June 23, 2015 Last Updated 2:57 pm

The Washington Post launches its own freelance talent service

The Washington Post Talent Network will attempt to draw in freelancers to pitch and create enterprise stories online and in print, all managed through new internal Post system

The Washington Post yesterday unveiled a new way for it to find freelancers, but one that is becoming used more often: it has established its own data online job board where freelancers apply to be included. Called The Washington Post Talent Network, freelancers identify their area of expertise – breaking news, enterprise or multimedia – and then apply to the Post.

Post-talentnetI’m not exactly sure how Post staffers will feel about the new system, as it obviously encourages outsourcing to freelancers, but the idea publicly being portrayed is that this will give Post editors more resources to use.

Freelancers accepted into the Talent Network are to be paid, though the Post gave out very few details in this regard.

I went through the process of registering so as to know what readers could expect, and not surprisingly the system seemed to get hung up at a point when the Post would suggest you link up your LinkedIn account with the Post (I’ve noticed that that LinkedIn website has been terribly slow for a while now).

After you have given the Post permission to see your LinkedIn profile your come under review by Post editors.

Thank you, your profile has been submitted for review. Because of the high volume, it may take up to 2 weeks for notification of status.

At some point you would need to complete a W-9 form, a direct deposit form, etc. But again, how much do you pay, guys?

The fact that the Post has already been inundated with applications is great for the Post, but sadly a sign that there remains too many underemployed journalists out there.

Here is the Post’s announcement in full:

Washington DC – June 22, 2015The Washington Post Talent Network, built in-house on a new technology platform, is a new tool for Post editors that enables top freelancers across the nation and around the world to cover breaking news for The Post and to pitch and create enterprise stories online and in print. The Talent Network represents a new model for covering far more subjects in far more places, allowing The Post to draw systematically and efficiently on the impressive journalistic talent in locations where it does not have full-time staffers.

The Talent Network will serve all departments at The Post, and all freelance assignments ultimately will be managed through the system. The system is expected to eventually include a full range of journalistic talent and specialties as well as journalists based overseas. Veteran editor and reporter Eva Rodriguez is rejoining The Post from Politico to become editor of the Talent Network.

The Washington Post Talent Network arose out of a project pursued by Anne Kornblut, then deputy national editor and now associate editor, as part of a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University. (See her video introduction here) The platform was developed by Jeremy Gilbert, the newsroom’s director of strategic initiatives, in collaboration with Greg Grieff and Jessica Witmer, from The Post’s engineering department.

Key features of The Washington Post Talent Network include:

  • Freelancer profiles, detailing professional experience and expertise and including work samples. Freelancers can import information from LinkedIn to save time and effort.
  • Story pitching, allowing freelancers to tailor ideas to every department and for individual editorial initiatives, including blogs.
  • Assignment posting, letting freelancers consider stories we wish to pursue.
  • Location tracking, ensuring editors know freelancers’ primary work locations, allowing quick deployment for breaking news.

Starting today, freelancers can build their own profile — including uploading clips — and request access to the network. Visit the Talent Network to get started.

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