Welcome, Freelance Reporters!
This webpage is for freelance journalists and photographers who have been invited to contribute to Today’s Catholic.
Freelance writers and photographers are at the heart of executing the mission of Today’s Catholic: you are the face of Today’s Catholic present throughout the diocese, telling the story of the Catholic faith lived out in our diocese. Thank you!
Once you have been invited to freelance for Today’s Catholic, review the expectations outlined on this page and familiarize yourself with our style and processes.
Freelance Reporting: Getting Started
When you’re ready to write or photograph for Today’s Catholic, these are the steps to take to dive in.
Freelance reporters always opt-in to providing coverage. Opportunities for coverage are articulated on what we call the “budget.” The budget can be accessed anytime online through a live AirTable link that is emailed to reporters weekly and can be bookmarked to access any time. The budget also includes information like deadlines, notes on who to contact (if applicable), and more. Reporters can then request to write and/or photograph a particular coverage opportunity.
If the opportunity to coverage is an event, pay extra attention to the time between the event date and the submission deadline: This is how much time is available to write the story or process photos.
Once a reporter signs up to provide coverage, the next step is to do one or both of the following:
- Contact the appropriate person or people to conduct interviews
- Attend the event
Do not delay in making contact, as it may take time – sometimes several weeks – to receive a response.
When they make contact, freelance reporters are expected to:
- Be professional and in regard to verbal and written interactions.
- Be professional, respectful, and modest in appearance.
- Have familiarity with and be respectful of the Catholic Church, liturgy, Tradition, and chain-of-command.
- Submit stories by the deadline articulated on the budget. If you have trouble with a story, such as the inability to connect with a contact, challenges meeting a deadline, etc., please keep in contact with the editor. (At times, we have had to remove journalists from our string due to repeated late submissions.)
A credential will be provided to each freelancer and can be worn at the freelancer’s discretion. Should you need to request a new credential, contact [email protected]
The next step is to either write the story or to post-process photos and provide cutlines following the style guide and formatting expectations below.
A story is typically between 700 to 1200 words, depending on the story, but can extend beyond that in certain cases.
Within 48 hours of conducting an interview or attending an event, writers should submit their story and/or photos. Noon Friday following the event is the final deadline unless otherwise explicitly noted. (This allows Today’s Catholic editorial and publications staff time to process the article and prepare the print newspaper before it is sent to the printer at noon on Tuesday.)
All submissions should be edited and polished by the reporter such that he or she believes it could be published as-is and be considered quality work.
Writing is to be e-mailed as a document (Word, Google Doc, etc.) to [email protected].
Photography is to be submitted via dropbox.
Today’s Catholic reserves the right to edit and alter submissions to any extent as needed, as well as reserve the right not to run the submission.
The print edition of Today’s Catholic typically arrives in mailboxes on Thursdays. The print newspaper is dated for the following Sunday. Articles are published online on a rolling basis, with an effort to report on events in a timely manner.
No invoicing is necessary. W-9’s are required for payment (download here), and new freelancers will be contacted for payment information.
Payments should be submitted to the Business Office within a week of publishing. The Business Office of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend issues paper checks on the 10th, 20th and 30th of every month via mail. Direct deposit is not available.
If there are updates to information, such as a new address or name change, contact [email protected]
You and the reporting that you do is a gift to our diocese and the Catholic Church. We encourage you to share your work with your contacts and on social media so that, together, we can continue to tell the story of the Body of Christ living in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Follow Today’s Catholic on Facebook so that you can interact with content and help spread the word.
If you ever have an interest in going even further to help spread the word about Today’s Catholic, contact us.
Style Guide and Expectations
As a Today’s Catholic reporter, you are a representative of Today’s Catholic, of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, and of the Catholic Church.
Style Guide and Formatting
Document Naming Expectations
Cutlines for photos
All freelancers are encouraged to heavily review their work before it is submitted. To help toward that end, here is a checklist of ten things to review before submission:
- Is it accurate?
- Does it fulfill the mission to tell the Catholic story lived in our diocese in a manner that invites participation in that story?
- Are transitions smooth?
- Have redundancies been eliminated? Has the same word or phrase been repeated in the same paragraph or in multiple paragraphs?
- Are “Rhoades” and priests’ names, locations, and other words spelled correctly?
- Are Bishop’s quotes exactly as he wrote or spoke them, and in context?
- Use active voice whenever possible. (“Takes place” or “will take place” (not “will be taking place”)
- Check for one space between sentences, not two. This can be easily done with the “search and replace” feature in most word processing software.
- Are proposed headlines and cutlines included?
- If you’re submitting just photos, please include cutlines in the email or a Word document and indicate which photo each is for.
- Did you provide information about who took or supplied photos?
All photos are to be submittted with cutlines that summarize, in full sentences, what is happening in the pictures, even if it seems obvious. This can include a person’s name and location, as well as other details. If many photos are submitted, the photographer may group photos under one cutline. (Example: photos 1-14 may have the same cutline, 15 may have its own cutline, and photos 16-23 may also have the same cutline, etc.)
Pope Francis wears a traditional Indigenous headdress during a meeting with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities at Maskwacis, Alberta, July 25, 2022. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).
Sister Colleen Bauer, SSND, stands by the Blessed Mother statue in the front flower garden of her Goshen home. Sister Colleen recently retired from 35 years of teaching at St. John the Evangelist (46 years in the diocese) and celebrated her golden jubilee anniversary as a School Sister of Notre Dame. (Denise Fedorow)
Articles are to be named the issue number, followed by a logical name that the journalist is welcome to choose: “20DeaconOrdination” “41StMichaelAnniversary” “14TotusTuus”
Photos should be named the issue number, followed by the name of the event. E.g. “20DeaconOrdination.” If there are more than one photo, add a number: “20DeaconOrdination-1.”
Folders of photos should have the photographer’s name added to the end. The format should be the first initial of the first name followed by the last name. “14TotusTuus – jschipper”
All reporters are expected to adhere to these style and formatting expectations.
- Begin by following the parameters outlined in the AP Stylebook.
- The below-linked TC Style Guide outlines common terms from the CNS Stylebook, which Today’s Catholic follows, as well as Today’s Catholic formatting requirements and exceptions to both AP and CNS style.
- All articles are to be submitted with at least one headline option. More suggestions are welcome and appreciated!
Writers are to provide their own information-gathering tools (paper/pen, laptop, recorder, etc.). While some find it helpful to record interviews, others prefer to take notes. Each reporter may use his or her own methods.
Anytime a photographer is not assigned to the story, the writer is responsible for acquiring photos, either by asking for photos or some sort of imagery to be provided to you, or, if capable, take your own. (For example, if you are conducting an interview, take or request a headshot and submit to Today’s Catholic. When photos are provided to you, included information on how to credit the photo.)
Photographers are to provide their own camera. It is expected that all photographers are capable of taking professional-quality photos.
Examples of Quality Writing