Succeed as a Freelancer

Learn how to thrive as a freelancer in today’s media marketplace.

Boston University presents an online, live workshop for independent communicators telling their stories through words, photography, audio and video.

Succeed as a Freelancer is a workshop designed and led by Jay Atkinson and Greg Marinovich, two Boston University instructors who know, through their own personal success, how to build a career as your own boss.

Enrollment for Fall 2020 is strictly limited to 20 students. Registration deadline: Oct. 9, 2020.


Workshop Info

Oct. 17, Oct. 24 and Nov. 7, plus two one-on-one sessions
Professional, independent storytellers
Tuition + Fees
$599, includes all five group sessions
Register & Pay

About This Workshop

In the rapidly changing media landscape, aspiring storytellers are more likely than not to spend a significant portion of their careers working as freelancers. And though this moment is marked by flux and uncertainty, opportunities exist for independent storytellers who know the mechanics of the craft as well as how to pitch their work to assigning editors.

The freelancer is both a creator and sole proprietor, making decisions on the fly and taking responsibility for the outcomes. In Succeed as a Freelancer, participants will develop the ability to make informed, creative and ethical decisions on their own, without the support of a media outlet or corporation. The workshop is aimed at writers, journalists, photographers, videographers, documentary filmmakers, creatives, communication professionals, teachers, and other storytellers seeking to enter the gig economy as freelancers. 

Freelancing, by its very nature, rewards a multitude of aptitudes: creativity, intrepidness, resilience, nimbleness, self-discipline, self-sufficiency, responsibility to others, self-awareness, financial intelligence, and curiosity. Participants in this workshop will develop these and other habits of mind necessary to succeed as freelance storytellers.

Guided by two experienced instructors, each participant will develop, research, draft, revise and complete a sample project in their chosen medium – print, video, audio, and still photography. The workshop sessions will feature a compelling mix of lectures on writing, photography, slide presentations, group and individual exercises, discussion, and one-on-one tutoring.

What You Will Learn

This four-part workshop will introduce each participant to the best practices of contemporary freelance storytelling. The focus is on researching, creating, and pitching nonfiction stories. Participants will learn how to:

  • Develop one or more “beats” aligned with their interests and training.
  • Learn how to conduct and transcribe effective interviews.
  • Imagine multiple outcomes from a single story
  • Research, outline, and complete a nonfiction story.
  • Cultivate story sources.
  • Embrace a brief, simple, and clear writing style.
  • Explore today’s marketplace for freelance storytelling.
  • Produce well-crafted queries.
  • Track expenses for tax reporting.
  • Leverage social media.


The workshop includes three group sessions, conducted live and online:

  • Saturday, October 10, noon to 3 p.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. to noon Pacific
  • Saturday, October 24, noon to 3 p.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. to noon Pacific
  • Saturday, November 7, noon to 2 p.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. to noon Pacific

Additionally, every participant will receive a 20-minute, one-on-one meeting with each instructor to refine a pitch, improve their chosen project and receive personalized advice and feedback. .

Each group session is presented live over Zoom video conferencing, to maximize opportunities for participants to ask questions and interact with other students. Group sessions are recorded, however, for access by participants later.


Jay Atkinson

Jay Atkinson is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, investigative journalist, and itinerant amateur athlete from Methuen, Massachusetts. He is the author of two novels, a story collection, and five narrative nonfiction books. Atkinson’s latest book, Massacre on the Merrimack: Hannah Duston’s Captivity and Revenge in Colonial America, received the 2016 Massachusetts Book Award Honors in nonfiction. Ice Time, was a Publisher’s Weekly notable book of the year in 2001, and Legends of Winter Hill was on the Boston Globe bestseller list for several weeks in 2005.

Atkinson’s narrative nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, Men’s Health, Boston Globe and many other publications. A former two-sport college athlete, Atkinson has competed in rugby for three decades and is the author of Memoirs of a Rugby-playing Man. He teaches journalism at Boston University.

Greg Marinovich

Greg Marinovich is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative photojournalist and co-author of The Bang Bang Club, a nonfiction book on South Africa’s transition to democracy, as well as Murder at Small Koppie, based on his investigations into the Marikana massacre of miners by police. This was awarded the Alan Paton prize for non-fiction in 2017.

He has spent 25 years doing photojournalism and filmmaking around the globe. In 2009 he was the recipient of the Nat Nakasa Award for courage and integrity, and was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University in 2013-144. He is an associate editor for the Daily Maverick, serves as a master lecturer at Boston University’s journalism and film & TV departments, and teaches photography at the Harvard Extension School.


The tuition to attend Succeed as a Freelancer is $599, due in full at registration and paid online with a major credit card only.

Enrollment for Fall 2020 is strictly limited to 20 students. Registration deadline is 5 p.m., Oct. 9, 2020.

Registered students may cancel and receive a full refund if the request is received by September 18, 2020. Send requests to: Boston University College of Communication reserves the right to cancel or reschedule the workshop due to low enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the college. In this case, applicants are entitled to a full refund. Boston University College of Communication will advise applicants at the earliest opportunity of changes to the scheduled workshop dates.

This fall, learn how to succeed as a freelancer.

Seats Limited to 20 Students. Register Today.