Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Whole New Spin On Pitching

For freelancers and editors, making a match for a good story can be rough but once again, new media can help out. Enter,, a "news exchange where freelancers and editors can connect" according to one of its creators, Sindya Bhanoo, a graduating Berkeley journalism school student.

While the Web site is in its beginning stages, it has a lot of potential to bring together freelancers and editors in a whole new way. It gives editors the chance to find stories that are appropriate for their publication and it cuts through the process for freelancers who normally need to wait to hear from editors before pitching elsewhere.

Freelancers can upload their work and submit it to a specific publication where editors have the chance to view the story for two weeks and decide to publish it. After two weeks it can be submitted to other publications. Another great feature is the ability to create an online portfolio where editors can see past work and learn about the freelancer.

In a Q&A with Bhanoo by Jean Yung from the Online Journalism Review, Yung positioned the site as a sort of "eBay" for journalists, asking her if editors can bid for stories. Bhanoo clearly states, "The intention is not to turn it into an eBay." While freelancers can post a minimum price for their story, they can also accept a publication's default price.

This project can also be an interesting avenue for citizen journalists who have no formal journalism training. It gives even those with no news reporting experience the chance to get their ideas out there.

The site was formerly a private site at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism but has recently gone public and is ready to start expanding to journalists from all over. In November, the site collaborated with Media News Group papers including, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Times-Herald, Tri-City Weekly, The Piedmonter, The Montclarion and Berkeley Voice.

The site's blog reported:
All the editors were receptive and told us that there is a definite need for relevant freelance work. We've already had more than five stories purchased through reporterist since that meeting, and many more articles uploaded by freelancers.

As the word spreads to editors and freelancers, Reporterist could definitely carve a niche within new media and the journalism field. As a student getting ready to enter into the "real world" I see this as a useful tool and an easier way to get into freelancing.

Only time will tell as Reporterist branches out but it looks promising.

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