I see there are a few freelance journalists on this board so I thought I might bend your ear about submitting articles. Im specifically interested in Travel Journalism ( I know, v.hard to get into but Im giving it a shot ). Anyway Ive a bank of around 30 articles from a student newspaper which is a good start so when I get my exams over Im thinking of pitching to the Travel Eds of the II and IT.
Ive just a few questions;-
1) Is it disingenuous to try to sell an article that has already been published in a student paper? Obviously I'd tell them this but would the fact that it has previously published tend to turn them off?
2)How exactly is a pitch done?Like should I write an article and send it to them or do you write to them telling them about your idea for an article and see if they are interested? Do the nationals supply style guidelines on request or is it up to the writer to try and tailor it to the paper?
Finally can anyone suggest other outlets that may accept freelance travel articles?
Although I'm around about in the same boat as you, here's my limited experience anyway...
It would depend on the editor you're pitching to. I'd guess that they would be more concerned about articles which have already been published by rivals -- on that, never pitch to two editors at the same time.
I've been told by many people that at first when you're developing a relationship with an editor include the article.
Good question, but not one I know that answer to. However, it is recommended that you continually read the publication/s you want to freelance for.
The Dubliner talks about pitching in general and on matters of style extensively on their website, as far as I know they are the only Irish publication to do so...
Irish Examiner. And have a look at the newspapers and magazine shelves in newsagents - maybe even UK publications???
My two cents:
Try to find out about the editor you're pitching to, make sure you have right person. Phone first then follow up with an email. Include copy afterwards. Agree a fee in advance. I'd say it's ok to use articles that have been in student magazines but in my reading of them quality isn't nearly good enough. but do tell them that it has already been published. have an idea on how best to illustrate it too, know if the national tourism body has photos on their webpage that can be freely downloaded and would make a good accompaniment to your piece.
Thanks Monument and JDivison for the replies. I must check out the Examiner, its a paper I never tend to buy. Do you know do they have a Travel Section, if so what day does it come out? As for UK publications, certainly I will pitch there too but it would be even nicer to be able to pitch to them showing Ive been published in Ireland first.
I know what you're saying regarding the quality of student articles, some aren't great for sure. The ones I'll be pitching will be re-written to suit their market so hopefully that will help....
It seems from everyone that I talk to that freelancing is a fairly tricky game to make a living from but hopefully with some hard graft and a ton of knock-backs I'll make it
Given the day that's in it, I somehow forgot about the Sunday papers... just looking at the Sunday Business Post's weekly Agenda magizine reminded me there. Anyway, good luck with it!
Why don't you buy the paper and find out? If you're going to be pitching then you need to know these things yourself.
For sure, will do. I had a look on their website, seems all the travel articles are written by the same ( presumably ) staff writer. He must be gagging for some competition
About a year ago I covered a conference, wrote up an article about it, then made the mistake of cc-ing it to about 20 editors nationwide. Would have been better off sourcing a sawn-off shotgun, taking aim at both my feet and firing. In other words, it didn't get published anywhere, and I didn't even get any rejection emails either - although in fairness I wouldn't always necessarily expect a rejection letter - news editors are incredibly busy and receive a huge amount of press releases/subscriptions/emails each day. If you want feedback on why it didn't get published always follow up with a phonecall.
I could probably give you plenty of other tips on how not to get published.
It didn't help that when I applied for work experience with a newspaper that I did have work published in, for some reason in my rush I scribbled the wrong surname on the envelope addressed to the editor. I was just too embarrassed to follow that one up.
Best of luck RATM, there seems to be some very good advice so far in this thread.
Yeah Im guessing it annoys them plenty if you pitch to several at the same time. Although from the writers point of view its alot more laborious to pitch, then get rejected, pitch, get rejected and so on. From what the lads above were saying it probably takes the best part of a week to get a reject ( if it comes at all ) so pitching to 20 editors could end up taking the best part of 5-6 months, by which time the article may no longer be current or newsworthy.
In saying that though I'd imagine you'd be left completely in the soup if two or more editors decided they want to publish. You'd be in boiling oxtail and roasted crouton if you went ahead and let it happen too. I'd imagine your name would be red hot in media circles for all the wrong reasons if you pulled a stunt like that
Tell me, has anyone here ever pitched an idea to an editor, had it rejected only for it to surface in an article by one of their staff writers a few weeks later. Do that sort of stuff go on?
Not sure if you'd be the talk of media circles, but it wouldn't make you look that good.
I had a bad experience in that area myself a while ago - If I recall correctly I submitted a news story to a daily newspaper, never got a reply. Left it a day or two and when I had heard nothing back I emailed a Sunday newspaper editor with it... almost straight afterwards I got a call from the daily saying they wanted to use it, leaving me in quite a pickle.
In the end I decided that as I went to them first the daily had first dibs and it was my fault for not following up and confirming their disinterest in it, so I went back to the Sunday, apologised and explained.
Thankfully they were ok about it but it made me feel quite the fool - rightly so too.
Moral of the story - follow up a pitch before you go elsewhere with it because you never know. Never assume.
Just to add some vinegar to the story; the daily never used it in the end and as I had already pulled it back from the Sunday I could hardly go back to them with it!
Don't pitch to several papers. Pitch to one, ask if they want exclusivity on it and then ask for a premium of about 20 per cent. If they say shag off fair enough.
And there are some who'll nick your idea but that's a risk I suppose you have to take...
Those seem like really good guides, as are the other links they point to. A lot of it is common sense, but it is no harm to have it spelled out like that.