Dorri Olds Will Be Speaking on a Panel at the AAJA Writers Convention: Building a Successful Freelance Writing Career

August 21, 2013

This all-day workshop will help you develop the connections, skills and strategies you need to build a successful freelance career. Hear from other freelancers about how they’ve made it work. Meet top editors from the New York Times, Working Mother, Vogue, Quartz, Fortune and more and learn about the pitches they like to receive.

  • Where: City University of New York, 219 W 40th St New York, NY 10018
  • When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Course Outline

  • Session 1: Marketing 101 for the Independent Journalist: As an independent journalist, it’s up to you to pitch and market yourself. Get tips on pitching, negotiating and marketing yourself through social media and an online portfolio of your work.
  • Session 2: The Major Leagues of Print: Editors from the New York Times and Working Mother dissect the best stories they’ve published from freelancers. Learn the do’s and don’ts of pitching these major publications.
  • Networking Lunch Join us for a networking lunch. Here’s your chance to connect with fellow freelancers as we break up into small groups by interests and specialties. Share tips, contacts and ideas. Finish up with dessert and maybe even a lead on a new gig.
  • Session 3: Pursuing Digital Fame: Media companies are rolling out new online publications and increasingly seeking more online-only stories. Hear from online editors about the stories they’re looking for, how they’re  different from traditional print pieces and how to come up with that story that gets shared across Facebook and Twitter.
  • Session 4: Your Business Model: Get to the next level of freelance writing. Develop revenue and business goals, hone your niche and adopt other strategies that can help boost your career.

Speakers and Trainers

Pradnya (P.J.) Joshi
pj_joshiNews Editor/DealBook, The New York Times
Pradnya (P.J.) Joshi is news editor for DealBook, a section devoted to the coverage of finance and markets at The New York Times. She joined The Times as a staff editor on the metro copy desk in 2006 after working more than 13 years as a business reporter at various publications including Newsday and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She has covered various business and metro beats including corporate fraud, economic development and telecommunications.

Mitra Kalita
mitra_kalitaIdeas Editor, Quartz
Mitra Kalita is the ideas editor at Quartz, an online global business publication launched in 2012 by Atlantic Media. She worked previously at The Wall Street Journal, where she edited coverage of the Great Recession, launched a local news section for New York City and, most recently, reported on the housing crisis. She also launched Mint, a business paper in New Delhi, and has previously worked for The Washington Post, Newsday and the Associated Press. She is the author of three books.

Thessaly La Force
thessaly-laforceCulture Editor for
Thessaly La Force is the culture editor for She is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was Meta Rosenberg Fellow and the recipient of the Friedman Prize for Excellence in Fiction. Prior to Iowa, she worked at The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and The New York Public Library. She now lives in New York City.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis

katherine_lewisIndependent Journalist
Katherine Lewis is a Harvard-educated journalist with nearly 20 years’ experience writing for magazines, newspapers and online. A regular contributor to and Fortune magazine online, her expertise is money, work and family. Her freelance articles have appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, Money, The New York Times, Parade, MSN Money, Slate, USA Today’s magazines, Washington Post Magazine and Working Mother. Previously she was a national correspondent for Newhouse News Service.

Dorri Olds
Dorri OldsWriter, Social Media Consultant and Web Designer
Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer, social media consultant, and web designer. As an online marketing expert, she
teaches clients how to stand out online. Olds writes A-List celebrity interviews, movie and book reviews, and all things dog. Her YouTube channel boasts 168,000 views. Her work has appeared in book anthologies and many publications including The New York Times. Visit her at or on Twitter @DorriOlds and Facebook.

Scott Olster
Scott is an editor at, where he oversees the leadership, management, and careers coverage. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. @ScottOlster

Bao Ong
Food and Travel Writer

Jennifer Owens
jenniferowensEditorial Director, Working Mother Media
Jennifer Owens is editorial director of Working Mother magazine & director of the Working Mother Research Institute. As editorial director, Jennifer leads the editorial mission of Working Mother Media’s three brands — Working Mother, the National Association for Female Executives and Diversity Best Practices — through their print, online, social and digital channels, reaching more than 2 million readers nationwide.

Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Cheryl TanAuthor
Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York-based journalist and author of “A Tiger In The Kitchen: A Memoir of Food & Family” (Hyperion, 2011). She is the editor of the fiction anthology “Singapore Noir,” which Akashic Books will publish in April 2014, and is currently working on her first novel. She was a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, In Style magazine and the Baltimore Sun. Her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Food & Wine, Marie Claire, Bloomberg Businessweek, Martha Stewart Weddings, Chicago Tribune, The (Portland) Oregonian, The (Topeka) Capital-Journal and The (Singapore) Straits Times among other places.

Shane Snow
Co-founder, Contently
Shane Snow is a New York City-based technology writer, infographicker, and co-founder of, a new media company that empowers journalists and brand publishers. Shane has written for Wired, Fast Company, Mashable, Poynter, Gizmodo, and many others.

Scott Veale
Newsroom Editor for the Sunday Review section and former Arts and Leisure Editor, The New York Times

More speakers coming soon.


  • What attendees will take away: Attendees will connect with fellow freelancers and editors. They will fine tune their story ideas and hone their pitches. They will learn about new opportunities and places to find gigs, and receive tips on how to market themselves and stand out online with a digital portfolio. They will improve their negotiating skills and develop a set of revenue and business goals that will focus their freelance practice.
  • What attendees should bring: Story ideas and pitches for editors, portfolio, notebook, business cards and lots of questions.
  • See the latest panel news at