This March, Women in Journalism is launching a four-month online course for women who want to start out in freelance journalism and existing freelance journalists who want to sharpen up their pitching skills and improve their contacts.

In the summer, everyone who has attended the course will be invited to attend an exclusive drinks evening in person with senior editors who are members of Women in Journalism.

The course consists of four online masterclasses with WiJ committee member Donna Ferguson, an award-winning freelance journalist who writes regularly for The Guardian and The Observer.

Each month, the same group of students will meet online for the 90-minute masterclass, with chances to network with each other, get feedback on their ‘homework’ and ask questions. Recordings will be sent to anyone who cannot attend in person.

You will leave the course with the skills to craft a decent pitch to your dream publication, as well as a support network of other freelancers, and will have the opportunity to meet commissioning editors face-to-face.

The classes were created for members of Women in Journalism last year by Ferguson, who has won eight awards for her work as a freelancer and makes 96% of her income freelancing for national newspapers. Every single one sold out.

The classes will run on the third Tuesday of the month at 7pm  ( for 90 minutes)  

Tuesday 15th March: the practical side of starting out as a freelance journalist – everything from tax stuff, introducing yourself in pitching emails, attracting your first commissions, finding the email addresses of editors and how to broach the topic of fees.

Tuesday 19th April: How to target your dream publication and pitch like a pro.

Tuesday 17th May: How to turn rejection into a commission and develop relationships with editors.

Tuesday 21st June: How to find and come up with great ideas that editors will love.

DRINKS EVENING – July 5 ( venue TBC)

Please note you must sign up for all four classes in the course and they each follow on from each other so it’s a good idea to attend all four. However, recordings will be sent out afterwards so you can attend at a more convenient time if you are unable to participate in the live event.

The total fee for all four classes would be £150, which includes access to the exclusive drinks evening with editors.

The good news is: members of Women in Journalism get a 50% discount and can pay just £75 ( plus EB fee) instead of £150. (Joining Women in Journalism costs just £45 a year or less – depending on where you live in the country – so if you’ve been considering joining and want to attend the course, now’s the time to do it!)

If less than 30 people sign up for the course, unfortunately it may not be possible to run it, so please spread the word among your friends and colleagues whom you think might like to attend.

Feedback on Ferguson’s previous masterclasses:

  • “It’s made me want to get back to the actual journalism of going out and finding new and exciting things.”
  • “A fantastic session. I’ve been freelance for ages but it is always good to hear a fresh approach and Donna gave us some really great ideas – I couldn’t scribble fast enough. A super-informative talk.”
  • “This was so useful and has given me the confidence to pitch to national newspapers again.”
  • “A really informative session that has taught me to be more persistent.”
  • “Lots of helpful information. This has given me a useful way of framing my attitude and my experience. It’s just the boost I needed and I can’t wait to put some of your techniques into action.”