There are thousands of great agencies out there. There are thousands of great reporters out there. And this is a wonderful site for these two groups of people to find each other. Who knows, it might be a match made in heaven.
But (you knew there would be one) there are agencies and reporters out there who aren't quite what they seem to be.
What can you do?
Well, of course, you can post on here and ask for referrals. Hopefully, people will send you an e-mail or let you know about their experience with the agency.
When I talk to brand new agencies, I ask them to give me at least the name of two reporters who has done work for them recently. And then I contact those reporters. Most agencies don't seem to have a problem with that. If they're legitimate, it shouldn't be a problem.
This, of course, is a two-way street. If an agency asks for a reference, I refer them to agencies that I have worked for in the past.
Also, I try not to do a ton of work with just one agency until I've actually received my first payment from them. This ensures that I don't end up being owed thousands of dollars by some agency and never getting paid, and then not being able to make rent.
So I hope you find lots of work, but be careful.