It is the crucial question – and one of the things I get asked most by fellow freelance journalists.
We’re asking ourselves this question for a good reason. We went into this profession because we love telling stories. We want to inform, uncover, inspire and maybe even contribute to positive change. But as the world of journalism is changing, we need to change with it or we simply won’t be able to keep paying our bills.
We know -some of us firsthand- how staff jobs are disappearing almost as fast as print readers and paid subscribers. Newspapers become less about news and less about paper. Audiences become less about reading, listening and viewing and more about participating and experiencing.
Our field is increasingly competitive. Despite the industry’s transformation, media remains a popular area of study with tens of thousands of talented graduates joining the field each year. Like those affected by the ongoing redundancies in traditional media, most of them will – by choice or out of necessity – join us in the army of freelancers.
But successful freelancers know that we can seize this moment if we want to. Mighty media conglomerates, broadcasters and publishing houses still have power, but they now have to share it with us independents. Technology is creating a level playing field for publishers of all kinds of media: from crazy cat blogs to investigative reporting published in e-book format. For every disappearing advertiser, there is a crowdfunder ready to invest, donate, sponsor or pay a dollar. Or ten. Or a thousand.
And that’s where there the opportunity for us freelancers lies, if we are ready to adapt and become journopreneurs. It’s all new, and yet we can learn from the many who’ve adapted before us. Like Eric Hoffer, American writer and philosopher (1902 – 1983), who famously said: “In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Let’s keep learning together.
– The Journopreneur Workshop for freelancers is back! The last one before the summer is on Friday 19th June in London. Spaces limited to allow for plenty of individual attention – book your ticket here.