Magazine Journalism Course at NZ Writers' College.3.jpg

Freelance Journalism for Magazines and Webzines

Learn to write a standout article for print or web publications.

The Freelance Journalism Course provides a complete toolkit to teach you how to plan, research and write a professional article. Whether you want to write articles for local or international publications, you will walk away with two saleable articles and the skills required to write for both magazines and webzines.


  • how to come up with winning ideas for articles
  • how to pitch story ideas to magazines and webzines
  • how to write compelling openers, article bodies and closers
  • how to write how to's, celebrity profiles, opinion pieces, topical scoops, informative pieces, human interest stories and humour columns
  • How to write bylines, pull quotes, sidebars and contributor bios
  • how to conduct interviews and research, and
  • how to make an income as a freelance writer.


Magazines in which our students have been published

Magazines in Which Our Journalism Students Have Had Articles Published


“My experience on the course was mind-blowing. I was seriously impressed by the thoroughness of the course, the kindness, availability and efficiency of the staff and tutors.”

Tracy Brooks, Magazine Journalism Course



Course Details:


Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Cost: $ 1295.00 GST inclusive
  • Modules: 11 Modules over 300 pages
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace: between six and twelve months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round
  • 20 writing exercises with feedback on each (11 for formal assessment)
  • 1 query letter
  • 1 cover letter
  • 2 full-length articles of publishable quality
  • Student Feedback
  • Basic writing skills are essential
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • Use of Microsoft Word and the 'track changes' function
  • No previous tertiary qualification required


Tutors for this course:

Ewan McDonald
Donna Dailey
Ewan McDonald is a multi-award-winning editor, journalist and critic. As features editor of the NZ Herald, editor of The Aucklander, and as a travel and food & wine writer, he and his teams have won more than 50 national and international awards. Read more about Ewan here>   Donna Dailey is a multi-award-winning writer and photographer whose work appears in magazines, newspapers and websites worldwide. Read more about Donna here.
Hayley Leibowitz
Over her 20-year career in the media industry, award-winning writer Hayley Leibowitz has published articles in a variety of magazines, ranging from glossies like Your Family, Infinity Magazine and Food & Home, to newspapers such as the Mail & Guardian. Read more here.    

(You may select a tutor in your application motivation or we will assign a tutor to you who we feel most suits your areas of interest)

Read about graduates who had articles published after completing the course.


Course Curriculum

Module 1 - The Genre of Magazine Writing

  • Distinguish magazine writing from other genres of writing
  • Acquire an understanding of the elements that characterise magazine journalism
  • Get answers to FAQ about a career in Magazine Journalism
  • Writing Exercise 1: Practise writing scenes that “show” rather than “tell” (assessment and feedback task)

Module 2 - Targeting your Market

  • Analyse a magazine in terms of content, style, format, tone, target market and demographic.
  • Learn how to match your writing with that of a selected magazine.
  • Distinguish between the different types of articles found in magazines.
  • Writing Exercise 2: Analyze the demographic, style, tone and format of a selected magazine (assessment and feedback task)

Module 3 - Topics that Sell

  • Know where and how to find sellable ideas.
  • Learn techniques for generating ideas
  • Distinguish between a topic and an angle.
  • Study an overview of prominent international publications.
  • Writing Exercise 3: Refining topics into angles; Coming up with an angle for an article (feedback task)

Module 4 - Pitching Ideas to Editors

  • Find out how to write the perfect query letter
  • Distinguish between writing on speculation versus querying and being commissioned
  • Writing Exercise 4: Write a query letter

Module 5 - Getting the Facts Straight

  • Plan and map a structure of your piece
  • Learn interviewing techniques
  • Source reliable information
  • Understand what plagiarism is, and how to avoid it.
  • Writing Exercise 5: Map out your proposed article, ensuring logical flow of content (feedback task)
  • Conduct your interviews and research.

Module 6- The Compelling Opener

  • Distinguish the critical elements for writing a compelling lead
  • Identify the different types of introductions
  • Writing Exercise 6: Write a compelling opening to your article (feedback and assessment task)

Module 7- Body-Building Part I

  • Identify the main components of an article
  • Use a basic story structure to map out your piece
  • Use transitions and logical flow to make reading easy
  • Writing Exercise 7: Testing knowledge on logical flow of content, use of transitions, constant Point of View and tenses (assessment and feedback task)
  • Writing Exercise 8: Begin to write up the body of your article

Module 8 - Body-building Part II

  • Identify the main grammar, style and punctuation rules
  • Know the rules for apt usage of quotations
  • Find out how to create catchy sidebars and resource boxes
  • Writing Exercise 9: Panel-beating the body into shape (feedback task)

Module 9 - Closing Off In Style

  • Identify the different types of closers
  • Writing Exercise 10: Write the closer for your piece (feedback task)

