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Any writers/journalists around?

(6 Posts)
AvenaLife Mon 18-Aug-08 22:47:11

I've had an idea to help me get back on my feet and I need to run it past some experts first please. smile
I've got a degree in Law, almost a MSc in Environmental Pollution Management, have spent 2 years training as a nurse (the hours and childcare don't work out very well) and would love to train as a doctor but I'm too poor. I'm trying to think of ways that I can move my life forwards because I feel like I'm in a hole so I'm thinking of seeing if there's a way I can use my experience to get into writing/journalism. I could do some court reporting etc. I'm not sure whether my idea is doomed to failure though. If I were to email the editor of the local newspaper and ask if I could send him some law articles about local cases to you think he'd laugh and tell me to piss off? Is this how things are done? I've done alot of writing as part of my courses and I used to write for the University newspaper along time ago but I don't think these really count.

It's just an idea. Don't shoot me please.

Many thanks.

escape Tue 19-Aug-08 19:55:02

I am not the right person to answer this as I have lived out of the UK for 5 years. My journalistic experience consists of writing about children and family issues (all fluffy) and I am only now starting to write more 'technical' copy, but this is Financial/it/business as opposed to Legal.
Anyhoo - after that essay, what I did want to say is that you make your own luck.
Of course he's not going to laugh at you,
he can only say no, but you can badger him!
The hardest part is gaining experience in the beginning.
Research - look up anybody, organisatior n, or publication that might be of interest to you - and contact them. tell them what you are looking to do and attach work you already have.
Oh, and btw, Everything counts - especially life experience!
for once, in my 30 years, i have taken my own advice within the last month, and I am looking at a fulfilling, full time career, because I knocked on doors (virtually and 'put myself around'!!
Have confidence in your abilities and go for it... grin

TantieTowie Wed 20-Aug-08 11:42:25

I trained on a local paper and worked on papers for 10 years before I went freelance three years ago - you do need proper training for court reporting and I think any editor would want to have that because they're taking such big legal risks without it ( contempt of court a big issue).

Also local papers just don't pay very well - freelance court reporters make their money (what money they do make) from being in the right place at the right time when an interesting case comes up that noone else is covering and selling it direct to the nationals or to a local news agency.

I think a potentially more profitable way in is to target the magazine and trade press market. To gain experience, there are lots of magazines, particularly those aimed at 'fans', that don't pay so well so might give work to less experienced people - this way you earn less at first but build up your cuttings. Then you can use that experience to contact other editors in areas you're interested in. That might include the trade press (B2B) for the areas you're interested in. Researach the market, read the titles, see what kind of stories you might write and pitch a few ideas.

furrycat Wed 20-Aug-08 16:26:50

Why don't you try to do some featyers for the trade press - it's not my field but I'm sure there are a number of speciailist publications for lawyers. If you got some experience there you could try and branch out later.

AvenaLife Fri 22-Aug-08 12:04:43

Sorry I have not replied until now. The internet's been down and I've been climbing the walls.

I'll have a look into the legalities of court reporting, thankyou for the advice. smile We only get minor things around here though, with some growing of weed that always appears to get a big story. The journalist must be biased grin. I'll email the editor later and see what he says.

I thought I could top the work up by writing childrens books on the side. There's not alot of need for trade/specialist pubications where I live unfortunatly. It's supposto be a city but it's too small to be hosest with you. I'd have to move to London or somewhere with publications offices or somewhere that has some cases I could report about.

Thankyou for all the advice. I'm very sorry I couldn't get in touch before. smile

bumbling Mon 08-Sep-08 09:50:12

Hiya. On the legal front, lots of papers use people who trawl local courts etc for writs that look interesting. essentialy they just go through all the writs every day or x days a week and work out whose involved and then talk to any kind of publication that might be interested. Eg Construction firm in law suit, talk to local papers, national business papers if it's huge company and interesting, trade papers etc etc. ou make your own luck that way and even if you don't write a brilliant story they'll pay you for finding the writ for them and take it from there. It means they look past who the writs name and work out if anyone important, famous etc is involved somehow and target accordingly. Need v good all round general knowledge I think as a starter and an ability to understand what the case is actually ab out, ie seeing through the legalise. I know several people who do this and make a very good living and I don't know any paper, national or local plus trade publications that don't have someone that does this for them.

Hope that helps.

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