What makes a good feature?
First, something that you haven’t seen a million times everywhere else. Second, a concept or idea that makes you go, ‘Oh, that’s SO TRUE’ – something you have felt or thought but have never seen expressed before. Or perhaps something you’ve wanted to know more about and here’s someone telling you. And third good writing that presents it in an entertaining and concise way.
what top tips would you give in order to do this?
Keep reading and noticing things. An idea can come from anywhere. Notice what films and books are popular, how people are dressing, how they’re behaving – what does this tell us about us, now? Think about what’s going on around you. I actually keep a Word document on my computer and so when I have an idle thought like, ‘Isn’t it weird how all my friends are breaking up with their boyfriends at the moment?’ I write it down – and there’s a feature idea on ‘The New 30-Something Relationship Crisis’ or something!
What is the hardest thing about being a freelance journalist?
What you would expect: the uncertainty of it, the lack of human contact, keeping disciplined and the fact you’re not in the loop. A feature idea will be rejected and you’ll have no idea why and it can leave you feeling a bit insecure. But it’s great for the flexibility and the freedom.
How have social medias such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging helped you
as a journalist?
I have to say I don’t use social networking as much as some do, though Twitter is a great source of information and ideas. I know some journalists who have been helped MASSIVELY by Twitter – they network with editors like mad, pitch ideas and get commissioned on Twitter. Similarly, a great writer with a blog really can get noticed and start getting good commissions and eventually a whole new career.
Hope these have helped, I know they certainly have for me.