Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 10-15

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada: 

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on January 15, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Webinar: Reporting on Labour Issues with Sara Mojtehedzadeh

When Toronto Star reporter Sara Mojtehedzadeh went undercover on the croissant production line in a Toronto factory, she learned firsthand what workers were experiencing.

“I was really conscious of keeping up with the pace of production and not losing my job and doing things right and making sure I didn’t get fired,” she told Story Board during a phone interview.

She was so preoccupied with the tasks at hand, she said, that she had no time to think about her safety around the powerful machinery in the industrial bakery.

“I think that’s exactly why these workers are vulnerable. Because you don’t get the training and you don’t have enough time to think about your surroundings and you don’t necessarily have the experience or knowledge to know what is a safety hazard and what isn’t,” she said.

Her undercover stint resulted in an explosive story about working conditions at the factory and the company’s extensive use of vulnerable temporary workers.

Mojtehedzadeh is presenting a webinar for CMG Freelance on January 31st in which she’ll share her experiences and the lessons she’s learned during three years spent reporting on the changing workplace and workers’ rights.
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Posted on January 12, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

The Born Freelancer on Making New Year’s Resolutions

This series of posts by the Born Freelancer shares personal experiences and thoughts on issues relevant to freelancers. Have something to add to the conversation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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The trouble with most New Year’s resolutions is that they are almost always doomed. They are unrealistic and wholly out of character. And of course any less-doomed resolutions made at the same time also tend to be discarded by association.

“This is the year I’m going to write the great Canadian novel!”

“Impossible!”

“Really? OK. Well then, forget it… and my other resolution about losing 5 pounds by summer.”

Not that we should ever too easily concede that our most deeply cherished dreams are impossible. It’s often our job after all to dream dreams for a living and to capture other’s dreams in print.

You could say that dreams constitute our raw material. They creatively nourish us and keep most of us moving forward. It’s just that making them into a resolution this time of year tends to add an unnecessary extra weight to them that few of us can comfortably shoulder.

So – is it even worthwhile to consider making resolutions?

Yes, I believe it is – but only if they are sensible decisions, consistent with your character, that you would be making anyway regardless of the New Year.

My “resolutions”

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Posted on January 10, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 5-9

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada: 

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on January 9, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Freelancers use social media to learn business of freelancing, build community

This post is the twelfth in a series called “E-Lancer Writes,” exploring the working conditions, rights and collective organizing strategies of freelance journalists, interns and other low-wage or temporary digital media workers.

By Errol Salamon

When graphic designer Saeid Halvaeian quit his day job and turned to freelancing full time in 2013, he had no plans to launch six Meetup and Facebook groups for freelancers across the United States.

Although Halvaeian, a Houston-based freelancer, was comfortable with the creative side of graphic design, he knew little about the business side of freelancing. So he launched a Meetup.com group called Houston Freelance Graphic Designers to learn more. Five people attended the first monthly meetup at a local coffee shop to talk about the freelance business.

“The basic premise was getting people together around a common interest and meeting in the real world,” Halvaeian said in a phone interview. “My original intent was to get information from people who have their own businesses and learn from them, and take the lessons I learn from them and use them in my business.”

Halvaeian started the Facebook group for members to communicate online between the meetups.

“We had such great conversations once a month, so I thought, ‘What a shame we meet only 12 times out of 365 days. Let’s establish some sort of way to communicate online,’” he said. “[The Facebook group] is a place where, every day, people get to ask questions and get answers from any of the members.”
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Posted on January 5, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: 

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Dec 28-Jan 4

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada: 

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

  • New Year’s resolutions, freelance style: We canvassed over a dozen writers working in a broad range of non-fiction genres; from travel writing to politics to science to energy to the environment. The questions were “Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution for your writing/journalism career, and how did it work out?” And, “Are you making any resolutions for 2018?”…
  • News Literacy Project sees big uptake in Canadian schools: When the News Literacy Project launched its classroom program in 2009, the term “fake news” had not yet achieved notoriety. But Alan Miller, the project’s president and CEO, had already realized there was a growing challenge, particularly among young people, to interpret online information

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on January 4, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

New Year’s Resolutions, Freelance Style

by Steven Threndyle

Between the time the last gift is unwrapped on Christmas Day and the moment the first champagne bottle is popped on New Year’s Eve, many of us take stock of “the year that was” and set our sights on the year ahead.

