Calling All Freelancers!

November 1, 2011

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From left to right: Claire Bushey, Dawn Reiss, Elaine Glusac, David Bernstein, Lisa Skolnik, and Megan Cottrell.

Looking for valuable advice about how to be successful in the highly competitive and turbulent freelance marketplace?

Whether you’re a new freelancer (by choice or otherwise) or a seasoned pro, our talented panel of writers—and one editor—share practical tips to help you jumpstart this phase of your career or give you pointers on how to take your established work to the next level. The panel covers a wide range of topics, including: how to pitch stories, diversify your work through multiple channels, make the most of social media to stand out and get assignments, and manage the business side of your career.

Here’s the stellar panel we’ve assembled:

Dawn Reiss is a Chicago-based freelancer who covers the Midwest for TIME/Time.com and has written for 30+ outlets including: Travel + Leisure, CNN.com, Chicago magazine, Chicago Tribune, AAA Living, American Way, Life & Style, Boys' Life, Time Out Chicago, and a variety of other publications.  A former St. Petersburg Times and Dallas Morning News staff writer, Reiss has interviewed the likes of Maya Angelou in her home in Harlem, covered the trials of Rod Blagojevich, and eaten a cricket in Cambodia while on assignment. You can find her on Twitter at @dawnreiss and www.mediabistro.com/dawnreiss .

Elaine Glusac is a Chicago-based freelancer who writes about travel and food for publications including Afar, Conde Nast Traveler, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Everyday with Rachael Ray, Islands, National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times, Private Clubs, Shape, Spa and a fleet of in-flights. Elaine is a contributing editor at Virtuoso Life, and blogs for the New York Times’ In Transit and Four Seasons Hotels’ Have Family Will Travel. She favors back roads, speaks rusty Italian, and is learning the ukulele.

David Bernstein is a senior editor at Chicago magazine. Previously, he was a freelance writer, contributing frequently to The New York Times, Chicago, and Crain's Chicago Business. His work has also appeared in The Best Technology Writing 2006 (Digital Culture Books) and The Best American Crime Reporting 2007 (Harper Perennial). This year he received the Chicago Bar Association’s prestigious Herman Kogan Media Award in the print category as well as a Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism from the Chicago Headline Club.  David is also an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

Lisa Skolnik is a freelance writer and editor for consumer publications on a wide range of topics, including architecture, design, interiors, entertaining, food, finance, travel, family, health, shopping, beauty, style, small business andpsychology. Currently, she is a contributing editor to Chicago Home & Garden, Today’s Chicago Woman, Michigan Avenue, Chicago Architect, i4design, and Quintessential New Trier magazines, and contributing writer for the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday Magazine, Consumer Report’s Shop Smart magazine, Renovation Style and Luxe. She also writes for a wide range of consumer and trade publications and websites. These have included Travel & Leisure, Allure, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Interior Design, Coastal Living, Fodor’s, Crain’s Chicago Business, Consumer’s Digest, Interior Design, Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler, Dwell, discoveredge.com and more. She has written 15 books on home design and entertaining, and appeared on nationally syndicated television and radio shows discussing consumer issues. Her latest book, Pink Panther Entertains: Food, Drink and Game Plans for Purrfect Parties (Surrey Books), covers quick, easy and creative entertaining strategies and was released in 2009. Prior to 2009, she was the Chicago city editor for Metropolitan Home magazine for over two decades and the Chicago writer for Lucky magazine.

Megan Cottrell is a journalist and writer, primarily blogging and reporting for the Chicago Reporter, an award-winning investigative magazine. In 2009, she left her full time reporting job at The Chi-Town Daily News covering public housing to start her own blog, One Story Up, where she was able to write about her beat with a more authentic voice. In 2010, she won the Best Chicago Blog award from the Chicago Reader and was a 2010 finalist for best blog at the Peter Lisagor Awards, a Chicago journalism award. Megan has written for AOL, Change.org, NPR and other publications. She graduated from Central Michigan University in 2004 with a dual degree in Political Science and Social Science. She lives in Chicago with her husband, and they're expecting their first child in February.

Recorded Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at Uncommon Ground on Clark.