By SHARON OOSTHOEK
Freelance environmental journalists — are you looking for assignments in all the wrong places?
Editors and producers — do you despair of finding just the right freelancer for your publication or show?
Let the Society of Environmental Journalists’ new freelance directory play matchmaker. After all, when journalists who know the difference between PVC and PCB write about the environment, everyone benefits.
Launched in February 2011, the online directory is a place for freelancers to show off a bit, and editors and producers to take notice. With just a few clicks, editors and producers can see samples of SEJ freelancers’ work, read short descriptions of their background, and find out how to get in touch. The directory is searchable by name, topics on the beat and region. Check it out.
Better yet, if you’re a freelancer, sign up and let potential clients know they can pick up the phone and find an experienced journalist who covers the environment on the other end of the line. Some SEJ members have already landed assignments through the directory.
Still, this is VERY new, and it may take some time for word to get around. SEJ staff will be publicizing the directory, but you can help, too. Mention it in your social networks to spread the word.
The directory is the brainchild of the SEJ’s Freelance Task Force created in 2010 to better serve the growing number of independent journalists covering the environment.
The task force is made up of about a dozen SEJ members — magazine and newspaper writers, broadcasters, podcasters and bloggers. We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities for expanding SEJ programs, services and resources for freelance and self-employed journalists.
To that end, task force members recently created a primer on health insurance for U.S. freelancers and are in the process of putting together a session on copyright and contract law for our annual conference in Miami, Oct. 19-23. The task force also recently beefed up online resources for freelancers on the SEJ’s website.
We have more ideas up our collective sleeve, but if in the meantime you have suggestions for us, or want to join, feel free to contact SEJ board member and task force chair Sharon Oosthoek.
Sharon Oosthoek is a Toronto-based freelance journalist who writes about science and the environment.
* From the quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Spring 2011 issue.