If you’re a journalist going freelance, First steps in freelancing is for you

Coronavirus is hitting journalism hard, with hundreds of staff jobs going or gone according to the Press Gazette. Freelancing could be the answer for some, either while looking for another job or permanently. For many freelance journalists, choosing your own hours and working from home is business as usual. But it is a tough thing to start doing, particularly in hard economic times.

My one-day course First steps in freelancing is designed to pass on the things a freelancer needs to know to get started: how to get work, agree a price and get paid; the options in terms of an office and technology; the first things to do about tax, pensions and marketing; and the opportunities for freelancers beyond selling individual pieces of work.

The course next runs on Friday 16 October from 10.30am to 4.30pm online. Given the economic situation the NUJ is charging standard members a bargain price of £40 and student members £30. You can book here.

Continue reading “If you’re a journalist going freelance, First steps in freelancing is for you”

How to work well from home

First published in the May 2020 issue of Socitm In Our View magazine

Large numbers of Britons have recently started working from home (WFH) for the first time or have turned an occasional practice into a full-time one. The sudden shift from communal office to kitchen table or spare bedroom, swapping colleagues for partners, children and pets, will have been disruptive for many. Continue reading “How to work well from home”

First steps in freelancing and Winning and negotiating training in July

Having moved them successfully to Zoom in April, I will be running both of my NUJ freelance journalism training day-courses online in July.

First steps in freelancing is on Friday 17 July, costing £40 for NUJ members, £30 for student members and £110 for non-members. Winning and negotiating freelance work will take place on Fri 31 July, costing £50 for NUJ members, £40 for student members and £130 for non-members.

These are in addition to already-planned dates for First steps on 16 October and Winning and negotiating on 6 November, both of which are for now still planned to take place at the NUJ’s offices in London.

For more information and booking, click on the links above. If you would like more information on the courses, please get in touch.

Update: the NUJ’s London Freelance Branch has voted to subsidise these courses for its members so they cost just £25 each. You can claim this subsidy when you book by email. Details here.

Learning to teach online; NUJ freelance training going ahead on 1 and 15 May

Three weeks ago today, with two weeks of my data journalism module left to teach, Birkbeck announced that Covid-19 meant it was shifting immediately from face-to-face to online teaching. The good news was that it had software in place to facilitate this. The bad news was that I had no experience of using it and a guest lecturer booked for the following Tuesday.

It worked out fine, mainly because the Guardian’s data projects editor Caelainn Barr did such a brilliant job of explaining her work to her laptop rather than a group of students. Along with a further online class last week, some great Birkbeck training sessions and advice from David Thomas, I have had a crash course in teaching online.

As a result, my NUJ training courses First steps in freelancing on Friday 1 May and Winning and negotiating freelance business on Friday 15 May will take place online. They will include the same material, discussion and experience-sharing as usual, but rather than you coming to London, these courses can come to you via the increasingly-ubiquitous Zoom platform. The NUJ has reduced its usual prices, so the cost for First Steps in freelancing is £40 for full members and £30 for students.

If one or both of these courses sound useful, why not join me in acquiring some new skills?

Full details and booking for NUJ First steps in freelancing, 1 May

Full details and booking for NUJ Winning and negotiating freelance business, 15 May

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Why don’t you ditch your smartphone and do some NUJ freelance training instead?

Times theatre critic Ann Treneman recently wrote about an Edinburgh Fringe show that encouraged the audience to use a smartphone while watching, and being told by an usher that “99.99999%” of people have one.

Actually, Ofcom research says the actual figure for smartphone usage in 2018 was 78% of Britons aged 15 and over, up just two percentage points on 2017 (see page 12 of narrative Online nation report). So there are 12 million adults in the UK who don’t use smartphones, including for several years me. Continue reading “Why don’t you ditch your smartphone and do some NUJ freelance training instead?”