Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Journalist


For freelancers, figuring out where you shine — and what you need to work on — is a great way to grow and learn more about your craft.

In our latest Journalism Advice column, we got the scoop from several veteran editors on what they’re looking for in a freelancer. One surprising takeaway: some editors are more likely to be won over by a unique story idea than your artful prose. Of course, if you excel at both writing and reporting, you are way ahead of the game.

[Lisa Haney, senior health editor of Fitness] says, “I’m looking for some good balance, somebody who knows how to dig and get good quotes from experts, and to be able to synthesize information into a straightforward voice.” It requires little effort for editors to finesse your work — after all, “edit” is in their job title. On the other hand, scoping out a hot story about a miracle weight-loss supplement or an underground fitness trend that’s sweeping the nation? Not so quick and easy to do.

For more advice, including how to make your editor’s job easier, read: What Editors Really Want From Writers.

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