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40% of Freelance Journalists on Benefits

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RSS 22 February 2017
The average income for a freelance journalist is around £20,000 a year, although recent reports suggest up to 40% could be on benefits.

Why is this happening you might be wondering? In my opinion it has a lot to do with the fact that traditional newspapers and media outlets are simply not making the kind of revenue they used to, which in turn means that journalists are finding it more difficult to find high paying jobs, or any jobs at all.

Not only that, but you also have a situation in this country where more people are classed as a "journalist" than ever before, with one study showing there are now 34,000 journalists in the UK, compared to 18,000 only a few years ago.

It doesn't take a genius to work out that more journalists + less jobs = more people on benefits. The freelance lifestyle this isn't, if you ask me.

Don't be put off becoming a freelance journalist completely though, because despite nearly 40% on benefits, the report went on to detail that a small percentage of journalists are making 6 figures a year.

This means if you have talent, make the right connections and stay focused, there is no reason at all why you can't go on to have a successful career.

However, getting into the industry isn't always easy, and it is made even more difficult by the fact that many places want you to work for free when you are just starting out.

I've talked before on this blog about freelance professionals who do unpaid work, and anyone that has read my opinions about the subject will know that I am against it.

In most cases people are simply trying to take advantage of you by getting your journalist skills in return for nothing...only a credit to put on your CV, but I would advise anyone to start as you mean to go on, because once you get known as that "journalist who works for free," it isn't always easy to get away from it.

I think it kind of proves my point with this news story about how 40% of freelance journalists are on benefits. No doubt many of them worked for free believing it would be good for their career, but then found they had only devalued their skills to the point where many companies in the industry don't want to pay for journalism any more.

Another factor that many journalists have to deal with is late payments according to the report. Even when they do get a paying job they still find it challenging to actually get paid. You couldn't make this kind of thing up really.

In reality being a freelance journalist is not an easy profession, and there are only a small percentage of who make a good living from it. People are finding this out right now, and it wouldn't surprise me if many of these people decide on a change of career.

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