What: Contribute articles, photographs or video for the Washington Post

Expected pay: $100 or more per article/contribution

HuslScore: $$$$

Commissions & Fees: none

Where: Nationwide (and worldwide)

Requirements: Exceptional writing and/or photography or videography skills and substantial work experience; adherence to the Post’s exacting ethical standards; samples of past work

Review: If you are a terrific writer, photographer or videographer and an avid reader of the Washington Post, you may be able to contribute to the newspaper as a freelancer. The Post set up its own freelance network in 2015 to streamline the process of finding stringers in far-flung locations where the Post doesn’t have staff. Freelancers can join the network by signing up or can be invited in by an editor.

When submitting a profile, you are asked to specify the areas you would be competent to cover, from business and finance to breaking news and parenting. If you are approved, you can submit stories directly through the network, which will then shuttle them to the appropriate editor. Pay is competitive with other major newspapers, with writers getting between $100 and $200 for short articles and contributions to coverage; pay is better for features and breaking news. (The Post considers its pay range proprietary and will not confirm the figures reported by freelancers.) Having a story in the Post also confers some prestige that writers can use to open doors to potentially more lucrative gigs, such as writing for magazines and web sites. Writers say the Post editors are “smart, personable and accessible.” Paychecks usually come within a month of completing an assignment. 

The catch: Thousands of writers have already signed up, overwhelming the Post with qualified applicants. If you apply now, you’re likely to get a notice saying: “Due to the overwhelming response, we are vetting candidates to meet current needs only. Your profile will remain in the pool of applicants…”  Many applicants maintain they have been in that queue, without further communication, for years. And, of course, having an application accepted isn’t a guarantee of work.

Talent Network editor Eva Rodriguez says that you’ve got a better chance if you’re overseas or in an area “where we are seeking coverage (e.g., breaking news) or in an area where we may not have other freelancers.”

Once in the network, writers say your odds of having a freelance piece accepted will hinge on how familiar you are with Post coverage and your ability to find a smart and fresh angle for a regular feature. Also look for drama and resonance, says Rodriguez: “We’re looking for feature and enterprise ideas that reflect the cities or communities where they originate, but also have a level of interest or drama that will resonate with and interest readers far beyond the localities.”

Otherwise, you’ve got to hope that you’re simply in the right place at the right time when news breaks. In other words, its a great freelance gig if you can get it. The network’s less-than-perfect Husl$core reflects the fact that these jobs are tough to get. 

No luck breaking into the Post’s network? Consider looking for writing gigs at Contently, Cracked and Belay

What their users say:

I got in when they needed someone to cover the shootings in San Bernardino. They were easy to work with and the pay was fair. ($400 a day, as I recall.) But I’ve been too busy with other freelancing assignments to pitch them.

The editor was great. Personable and accessible. They needed more color/anecdotes from people stopping by Trump National Golf Course to take selfies with the sign after the election, or of people protesting. It was right in my back yard. That said, it was raining that day and only a couple people stopped by so I didn’t have much to report. We didn’t discuss money, but they paid me $100. And I was just supplying supplemental paragraphs, not writing the story. It arrived within a month.

This story in CJR explains both the Talent Network’s process and the difficulty in getting through

A personal tale of how one freelancer got her dating column published.

Try Washington Post Talent Network