Module 10 - The Final Cut

  • Edit your piece by following basic guidelines
  • Understand the different kinds of cover letters and how to submit your piece in a professional way
  • Invoice and organize payment for your stories
  • Understand the basics of copyrighting and syndication
  • Writing Exercise 11: Edit your piece and submit it with a cover letter. (assessment and feedback task)

Module 11 - Writing for Webzines

  • How writing magazine articles for the Web is different
  • Using keywords, headlines and hyperlinking
  • Writing an article for a Webzine
  • Writing Exercise 12: Write a 600-word article according to a given brief for a specific online platform (assessment and feedback task)


“My tutor was brilliant. She gave super speedy replies, great advice and constructive feedback. Overall it was a fantastic experience. I would recommend the Writers College to anyone wanting to hone their writing skills." 

Jason Doughty, Magazine Journalism Course



How does the course work?

Detailed class notes covering the content of each module are e-mailed to students.

At the end of each module, students will be required to complete one or two writing exercises. In total, the course includes 20 writing assignments, many of which count towards the final result of the student. Students must produce one query letter (300 - 600 words), one cover letter (up to 300 words) and two feature-length articles (600 - 1600 words).

Once a writing assignment has been completed, and e-mailed to the lecturer, an assessment and feedback will be sent to the student, and the module will be considered complete. Students can also participate in ongoing online discussions by posting comments about the materials covered in the course or other issues pertaining to writing in the college blog.


Conditions of Certification:

Students will receive an NZ Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Students must have completed all assignments (namely: 20 writing exercises, including 1 query letter, 1 cover letter, 2 articles)
  • The course must have been completed within twelve months of registration.
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course

Minimum Estimated Time Commitment:

  • Reading time: 15 hours
  • Writing time: up to 40 hours
  • Research time: up to 20 hours, depending on the complexity of the selected topics for articles.

Need more advice about the best course for you?

We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our writing courses.

If you need some advice about the best course or writing field for you, drop us a line or give Koos or Nichola a call at 09 550 4635. We can tell you about going rates in the field, chance of publishing success and general writing career options both in New Zealand and internationally.

  • If you have questions about how we work, we have information in our FAQ section and How We Train section.
  • If you want to pay off your course fee, please read the information here.
  • For information on our refund policy, please read our policies here.
  • To register for the course, please click here:

Click here to enrol


Feedback on this course from past students

“I really enjoyed the course.  Both the course material and the tutor made is easy to understand and fun to do. My tutor was brilliant. She gave super speedy replies, great advice and constructive feedback. Overall it was a fantastic experience and practical too. I would recommend the Writers College to anyone wanting to hone their writing skills.” Jason Doughty, Magazine Journalism Course
“The course was very informative and interesting. The course notes are very detailed and easy to understand. My tutor was very helpful and her feedback was insightful. I really learned a lot from her. From my initial query until the end I found everybody at The Writers’ College very professional and helpful.  I really enjoyed the experience and can’t wait to start my next course.” Elzanne Amao, Magazine Journalism Course

“This course has given me a fantastic ‘taste’ of a career I hadn’t previously considered, and has provided me with some really practical skills and knowledge. Sarah was a fantastic tutor – she provided detailed feedback on all my assignments and was extremely encouraging throughout the course. I have learnt a huge amount from her. She kept in regular contact so I stayed on track but she never rushed me. Being able to work at my own pace and do everything online has made it possible to complete the course while having a demanding full time job. I have learnt a lot about the basics of Magazine Journalism and have produced two articles I’m really proud of.” Kirstin Fisher, Magazine Journalism Course

“It was challenging but it was worth it. I enjoyed all of it and I have learned a lot of skills that will help me in my journey to become a journalist. Tracey was professional , she helped me, supported me throughout the course. Overall, I loved it and I would definitely do another course with The Writers’ College.” Candice Stephen, Magazine Journalism Course

“It was a very well structured course that is perfect for extramural learning and a great introduction into the magazine journalism industry. I received amazingly thorough feedback that was helpful, encouraging and practical. My tutor really made this course for me and went over and above all my expectations. For someone looking to enter the industry, but with no experience, this course has given me knowledge of magazine journalism as well as get me started with writing samples and the confidence to submit query letters.” Esta Chappell, Magazine Journalism Course



More Testimonials Here




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About Us

NZ Writers College is a leading online writing school in New Zealand.

We offer specialised, online writing courses tutored by award-winning writers. Get the writing tools you need, expert insider advice and hours and hours of writing practice. Work one-to-one with a professional writer and realise your writing dreams.



NZ Writers College offers online writing classes all over New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. We have students from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Whangarei, Rotorua, Hastings, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, as well as Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, Australia.

Contact Us

Nichola Meyer or Koos Turenhout

Phone:      +64 9 550 4635

9-5 Monday to Friday

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