For one to practice as a journalist in Zimbabwe there is need to register with media board.
One can also opt to practice without registering but will face challenges in providing media coverage to restricted events that might require production of a media card.
A journalism qualification and or published journalism work is a pre-requisite for one to be accredited with Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Accreditation is a requirement for one to practice freely as a journalist in the country.
If the applicant is not employed by a registered media organisation, he or she can apply to be accredited as a freelance journalist.
A freelance journalist can moonlight for different media organisations for a fee.
Working as a freelance journalist comes with some challenges especially for those who never worked in established media houses.
This write-up will highlight some of the challenges that are faced by freelance journalists as they try to penetrate the media landscape.
Shortage of Media Gigs
The economy in the country is not performing well and the media industry is adversely affected.
The media business is financed by monies that come through advertisements, currently the adverts are not coming as businesses are complaining of little or no returns at all.
Media houses are not employing and most of them are even outlaying employees.
New entrance freelance scribes face the challenges of lacking the newsroom experience, sources of news and media diaries as they will not have contacts.
Competition with Experienced Writers
Since media houses are rentrenching employees, the number of freelance journalists are increasing as they are coupled with fresh graduates who are being chunned out from media schools dotted around the country.
Competition for media work is rife and the experienced personnel normally take over most of the freelance jobs as they have the advantage of being on the mailing list of most of the news sources and have contact information of public relations officers of certain organisations which might be needed in the work to be done.
Journalist working for media houses are equipped and better resourced than most of the freelancers and it becomes a challenge for beginners to compete with media houses and provide better work than the latter.
Lack of Experience
Trying a hand as a freelance journalist comes with a lot of challenges. Lack of experience affects start up journalists.
Where to start so as to practice as a journalist is usually a challenge and many have left before they even started.
New freelance writers might not be aware of how to pitch stories to media houses.
Generating journalistic ideas besides the college theory is a biggest challenge for beginners.
This scribe will write another blog on which procedures to follow to be successful as start up freelance journalists in Zimbabwe.
Lack of Cooperation From Media Stakeholders
Most of the media stakeholders like analyst, public relations personnel or sources of news are reluctant to open up to new journalists unlike to those who they have created a working history with.
A start up freelance journalists faces challenges of unanswered phone calls, unreplied emails and messages as well as read but unreplied WhatsApp chats.
Some sources of news may want to remain anonymous and they will not share certain information if they are not sure if the journalist can protect their identity.
If a freelance pitch an idea to an editor of a media house, sometimes the idea might be spiked but later to read or view the same story in their media.
Limitation of Resources
Most of the start up freelance journalists normally opt for freelance jobs when they had failed to find employment.
There is need for money for transportation and data.
This can be a challenge as internet data in the country is expensive and not durable as well.
Journalists need money for transportation to physically cover events and this might be a challenge to journalist who have no instream revenue to cater for that.
Gadgets such as laptops, cellphones or cameras are needed in the daily works of journalists and might be a challenge for freelancers who need to work first so as to acquire them later.
Lack of tools of the trade jeopardise work output and can even affect retaining certain jobs.
It is important to understand challenges that one might face in an industry so that necessary measures might be taken before embarking on the journey.
Every Challenge have a solution.
In the next edition of the blog, will highlight how new start-up freelance journalist can adapt to the volatile media environment.