Washington Post Talent Network enlists freelance writers, photographers and videographers to work for the Post
Expected pay: Varies by assignment
Commissions & fees: NA
Where: Nationwide / worldwide (remote)
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
Washington Post Talent Network 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 Washington Post Talent Network as a freelancer. The Post set up its own freelance network in 2015 to streamline the process of finding stringers in far-flung locations. Freelancers can join the network by signing up or can be invited in by an editor.
How it works
When submitting a profile, you are asked to specify the areas you would be competent to cover. These include business and finance, breaking news, parenting and kids. Indeed, the Post launched KidsPost, geared to children between the ages of 7 and 13, a few years ago. This section appears four days a week and the Post’s editors are actively soliciting copy on science, history, current events, volunteering, entertainment, and arts to fill those pages.
“We especially like to include the voices of kids in our stories,” said Susan Levine, Talent Network Editor in an email to potential contributors. KidsPost pitches should be directed to Christina Barron, KidsPost editor.
Pay is competitive with other major newspapers, with writers getting between $100 and $200 for short articles and contributions to coverage. The pay is better for features and breaking news. (The Post considers its pay range proprietary; these figures have been reported by freelancers.) Paychecks usually come within a month of completing an assignment.
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.”
The downside to signing up here? Unless they need someone covering your beat in your part of the world, your application goes into something of a black hole. You may or may not ever hear from an editor here.
Our best advice is to pay attention to new coverage areas in the Post. Because the site is inundated with writers. Your best chance of breaking in is when they’re trying to fill a new section — or if there happens to be breaking news in your part of the world. Old-fashioned networking is also worthwhile. If you’ve successfully worked with a Post editor in the past, that editor can invite you into the network without the usual delays.
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.