Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 23-29

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?

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Last week 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 June 29, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Independent media is the heart of a democratic society

by Amanda Stewart

On June 23rd, the Hamilton Independent Media Awards hosted a discussion panel at the Central Public Library in downtown Hamilton on the importance of independent media within a democratic society. 

The panel consisted of Michelle Both — managing editor of Unpack Magazine; Luz Hernandez — director of La Presencia Latina; Ryan McGreal — editor of the online news source Raise the Hammer; Nahnda Garlow — co-editor of Two Row Times; Terri Monture — human rights & equity representative of The Canadian Media Guild, and Joey Coleman — freelance independent journalist with the online news source The Public Record. Moderating the discussion was longtime Hamilton Spectator columnist Jeff Mahoney, who, although employed by a mainstream media (MSM) outlet, has managed to maintain integrity and an independent voice within a corporate and shareholder-dominated world.

Mahoney opened the event with commentary on the role independent media plays in this current frontier of great social change, and the immense value it has in providing ordinary people with a diversity of voices. Independent media has the power to not only project the voices of the oppressed, overlooked, shunned and neglected, but it can completely change mainstream narratives by bringing those voices and issues to the forefront, sparking immense social change. However, independent media is not without challenges.

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Posted on June 26, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Freelance journalist Laura Robinson’s lawsuit against John Furlong underway in BC Supreme Court

Freelance journalist Laura Robinson’s defamation trial against former Olympics CEO John Furlong has been underway in BC Supreme Court since last Monday. The lawsuit stems from an article that Robinson wrote in September of 2012 for Vancouver’s Georgia Straight newspaper in which several  of Furlong’s former students alleged that he physically abused them when he was a teacher at Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C., in 1969 and 1970.

Later on the same day that the Georgia Straight story was published, CBC published a similar story by another writer that included allegations of sexual abuse. At a news conference that day, Furlong denied any wrongdoing and accused Robinson of  a “shocking lack of diligence” in researching the story.

Furlong launched defamation lawsuits against both the Georgia Straight and Laura Robinson in November of 2012. Robinson launched a countersuit against Furlong in 2014, alleging that he had defamed her character in public statements. Furlong dropped the suit against the Georgia Straight in October of 2013. In March of this year, he dropped his suit against Robinson after a B.C. Supreme Court judge threw out a third civil suit against Furlong by a former Burns Lake student.

On the day that Furlong dropped his suit against her, Robinson stated that she would continue to pursue her own defamation suit.

Robinson has said that the legal activity that followed the publication of her article has had a detrimental effect on her health and finances. She said in court last week that Furlong’s dropped defamation suit against her cost her $150,000 in legal fees. A Georgia Straight story published last Wednesday, reported that in 2014 Robinson’s income “dropped to about $11,000, from a high in 2011 of more than $52,000″.

The court case has received significant media coverage over the past two weeks.

Last week Brian Hutchinson’s article in the National Post called Robinson’s original article about Furlong “questionable” and “incendiary.”

Canadaland’s Jesse Brown posted a rebuttal to Hutchinson’s article later the same day, pointing out that Robinson had collected stories from forty individuals — as well as eight sworn affidavits — about the alleged abuse.

The Globe and Mail has published articles summarizing each day of the trial (Monday, June 15Tuesday, June 16Wednesday, June 17Thursday, June 18Friday, June 19Monday June 22Tuesday, June 23Wednesday, June 24).

Jesse Brown, however, raised questions once again on yesterday’s Canadaland podcast about the ways in which the mainstream media has been covering the trial and whether racism has played a part in how the story has been framed.

The trial continues today with closing arguments expected tomorrow. The Globe and Mail’s Sunny Dhillon, CBC Vancouver’s Jason Proctor and CKNW’s Marcella Bernardo have all been tweeting about the trial using the hashtag #Furlong.

 

Posted on June 25, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 16-22

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?

From Canada:

 

From The U.S. and beyond:

 

Last week 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 June 22, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #21 — Ann Douglas

In this regular feature, Story Board asks Canadian writers to share a few details about their work habits and their strategies for navigating the ups and downs of freelance life.

 

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Ann Douglas has written more than a dozen books and over 1000 magazine articles on pregnancy and parenting. Her work has appeared in such publications as Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, and The Chicago Tribune. Once in a while, we’re lucky enough to have the Peterborough-based bestselling author stop by to write a post for Story Board, too.

Ann took the time recently to share her thoughts about the importance of honesty, a supportive community and regular exercise for freelance writers.

 

At what point in your writing career did you decide to specialize in parenting and why?

It’s funny because until I had children I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to write about. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t really have anything to say. I wrote real estate articles and health articles and all kinds of things, but once I had my first child and I lived through the experience of infant colic I suddenly felt like “okay, now I really have something to talk about.” Because day-to-day I’m struggling with this, trying to figure out what do you do when your baby’s colicky. And so my first article that was published after she was born was published when she was about six weeks old and it was called “We Survived Infant Colic.”

It’s interesting when I look back at that because that has sort of defined my whole career. I go through an experience and then I try to find a way to help other people as a result of what I’ve learned along the way.

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Posted on June 19, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

@crapwritinggigs Twitter account mocks low-paying jobs for writers

by Rachel Sanders

$5 per post. $0.02 per word. It’s numbers like these that make a freelance writer’s heart sink. And there’s no shortage of jobs with this kind of rock bottom writing rate being advertised on the internet these days.

For one writer, it all just got to be too much. Six months ago that person started a Twitter account called @crapwritinggigs.

Several times a week the account’s owner, identified only as “Freelance Writer,” posts links to poorly paid writing jobs along with grumpy comments and pointed observations about the company advertising the gig.

Story Board contacted the owner of the account through a direct Twitter message and received an anonymous email response shortly thereafter.
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Posted on June 17, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 9-15

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?

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Last week 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 June 15, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The Born Freelancer Applies for a Line of Credit, Part 2

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? Your input is welcome in the comments. Read Part 1 of this 2-part series on freelancers and credit here.

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t get it. bornfreel2

To recap:

I had applied for a line of credit at my bank, a bank to which I had given my business for over 30 years. (Little did I know that they were about to give me the business.)

In my favour I had:

* Lots of stuff

* An RRSP

* Paid off credit cards

* An excellent credit score

* A history of no debts

* A previously preauthorized offer for an LOC

* A modest but healthy bank balance

What could go wrong?

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Posted on June 12, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , , ,

How I learned to ‘bend time’ and put in an honest workday

By Angie Gallop

I’m a mother with two children under age five, a writer, the co-owner (with my husband) of a thriving freelance business and, oh… did I mention I run a small literary festival?

Between asking my four-year-old to stop wiggling so I can get her hair brushed; getting the 22 month-old into a new diaper; walking these children to school (something I would never miss); then coming home to carefully walk past the sinkful of dishes, basketful of laundry, and errant toys strewn on the floor to get to my desk; the amount of focus I need to get down to work can be daunting.

Never mind the temptation of e-mail and social media… open either I can be sunk for the day.

 

Willpower is like a muscle: it gets tired with use

One look at the lives of freelance writers, who typically work where they live, and it’s no wonder that the weekly planning, obsessive time-mapping, and lists – oh the lists – often don’t work.

Don’t get me wrong. Plans are good. But, it’s willpower, not lists and plans that makes or breaks a writer.

Which is why this writing assignment is a blessing: after years of preaching about the pomodoro technique, a time management method that supports the practice of willpower, I get to fully dive in and tell you about it.
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Posted on June 9, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 2-8

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?

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Last week 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 June 8, 2015 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,