Feb 29 - March 1, 2024

the institute for independent journalists presents

2024 Freelance Journalism Conference

12 interactive sessions, delivering 15 hours of learning. Register for just $89. 
AIR Members must log in to access discount registration. 
Already registered? Log in to SoundPath.co to access your exclusive Bonus Bundle. 
Write your awesome label here.

Key Takeaways

  • What 12+ editors want in a pitch, and how to win assignments
  • New strategies for financially and emotionally sustainable freelancing
  • Ideas for building community and new networking contacts

About the Conference

  • Thursday, February 29th & Friday, March 1, 2024. 
  • 10am-7pm 
  • 15 hours of learning
  • Virtual
  • $89 Registration
    20% off for AIR Members 
  • Recordings available to watch until August 30, 2024. 
  • Hear what top editors want in pitches?
  • Learn insider secrets to landing fellowships, diversifying revenue, and creating a portfolio of meaningful work?
  • Connect with a community of creators who make a good living while telling stories that have an impact?

Register Today To Get Access To 

Our incredible bonus bundle, including Q&As with renowned editors talking about what they want in a pitch such as:
  • Raha Naddaf, a story editor for the New York Times Magazine
  • Mimi Wong, editor-in-chief of The Offing 
  • Carren Jao, senior editor, Stacker 
  • Emanuele Berry, executive editor, This American Life
  • Jenny Hollander, digital director, Marie Claire
  • Frida Garza, editor, The Guardian US

You’ll also receive IIJ-created pitch guides with rates and contacts for outlets featured in our previous webinars, including The New York Times, Business Insider, Bloomberg Businessweek, Science Magazine and many others. In addition to these essential resources, you’ll find expert guides covering a range of topics, from negotiating contract terms to tracking freelance income and applying for grants and fellowships.

Day 1

What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean for Journalism?

Thursday Feb 29, 10:00 am - 11:15 am ET

Benét Wilson

Director, Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship

Meredith Broussard

Author on artificial intelligence and race

Nikita Roy

ICFJ Knight Fellow, host of Newsroom Robots and lead of the AI Journalism Lab at Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

Sarah Stirland

Independent journalist
Does artificial intelligence mean the end of journalism jobs? A panel of experts will bust myths and offer practical advice for navigating the new landscape of artificial intelligence. Participants will leave with concrete tips for harnessing AI in their work.
Empty space, drag to resize

In Conversation With Tanzina Vega

Thursday Feb 29, 11:30 am - 12:45 pm

Tanzina Vega

Tanzina Vega’s journalism centers on inequality and wealth in the United States through the lens of race and gender. She is a contributing writer for the Boston Globe Opinion section, an advisory board member for City Limits, and the founder of La Mala Media, where she provides strategy, writing and podcast services for companies and brands. Tanzina has been a reporter, editor, producer and host for The New York Times, CNN and New York Public Radio where she led coverage of race and inequality daily coverage of national news. She has received the Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Award from Kent State University, multiple citations from the National Press Photographers Association and a contributing producer recognition in the 31st annual news and documentary Emmy Awards. 
Keynote speaker Tanzina Vega will discuss her work and career, from the New York Times, CNN, and hosting WNYC’s The Takeaway, through building an entrepreneurial career as a Boston Globe columnist, professor and consultant.
Empty space, drag to resize
Write your awesome label here.

Become an Editor’s Go-To Writer

Thursday Feb 29, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm ET
A panel of national and regional editors will talk about how to pitch their publications, what they want from freelance contributors, and how to get on their radar. We’ll cover rates, project scope, contract terms and the editorial process.
Empty space, drag to resize
Empty space, drag to resize

Monetizing your Platform

Thursday Feb 29, 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm ET

Frankie de la Cretaz

Frankie de la Cretaz is a freelance writer whose work sits at the intersection of sports, gender, culture, and queerness. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Vogue, the Washington Post, Bleacher Report, The Ringer, The Atlantic, and many others.

Tim Herrera

Tim Herrera is a freelance writer/editor, writing coach, event host, and consultant. He is the founder of Freelancing with Tim, a newsletter that seeks to lower the barrier of entry into journalism by offering weekly Zoom panels featuring seasoned journalists.

Jessica Lahey

Jessica Lahey is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed and The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence.She has written about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and the New York Times. She co-hosts the #AmWriting podcast.

Morgan Sung

Morgan Sung writes to explore social platforms and how they shape real-world culture. She has written for TechCrunch, NBC News, Mashable, BuzzFeed News and more. She also runs rat.house, a newsletter about tech and digital culture.

