Freelance Journalist

November 11, 2019 (Updated )

Developing a specialism is something we often hear a lot about and it’s true that it’s often an excellent way to get in to trade journalism.  Adam Shepherd began his career at PCAdvisor and PCPro, then joined IT Pro, Dennis Publishing’s B2B IT division, before landing an editor role in August 2018.

Nominated for New Business Media Journalist of the Year in the 2017 PPA New Talent Awards (so, he really does know his stuff), Adam speaks with Journo Resources about foldable phones, personal comms, and what surprises him most about his job…

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My day starts at…​

We work in a hot-desking environment, so on Mondays and Fridays the whole team gets in at 8.30am to ensure we can all sit together and finish at 4.30pm.

For the rest of the week, I work from 10am till 6pm. To keep track of breaking news, I use a tool called Feedly, an RSS reader that tracks topics you’re interested in.

I also spend about half an hour on the way to work catching up on my Twitter feed, and I subscribe to a few newsletters as well.​

My typical day involves…​

A lot of admin, generally, so if I’m not covering an event or a
conference I’ll come in and work through my to-do list.

This involves editing and publishing reviews, sourcing review units, commissioning reviews from freelancers and managing the review output of our staff writers.

I also manage the IT Pro Panel, so there’s a fair amount of admin involved in that, including sorting out panellists and writing up features based on the monthly discussions.​

One of the many conferences and award ceremonies Adam has been too. (Image Credit: Twitter)

I always thought I would be…

I always wanted to do something that involved writing. It was the only thing I was ever actually any good at. I was never that good at technical stuff like maths or science. It wasn’t until I got into my second year at university that I actually decided I wanted to go into journalism, though.​

Want to know more about specialist journalism? If you just read one thing, read this love letter to trade journalism from Rachael Revesz.

I got the job because…

My very first journalism work experience was at PC Advisor, so I did two months there and then three at PC Pro. They did not have a budget at the time to take a full-time staff writer, so I did freelance work for them after that. They got me to cover CeBIT, which was part of a joint campaign between PC Pro and IT Pro.

After that, IT Pro offered me a few months of in-house freelance cover, followed shortly afterwards by a full-time position. I kind of stumbled into it, to a large degree.​

If people wanted to follow in my footsteps, I would say…

I would say to them the best thing you can do is pitch articles. Think of good feature ideas and just pitch them to commissioning editors, who are always looking for more features.

No idea how to pitch? Well, luckily for you we can help. Here’s a big list of ones which were successful – and you can also see where they ended up.

Even if they don’t have any budget at that time, they are much more likely to accept your pitches when they do have budget if you’ve already pitched them something good.​

IT Pro, where Adam works now. (Image Credit: Screenshot)

The thing I am most proud of is…​

The relationship that I’ve built with Eben Upton, the founder of the Raspberry PI Foundation. I interviewed him in 2016; he’s a fascinating guy and it was a lovely interview.

We’ve done a couple of interviews and we’re on quite good terms now. He’ll occasionally email me out of the blue to talk about new projects that he’s working on, which is a nice vote of confidence. I’m quite proud of that.​

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The thing that surprises me most about my job is…

One of the things that surprises me most is how quickly you get tired of technology.

Take foldable phones, for example – three or four years ago, if you told me we’d all be looking at foldable phones, that would have blown my mind.

But now, when a company announces they’re making a foldable device, I just think, “Oh god, not another one!” Stuff like that quickly loses its shine.​

After work…

I usually either go home and play a bit of PlayStation and cook dinner, or go to the pub and drink a few beers. Tech companies and PR firms often put events on in the evenings, so I’ll head along to those when they come up.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied