Read as James Raia gets JobShadowed about his career.  You can find James on his website www.jamesraia.com and on his Twitter feed in the sidebar of this interview.  

What do you do for a living?goodjames3

Freelance writer, editor, publisher for newspapers, magazines, websites, news services.

How would you describe what you do?

Independent reporter. I thrive on news.

What does your work entail?

Contributing to online and print publications in the areas of sports, business, travel and human interest.

What’s a typical work week like?

Home office, most days. I travel to sporting events and automotive events about 50 days per year.

How did you get started?

After working for three newspapers, the Contra Costa Times, Sacramento Bee and Monterey County Herald, I began to follow endurance sports, cycling, running and triathlon and mainstream sports, as a freelancer for USA Today, Associated Press and Reuters . . . as well as hometown newspapers, in 1987.

What do you like about what you do?

Independence. I travel the world .(more than 20 countries on assignment)

What do you dislike?

Asking editors for money when payment is late. Hustling for work.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated? 

Per word, per day, per feature. It works in many different ways.

How much do you make?  

$0-25,000       ____

$25k-$35k       ___x_ (depending upon year)

$50k-75K         __x__ (depending upon year)

$75k-100k       ____

$100-$200k    ____

$200k-$300k  ____

$300k+         ____

Additional comments:

The freelance world is changing rapidly and largely not for the better. Markets are tight and it takes an incredible amount of discipline to make a living.

How much money did/do you make starting out? 

Very little, less than $10,00 per year.

What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?

Journalism degree, the ability to write on deadline. Versatility.

What is most challenging about what you do?

Doing several jobs simultaneously . . . writing, editing, publishing, bookkeeping, etc.

What is most rewarding?


What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Feast or famine is the reality of freelancing.

How much time off do you get/take?

Mostly working vacations.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

Writing is easy.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

One good “anchor client.”

What else would you like people to know about your job/career?

I enjoy teaching about writing and freelancing and have done so via an e-book and at UC Davis Extension.