Just came from moderating a fun #CWA2012 panel on Alternative Jobs in Journalism. Here are some tips and links.
Maggie Koerth-Baker, a freelancer, BoingBoing.net science editor and book author, suggests hiring a lawyer and an accountant if you’re going it alone, which many people will be. She says there are tax benefits to incorporating. And consider finding an accountant who specializes in artists, writers and musicians. She says her engineer husband made her write a business plan, and she updates it every year.
Jon Sinton suggests LegalZoom.com as a resource for quick law problems. He’s founder of the now-defunct Air America Radio and of Progressive Voices, among other ventures.
Andy Ihnatko suggests freelancing is the equivalent of the major leagues these days, no longer the bush leagues. While you may not have a single job that pays $72,000 a year, you may be able to find 10 clients to pay you $7,000 a year and you’ll still have your freedom. But you’ve also got to keep your brand credible and ethical.
Krissy Clark, a public radio reporter who also does Stories Everywhere, shared great stories of how she got into journalism, and that you may have to have a day job, as well as a parttime gig.
Writing for free? Most of the time, don’t do it, the panelists said.
Koerth-Baker says she does write for free at the group blog Download The Universe, which reviews science ebooks. And Clark said some of her favorite work was for little money. Sinton said bringing context to the Internet is perhaps the next big mission/goal that journalists should have - bringing context to clutter.
And while folks are used to getting their news for free, Ihnatko says ebooks have good potential as a revenue stream. He says iBook Author is a good free app to create interactive books.
It was a great panel! Thanks to Jon, Krissy, Maggie and Andy and to all the students and others in the audience!