In order not to feel regretful when this introspective period arrives at the same time next year, many of us undertake New Year’s resolutions—the vast majority of which we’ll fail at. (A cursory scan of news stories puts the ‘fail’ rate at somewhere between 80 and 92 percent.)

If there is one thing writers know, it’s rejection and failure, so the very nature of the writing life might lead us to avoid this exercise altogether. We wanted to find out, so we canvassed over a dozen writers working in a broad range of non-fiction genres; from travel writing to politics to science to energy to the environment. The questions were “Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution for your writing/journalism career, and how did it work out?” And, “Are you making any resolutions for 2018?”

The initial response was not encouraging, as travel writer Chuck Thompson wrote simply, “no, no, and no.” Perhaps the most pragmatic answer was provided by NYC-based writer Caitlin Kelly, who tersely replied “I don’t make them. Market forces are beyond my control.”
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Posted on January 1, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

News Literacy Project sees big uptake in Canadian schools

When the News Literacy Project launched its classroom program in 2009, the term “fake news” had not yet achieved notoriety. But Alan Miller, the project’s president and CEO, had already realized there was a growing challenge, particularly among young people, to interpret online information.

“Sometimes we say we were the antidote to fake news long before it became such a popular term,” Miller told Story Board during a phone interview.

The non-profit project works with teachers and journalists to help students learn to distinguish fact from fiction online. Miller, who was a reporter with the Los Angeles Times for 21 years and spent 14 years on the paper’s investigative team in Washington, said many young students believe that all information is created equal – that anything published online must be true. By high school, he said, students are often quite cynical, believing that all news is driven by bias or agenda, whether personal, political or commercial.

After the 2016 U.S. election, Miller said, the revelations about viral rumours, conspiracies and hoaxes were a wake-up call to the seriousness of the problem and the threat that it represents to democracy.

“We feel like we’ve gone from being a voice in the wilderness to an answer to a prayer. One of my board members said ‘what does it feel like to be an overnight sensation after nine years of hard work?’” he said.
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Posted on December 29, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Dec 19-27

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada: 

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

  • Webinar – Get the most out of your Instagram account: Social media expert Katt Stearns will have lots of tips on how to use Instagram in her next webinar, including advice on building your account, proper use of hashtags, engaging your audience, and using Instagram to share images to other platforms…

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on December 27, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Webinar: Get the Most Out of Your Instagram Account

Pictures are worth thousands of words and Instagram is where everyone is a photographer. With over 800 million users, it’s a social media platform you can’t ignore.

Social media expert Katt Stearns will have lots of tips on how to use Instagram in her next webinar, including advice on building your account, proper use of hashtags, engaging your audience, and using Instagram to share images to other platforms.

Get the Most Out of Your Instagram Account is scheduled for Thursday, January 11 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. 

Katt Stearns is the founder of Katt Stearns Consulting. She has worked with numerous small and medium sized organizations helping them develop marketing strategies to share their stories and grow their organizations. Katt is the recipient of the 2015 Canadian Digital Marketer of the Year Award and was also nominated for the 2014 British Columbia Small Business Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. You can connect with Katt on Twitter at @KattStearns.

Register for the webinar at this link. CMG Freelance and CWA Canada Associate Members can use their membership numbers to register. And for a limited time, CMG Freelance is making live viewing of our webinars available to non-members. If you’d like to watch this one, you can use the special code “Storyboard” in place of a membership number.

This is the fourth in Katt’s series of social media webinars for CMG Freelance. Her previous webinars on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are archived for members to watch on the CMG Freelance website.

 

Posted on December 21, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,