Michael Koretzky, a freelance content director, gave some insight Friday at Excellence In Journalism 2014 on how students should learn to freelance while still in school. Koretzky also works at financial news and education website, Debt.com, for which he is always hiring freelancers.
“Even as a starter, getting paid 25 bucks a story, you will make more money than most internships,” Koretzky said.
Here are some of his tips:
Freelancer over intern.
When hiring, Koretzky noted that on a resume, he and other editors place higher value on a student who has experience freelancing than someone who has had a high number of internships. Why? One, students who freelance know how to work with an editor. Two, they know how to make deadlines. And three, they understand how a professional working relationship operates.
When freelancing, titles such as associate editor, news editor, and managing editor are thrown out the window. The focus is more on what work you churn out than who you are. It’s all about making the deadlines, working with the editor, and earning the pay you deserve.
Do what you really know.
These days, specializing in one particular medium may put you on the backburner when competing for jobs in the media world. Those who know how to shoot, edit, and write well are placed at the top when editors or news directors are hiring.
However, the problem with knowing how to do a little bit of everything means what you actually produce can come out mediocre, pointed out Koretzky.
“I’d rather hire one good writer and someone who does video,” Koretzky said. “However, if I get someone to do both, I will work with someone for a really long time.”
Freelance for the smallest publication in your area and build relationships from there, advised Koretzky. Starting out locally allows students to use their time wisely and learn from mistakes. It also gives students a base to jump from when in search for their next opportunity.
In short, Koretzky’s stance on freelancing versus interning is: “Unless it’s for The New York Times, don’t do unpaid internships.”