Sa’iyda Shabazz 

Sa’iyda is a writer and editor who lives in Los Angeles with her son, partner and too many pets (3). She writes about the intersections of parenting, race, sexuality, gender and socioeconomic status as well as lifestyle and pop culture. A former writer and editor at Scary Mommy, her work has also been published by The New York Times and The Washington Post. 
As freelance opportunities run dry, many writers are turning to newsletters to tell their stories. How do you use newsletters to monetize your platform? And not only that, how do you make it worthwhile for you?
Empty space, drag to resize
Empty space, drag to resize
Empty space, drag to resize

How to Perfect Your Pitch

Thursday Feb 29, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm ET

Angilee Shah

Angilee is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the nonprofit news organization Charlottesville Tomorrow, in Central Virginia. She is a coach for news organizations and journalism change makers around the country who specializes in building teams, budgets and editorial strategy for people and communities too often left out of media narratives. Shah spent six years as a founding editor of Global Nation, PRI’s The World’s coverage of immigration in the US, where in one year she brought 50 new contributors to the program. As a reporter and editor, her work has been read and heard around the world, including a book about everyday lives in China and a trio of investigative stories about the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war. More about her work is at angileeshah.com.

Valeria Fernández

Valeria is a Phoenix-based investigative journalist and managing editor of palabra., created by NAHJ to support freelancers. She has produced documentaries for Discovery Spanish, CNN Español, and PBS. Her work can be found in The Guardian, California Sunday Magazine, Latino USA and the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. In 2018, she won the American Mosaic Journalism Prize for her freelance coverage of underrepresented communities. As a 2021 Nieman Visiting Fellow, Valeria created Comadres al Aire, a Spanish podcast on health.

Ricardo Sandoval-Palos

Ricardo Sandoval-Palos is the Public Editor of the Public Broadcasting Service and a former supervising editor of NPR's Morning Edition broadcast, an editor with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Sacramento Bee, and a Latin America correspondent for U.S. newspapers. He recently co-founded palabra and co-authored the award-winning biography, "The Fight In the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement.”

Dianna Nañez

Dianna Náñez is Arizona Luminaria's Executive Editor and co-founder. She is an investigative journalist, narrative writer/editor and storytelling coach whose story of Indigenous and borderlands communities was part of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning Arizona Republic team coverage. She served as a board member for NAHJ and is a member of the 2017 cohort of ASNE’s Emerging Leaders Institute.
What do editors really want in a pitch? This session will identify the key elements of a successful pitch and teach participants how to write a better one. Bring your ideas, and we’ll turn them into stories.
Empty space, drag to resize
Write your awesome label here.
Write your awesome label here.

Unwind With Other Freelancers 

Thursday Feb 29, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm ET
After a full day of learning, join your freelance colleagues for an interactive networking session. Connect with IIJ leaders and other independent journalists in the main room and breakout groups organized by subject area and topics you‘d like to explore. This popular IIJ session has led to accountability buddies and writing groups, and we guarantee camaraderie! This is a live session that will not be recorded.

Day 2

Diversity Data Desert

Friday March 1, 10:00 am - 11:15 am ET

Cara Reedy

Cara Reedy is the Founder and Director of the Disabled Journalists Association. She's a journalist who spent ten years at CNN producing documentaries as well as writing for various verticals. In 2019, she produced her most recent doc for The Guardian entitled Dwarfism and Me.

Meredith Clark

Meredith Clark is an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and the Department of Communication Studies. She is also the Founding Director of the College of Arts, Media and Design’s Center for Communication, Media Innovation, and Social Change. Her research focuses on the intersections of race, media, and power in digital, social, and news media, and is informed by the years she spent working in newsrooms as an editor, editorial writer and columnist.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis

Katherine is a science journalist and author who writes for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Parents, and The Washington Post. Her 2018 book The Good News About Bad Behavior grew out of Mother Jones’ most-read article. A biracial journalist (Asian American and White), she previously worked as a national correspondent for Newhouse News Service and Bloomberg News.

Maudlyne Ihejirika

Maudlyne Ihejirika is the Field Foundation's Journalism & Storytelling Program Manager and is responsible for supporting the foundation’s work in seeking to change how news production and storytelling reflect Chicago. Maudlyne focuses on Field’s goal of creating a more equitable, connected, and inclusive local media ecosystem in which the stories of all Chicagoans are told accurately, fairly, authoritatively, and contextually.
This session will address the challenges in understanding the diversity of the journalism workforce. Speakers will cover the shrinking amount of data available publicly as well as creative ways to assess the diversity of freelancer contributors.
Empty space, drag to resize

In Conversation with Sara Goo

Friday March 1, 11:30 am - 12:45 am ET
Keynote speaker Sara Goo will discuss insights from her career, from the Washington Post and NPR to her current role as editor-in-chief of Axios, in conversation with Niala Boodhoo, host and editor of 1 Big Thing.
Empty space, drag to resize

Inside the Editor's In-Box: How to Break Into a New Outlet

Friday March 1, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm ET

Estelle Tang, lifestyle and wellness editor, the Guardian US

Estelle Tang is the lifestyle and wellness editor at the Guardian US. Previously, she was the deputy culture editor at BuzzFeed News, and senior culture editor at Vogue and ELLE.

