The Pros and Cons of Freelancing

As you relentlessly click through the many internship postings on Ed2010, you might also explore the freelance opportunities Ed so kindly lists for us aspiring magazine editors. In comparison to internships, freelancing can sound pretty foreign; however, after we’ve given you the 411, it may very well take hold of your resume. Here are the pros and cons of freelancing:

DIY Schedule: By taking on anywhere between one to a handful of freelance opportunities, a journalist is able to be their own boss. With freelancing, journalists have the choice of focusing on a single job or juggling multiple assignments at a time. And, unlike the majority of major city-based internships, freelancing is, more often than not, a remote position. Additionally, freelancing doesn’t require concrete office hours. A journalist can work in pajamas at the crack of dawn or in a cozy café late at night.

Write about what you want: Because a freelance journalist isn’t committed to a single publication, it becomes easier to avoid assignments that prompt yawns and limit creativity. Journalists are able to pick and choose freelance opportunities that sound most appealing to them. Good riddance boring beats.

Racking up skills: Just like internship and employment history, when it comes to resumes and portfolios, the more the merrier. A journalist’s resume is decorated with new, shiny skills and a vast variety of clips are added to a portfolio by either venturing from one freelance opportunity to another or multitasking freelance work. Employers will be impressed with a journalist’s ability to adjust to different audiences through style modifications and tone alterations.

Self-management and motivation: It’s easy to become discouraged with whispers of “Journalism is dead” and “Don’t you think it would be smart to double major in something beside journalism, like, oh, I don’t know, business?” filling our ears. This lack of motivation is usually refueled by an intriguing speaker series in EP220 or some encouraging feedback on your latest JOUR-J342 assignment. After stepping into the freelance sphere, motivation is difficult to find anywhere other than within ourselves. Self-management can get stressful and self-motivation can become exhausting, so it’s important to only take on as much work as your schedule and determination will realistically allow.

Filling in holes: Although freelancing gives journalists quite a bit more breathing room than internships when it comes to reporting on personally interesting topics, the workload consistency can be lacking. While an office-based journalist is given consistent assignments, a freelance journalist is responsible for filling in holes in between assignments. Usually, these types of fillers include take-what-you-can-get opportunities rather than those that are personally appealing.

Drawbacks to getting paid: As you scroll down the list of freelance opportunities on Ed2010, you’ll probably hear a subconscious soundtrack of cha-chings, as many freelance positions are paid. Payment is a major benefit in an up-and-coming journalist’s world; however, a lack of benefits and security may dim that smile just a bit. This mostly applies to those who are looking into freelance as a career rather than a way to stay busy over the summer. If you’re considering making a career out of freelance journalism, you may also consider the contracts that don’t usually offer benefits or employment-security to freelancers.

Overall, freelance journalism is a personal preference that journalists have to discover for themselves. Ultimately, no one can tell you what you like. It’s up to you to figure that out for yourselves, Hoosiers, and what better time to begin exploring these options than now?

Kelsey Roadruck