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Freelance Journalism

Professional Development

By successfully completing this course, you will:

  • Gain skills and knowledge in Freelance Journalism as a foundation qualification towards further studies, or for personal interest
  • Be awarded the BSY Professional Certificate of Merit

You can study this course from the comfort of your own home; in your own time and at your own pace; with helpful support and encouragement from our friendly tutors.

Course overview

Most newspapers buy some or even all of their news from local freelancers and pay serious money for the best stories. This correspondence course, prepared for us by a successful freelancer, will teach you how to find and write up saleable news stories, features or even just ‘snippets’. It will also show you how to operate successfully and profitably as a professional freelance journalist, providing names of newspapers who could pay thousands of pounds for a front page story. If you’d like to enjoy the buzz of being a journalist and see your work splashed across the pages of newspapers worldwide then this is the course for you.


  • Lesson One
    • The Basics of Good Journalism
      • Introduction
      • Welcome to the Course!
      • Who will Buy your Stories?
      • Good Subjects for Freelance Journalists
      • What Subjects Should you Avoid?
      • Think Local
      • The Importance of Good Research
      • Summary
  • Lesson Two
    • How to Write a News Story
      • Introduction
      • What Makes a Good News Story?
      • How to Plan and Structure a News Story
      • Putting it onto Paper
      • Points to Include
      • Points to Avoid
      • An Easy Writing Technique
      • Style and Tone: the Essential Points
      • How to Handle Headlines
      • How to Edit Your Story Quickly and Professionally
      • Summary
  • Lesson Three
    • How to Write for Local, Regional, National and Overseas Press
      • Introduction
      • Choosing Good Subjects for Newspaper Stories
      • Key Essentials when Writing for a Newspaper
      • Types of Newspaper to Consider
      • Writing for Local Newspapers
      • Writing for Regional Newspapers
      • Writing for National Newspapers
      • Writing for Free Sheets
      • Writing for Overseas Newspapers
      • Broadsheets or Tabloids: What is the Difference?
      • Making the Right Contacts
      • Some Useful Definitions and Trade Terms
      • Writing on Some of the Main Popular Interests
      • Summary
  • Lesson Four
    • How to Write for Magazines
      • Introduction
      • How to Find Magazine Opportunities
      • Is There Likely to be an Opportunity?
      • Types of Magazines
      • Key Essentials when Writing for a Magazine
      • Planning Ahead: The Importance of Copy Dates
      • Illustrating your Magazine Stories: What you Need to Know
      • Summary
  • Lesson Five
    • Marketing and Selling your Stories
      • Introduction
      • Researching the Market
      • Making Valuable Business Contacts
      • Solicited, Unsolicited and Commissioned Journalism
      • Choosing the Right Publication
      • Making a Proposal
      • Getting Paid for Leads or Tip-Offs
  • Lesson Six
    • How to Approach the Market
      • Introduction
      • Making Friends with the Editor!
      • How to Present your Work Professionally
      • How to Submit your Work Professionally
      • Working with the Copy Taker
      • Electronic Journalism : What you Need to Know
      • What to Do if Your Work is Rejected
      • Summary
  • Lesson Seven
    • Essential Information for Freelance Journalists
      • Introduction
      • Payment Schedules
      • Payments : What to Expect
      • Payments for Expenses
      • Contracts
      • Copyright
      • Writing for a News Agency
      • Photographic Assignments
    • Building a Writing Business
      • Tax and National Insurance
      • VAT
      • Claiming your Business Expenses
      • The National Union of Journalists
      • Summary
  • Lesson Eight
    • Contact File
      • Introduction
      • National Weekday Newspapers
      • National Sunday Newspapers
      • Scottish Daily and Sunday Newspapers
      • Local and Regional Newspapers

Practical training

No practical training is required to complete this course.