COVID-19 Resources

SAJA is compiling a list of resources, tips and links to help journalists cover -- and cope -- with the COVID-19. This list will expand over time. Feel free to email suggestions for additions to president@saja.org.

Special funds for freelancers and unemployed journalists

Financial Resources

Coverage Tips 

Other

FREELANCER RESOURCES 

NOTE: The following section is one just for our freelance members, many of whom are facing a precarious situation because of COVID-19 and editorial budgets. We kindly ask our members who are staff or not in need to please skip this section so freelancers can make the most of it.

WRITING OPPORTUNITIES/JOBS

  • Sonia Weiser's weekly email - Sonia is an NYC freelancer and works exceptionally hard to put together this weekly listing of jobs and pitch calls. The newsletter also includes mastheads, financial advice, resources on pitching, and getting paid. A subscription costs $3/month or you can pay her on an annual basis.
  • Study Hall is essentially a 'service' group for freelancers. The group sends a weekly newsletter of opportunities, a digest with general media info in it, and includes access to a Slack channel (please note: this can be ‘noisy’). The membership for journalists of color runs $1/month and Patreon offers varying levels of payment and services.
  • Mediabistro and JournalismJobs will let you set up alerts, which is better than checking the damn sites all the time for me. I set up ones for all the specifications I want.
  • Contently is another site. You can set up a portfolio in their system, get added to a few copywriting teams, and be instantly paid for assignments. Cons: their clients have really specific requirements and the work is often slow to come. Pros: it's easy to set up, they pay instantly once you do get an assignment.
  • Idealist.org - Don't discount non-profits as clients! Often they need editors or writers for projects they can't handle in-house or get a grant for a specific mission and need to hire a freelancer. Just be careful in choosing the gig depending on your beat, ethics, etc.
  • @WritersofColor on Twitter (scroll through their page!) is wonderful as are our affiliate membership groups: AAJA, NAHJ, NABJ, and others.
  • Word of mouth! Much of a freelancer’s work comes from former colleagues who are now at various organizations and newsrooms as well as their friends/professional contacts.

 NOTES FROM SAJA BOARD MEMBER & FREELANCER

Our Board Member Mythili Sampathkumar is also a freelancer and available via Twitter if you are looking for any particular advice regarding finances, pitching, or administrative things all freelancers end up having to do. If she doesn’t know, she is happy to point you in the right direction! Here are some notes from her: 

  • Don't take rejection personally. It's going to happen often.

  • Living solely off bylines is difficult. Be realistic but not nihilistic. Have a backup plan - social media, copyediting, editing, coding, admin gigs, literally anything and keep working on what you really want. Obviously bar, restaurant, retail, and temp agency opportunities are out during the pandemic, but reach out and I can help brainstorm some ideas.

  • If/when you get a rejection email from an editor, have another story ready to pitch them ASAP! You're on their radar and know they are in their inbox - keep them there. Even if you get rejected again, at least they know you have a stream of ideas. This is one of those keys to building a relationship with editors which always makes freelancing easier down the line. This is key if you are going to simultaneously pitch a story to multiple outlets.

  • Remember Twitter followers DO NOT equal income or ability.

  • Comparison is the thief of joy. You do what you need to do. Journalism is not easy and imposter syndrome is toxic.


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