I send an email invoice with each job (for those reporters who are online) and print and mail all hard copies of invoices every Friday. That way I usually get at least a few checks every week.
(As far as) getting paid, of course there's no way to guarantee you'll get paid on the first job from a reporter. That's why I think it's a good idea to start with a small to medium job. If doing the first job was a good experience (for you) and the reporter wants to send more work, I think it's fair to ask for payment of the first invoice before you take additional work, just to get off to a good start payment-wise. Reporters who truly want a good working relationship with you will be happy to do so. If we let a reporter build up a large outstanding amount and we continue to accept more work from them, we're just asking for problems.

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