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The Business of Freelance Writing: 6-week Intensive with Omar Mouallem

($) CAD
  • ($) USD
WOOCS v.2.3.1


Instructor: Omar Mouallem
Date: Wednesdays, July 17 – August 21, 2024 @ 7–9pm EST

As the media landscape transforms with shrinking mastheads, transnational storytelling, and articles becoming TV and podcast “I.P.”, an independent journalism career has never looked more appealing or necessary. No longer a career stepping stone, freelancing is now the desired destination for many journalists. But how do you support and sustain yourself as a self-employed writer? Award-winning journalist Omar Mouallem will teach you how to pitch the right story to the right market at the right time. Having freelanced for countless outlets around the world — from Canadian Geographic to the South China Morning Post — students will learn how to generate new ideas, organize them, and sell them a few different ways. Designed with freelancer rights in mind, the course also covers sensitive issues around copyright, payment, and common disputes. Students will leave with three completed pitches, plus researching, feature-writing, and (tactful) self-promotion skills.

14 in stock


Recommended Prerequisite:

This course was designed for writers with a minimum basic understanding of journalism principles and techniques, so it’s recommended that registrants have some experience in journalism or nonfiction writing (including blogs, podcasts, radio, and newsletters). Of course, we also welcome writers of all levels of skill/imposter syndrome, and promise to do our best to meet your needs. If you’re unsure whether it’s a good fit, just ask us and we’ll be honest.


Wednesdays, 7–9pm EST (4–6pm Pacific)
July 17 – August 21, 2024

  • Class 1: Introduction to freelance journalism / Understanding the marketplace / Conflicts of Interest
  • Class 2: Pay rates and making a living / Thinking outside the margins of traditional storytelling / Mastering the pitch
  • Class 3: Generating original ideas / Conflict resolution with subjects and editors
  • Class 4: Contracts, copyright and intellectual property / Invoicing, expenses, and taxes
  • Class 5: Getting the most out of your online presence / Marketing and networking
  • Class 6: Expanding your horizons (books, documentaries, and punditry) / Time-management


Omar Mouallem is an author, journalist, filmmaker, magazine editor, and educator. He’s freelanced for over 100 outlets, including The Guardian, WIRED, and NewYorker.com; appeared on Al Jazeera, WNYC, and other networks; and received three National Magazine Awards and other honours. Several of his articles have been adapted into books and movies, including Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas, which was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2021. He also wrote, directed and produced The Last Baron, a first-person food documentary for CBC Gem. Omar is also the “fake dean” of Pandemic University, a virtual school he founded in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Pandemic University is committed to offering a fulfilling and inclusive education. Classes are held via Zoom with Closed Captioning features enabled through auto-transcription technology. The course includes group exercises and class discussions, thus students are required to participate through audio; accommodations can be made for people with speaking or other disabilities if they inform us ahead of schedule. Video is encouraged of all students in order to optimize everyone’s virtual classroom experience.

The course is intended for live participation, however, if you can’t be present for a class, or must leave early, a recording will be provided in the student folder the morning after.

You’re expected to be present and intellectually curious during class time. In addition to attending each class, you are expected to be available across all dates to complete your writing assignments. If your work is more than 48 hours late, however, you may or may not get feedback. If you’re going to blow a deadline, simply tell us and group mates.


After checkout, you’ll receive a receipt with a link to download your syllabus, which will include Zoom passcodes and additional course information. You will also receive an emailed reminder a few days before your first class.


Space is limited to 16 students. Anyone wishing to cancel their registration has until July 10th, 2024 to receive a guaranteed refund. If you cancel between July 10th and 16th, 2024, we will only offer a refund if and after the vacated spot is filled. No refunds whatsoever will be offered after the course begins on July 17th, 2024. Violations of the Code of Conduct may also result in your removal from the course without compensation.


Although PanU is technically a fake university, we’re committed to high standards of artistic integrity, quality education, and maintaining a safe virtual environment for students. Abusive behavior toward classmates or instructors will not be tolerated at any point during the course, including in private messages, and will result in expulsion without refund.

Other violations that could have you expelled from this course include: refusing to participate in group exercises; plagiarism and misrepresentation of others’ ideas as your own; sharing recordings of classes; sharing classmates’ work without their consent; and racism, sexism, homophobia, or other bigotry either in your notes feedback to classmates or in your written work.

The final say on whether or not you continue in class belongs to the instructor alone. If you have any questions, email info@pandemicuniversity.com.