Juliet Beverly, senior editor, Brain Facts

Juliet is the Senior Editor for BrainFacts.org. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Howard University in 2006, she worked at the Embassy of Austria in the Office of Science & Technology and for the online magazine bridges on transatlantic science, technology, and innovation policy.

Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is the deputy digital editor at Men's Health, where she oversees, edits, and assigns content across MensHealth.com. Prior to joining the brand, she held roles at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories, as well as Coveteur, where she oversaw the site's daily editorial operations. She lives in New York City.

James Salanga, co-executive director, The Objective

James Salanga is a reporter covering the central coast for KAZU and the co-executive director for The Objective. They focus on covering place, labor, disability, education, the ongoing pandemic and community movements.

Jamila Bey (Moderator)

Jamila Bey is the editorial director of WHYY News and was previously a longtime freelancer and radio talk show host. Jamila has over 20 years of experience at news organizations, including NPR, Viacom/BET, and The Washington Post, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR. 
A panel of national and regional editors will talk about how to pitch their news outlets, what they want from freelance contributors, and how to get on their radar. We’ll cover rates, project scope, contract terms and the editorial process.
Empty space, drag to resize
Write your awesome label here.

Funding your Journalism: Grants and Fellowships

Friday March 1, 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm ET

Pamela K. Johnson

Pamela K. Johnson is a journalist, 2nd vice president of the National Writers Union, former editor of Essence magazine, and 2023-2024 O’Brien Public Service Journalism fellow. She has been published in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Pamela was a fellow in AFI's Directing Workshop for Women, and has shot short films across the globe. She is writing a novel, and was recently selected as Professional Artist Fellow by the Arts Council for Long Beach, California.

Taylor Moore

Taylor Moore is the associate program manager at the International Women's Media Foundation, where she manages grants, fellowships and awards. Based in Chicago, she is also a freelance journalist.

P. Kim Bui

P. Kim Bui is a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and the former senior director of product and audience innovation at The Arizona Republic. She’s focused her career on leading real-time news initiatives and creating new storytelling forms for digital, print and broadcast companies catering to local, national and global audiences
Empty space, drag to resize

The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism

Write your awesome label here.

Finding the Best Medium for Your Big Idea! 

Friday March 1, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm ET

Joanna Clay

Joanna Clay is a senior producer at Neon Hum Media, where she has developed and led shows for clients such as ESPN, Discovery+ and Thrive. She reported and produced the NHM original Telescope, with two of her episodes getting a shoutout in The New York Times. In 2021, she launched the NHM original vertical Spectacle, which made “Best Of” lists in The Atlantic, Time, Esquire, Vogue, Marie Claire and more.

Seyward Darby

Seyward Darby is editor in chief of The Atavist Magazine. She is the author of the book Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines, and she has written for publications including The New York Times, Harper's, and The Guardian.

Kerra Bolton

Kerra is an accomplished writer and filmmaker specializing in first-person narrative nonfiction that examines the meaning of community, connection, and identity in Black communities. Her work was featured in Memoir Land, CNN.com, CNN Español, Hearst Magazines, The Times of Israel, New Worlder, Ebony, and Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. Kerra is also the CEO and Founder of Woodbine Ventures, a transitional career coaching company.

Alex Lewis

Alex Lewis is the co-founder of Rowhome Productions, a Philadelphia-based production house that specializes in making audio documentaries, podcast series, & audio tours. Since Rowhome's founding in Fall 2020, they've worked on dozens of projects with a wide-range of companies & organizations including Topic Studios, Pushkin Industries, iHeart, NPR, Asian Arts Initiative, & many more. 

Erika Hayasaki

Erika is a writer whose stories appear in The New York Times Magazine, Wired, The Atlantic, and many others. Erika was a Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellow and an Alicia Patterson Fellow, and is a former national correspondent for the Los Angeles Time. Erika currently teaches at the University of California, Irvine as a professor in the Literary Journalism Program.
You've got a gripping narrative or promising lead on a story. But should you pursue a long-form article, create a podcast, write a book proposal or pitch a documentary series? This panel of journalists with experience in audio, film, books, and serial television will discuss how to find the right medium for your project, what it takes to navigate a production deal, and how to pitch your big idea, no matter the format.
Empty space, drag to resize

Networking Session and Conference Takeaways

Friday March 1, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm ET 
Keep the energy of the conference going in a networking session with IIJ leaders, speakers and other independent journalists! Share your favorite learnings, ask a follow-up question or maybe meet an accountability buddy to help you with conference-inspired freelance goals. This is a live session that will not be recorded. You won’t want to miss it!

Thank you to our Sponsors

Write your awesome label here.

The Institute for Independent Journalists

The Institute for Independent Journalists is an education, professional development, and mutual support organization for independent journalists, focusing on Black, Indigenous and people of color. Our mission is financial and emotional sustainability for independent journalists of color, through community learning, innovation and advocacy.
Write your awesome label here.