3 min read

5 Attributes Media Companies Look For In Freelancers

1. Knowing Their Brand
5 Attributes Media Companies Look For In Freelancers

1. Knowing Their Brand

Most media companies have their own style and aesthetic for video. Freelancers that take the time to learn each company’s unique approach prior to sending a pitch shows attention to detail and thoroughness.

“We’re looking for VJs to make an effort to understand what makes a story a Fusion story before pitching to us. We have a strong focus on social justice issues and underrepresented voices and communities. We are building out our international stories slowly, but for now our main focus is on the U.S. and Latin America. It helps if a VJ has really made an effort to watch the videos we’ve published and pitch us stories that are already in our wheelhouse. That said, we always want to be surprised, so if you’ve got something you’re not sure is right for us, give us a shout anyway and tell us why you think we should be interested!” — Japhet Weeks, Executive Producer of News Video at Fusion

2. Unique Pitches

No publisher wants to be pitched the same idea over and over. They need unique content and stories that impact and inspire their viewers. Freelancers should pitch video stories that haven’t been covered before or bring a new angle to a topic.

“It’s a combination of the right story and the right person. One thing I truly value and that catches my attention is a unique idea. We can usually find a way to fly someone somewhere, but really great story ideas remain precious and scarce.” — Adam Ellick, Senior International Video Correspondent and Reporter at The New York Times
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3. The Right Skill Set

Whether it’s the right language skills for an assignment or the right equipment, publishers want to hire freelancers that have the ability to cover a story without requiring a lot of extra help.

“Does the freelancer have clips posted that are editorially strong, creative or produced well? There’s a lot of people involved in most productions nowadays so we try to drill down to what their role was and how it is applicable to the current assignment…We need to make sure the freelancer has the right equipment and skill set to do the job needed.” — Geoff Dietrich, Senior Producer at AJ+

4. Strong Storytelling

After a unique story has been pitched, publishers need to know that freelancers can follow through on shooting a video with strong storytelling. While storytelling techniques vary between media companies, freelancers should show that they understand the elements of a good story, specifically for the publisher they’re pitching.

“VJs should bring us stories that haven’t been covered in video before, that are character driven, that have strong visuals, and that will resonate with our audience….For our 1.5 to 2 minute pieces with text on screen, a story needs to have a strong relatable character, and we need to see that character doing something that adds to the story rather than just providing wallpaper. Is that person interacting with someone or in a community in a way that gives us insight into who he/she is? We definitely want to see that.” — Japhet Weeks

5. Track Record and Growth Potential

Just as most freelancers want to build strong relationships with their editors, editors want to build good relationships with their freelancers. It means they get proven quality work and the potential for even more great stories.

“Has the freelancer contributed before and was the experience worth building on? If so, we want to strengthen that relationship with more work when appropriate….We’re looking for freelancers that get the AJ+ style and production techniques.” — Geoff Dietrich