Tips for the reluctantly entrepreneurial science journalist

Freelance science journalists have to be entrepreneurs if they are to make money with the advent of new media.

Sanday Chongco Kabange, an independent journalist from Zambia, told a session on entrepreneurial science journalism that science journalists need to reinvent themselves. Don’t put your head in the sand: develop a keen interest in science in new media, he said, so you have a clear understanding of the competition.

Looking for stories at the World Conference of Science Journalists. Credit: Pratchaya W.

The field is very specialised and the market is limited, especially in developing countries. New media has also flooded the market with bloggers, citizen journalists – and specialists themselves – putting out their contents.

To stand out one must be aggressive in marketing oneself, whether it is blogging or stringing. A useful boost to credentials is to try to win awards.

Identify clients who can buy contents and develop their confidence in you and their trust that you can deliver.

Adam Tinworth, an editorial development manager, suggested keeping the cost low.

“There is no need for offices and fancy stuff. Just cheap, open-source software – and work anywhere you can.”

Joel D. Adriano, SciDev.Net contributor in the Philippines

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