Break Into Community Journalism.

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