Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Sept 12-18

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 September 18, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Freelance journalists and responsible communication

By Brittany Duggan

It’s no secret that journalism today is in great flux.

For years, the industry has been negotiating fast-paced digital disruption.

This has required journalism to seek new ways to pay for itself while still serving its civic duty. The decline in resources means, among other things, a decline in the ability to pay for deeper, nuanced, investigated reporting.

With resources in decline at many media outlets, investigative work and reporting is sometimes left to freelancers. With the changes in the industry, there are ethical, legal and contractual issues that freelance journalists need to be aware of.

Freelancers and legal matters

At the same time as resources are shrinking, freelance contracts over the past decade have been increasingly asking freelancers to indemnify publishers from libel lawsuits. This means responsibility for defamation suits resulting from a freelancer’s work is placed entirely on the freelancer.

Signing such contracts is a risky proposition for a freelancer, a subject that you can read more about here and here.

With such contracts becoming more and more common, the risks associated with freelance journalism are increasing. What should freelancers – and indeed all journalists – do to ensure they are on solid legal ground when reporting on controversial topics?

When journalism moves faster, the law has to keep up

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Posted on September 15, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Canadian Writers Group comments on new Globe and Mail freelance agreement

Posted on September 14, 2017 at 4:01 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

National Post newsroom announces union drive

TORONTO, ONT.: It has been a year of unprecedented events, of things we once thought were beyond the realm of possibility. A reality television star is president of the United States. Ontario’s liquor control board is planning to sell marijuana. And the National Post is unionizing.

As a newspaper that has had a conservative editorial stance since its launch in 1998 and has remained Canada’s only major non-unionized newsroom ever since, this will come as a surprise to many. But a lot has changed since 1998. The financial condition of our parent company, Postmedia, has significantly deteriorated. And even though we are Postmedia’s flagship newspaper and our staff have become increasingly responsible for creating content published across the entire chain, we have borne the brunt of cuts. We see unionizing as the best way to protect both ourselves and our readers across the country, who suffer every time the newspaper loses a great reporter, photographer, editor or designer to a buyout or a better-paid job with a competitor.

Last week, Postmedia management opened yet another buyout offer for the National Post newsroom, which means we’ll be losing even more skilled and experienced colleagues. But in recent days, they’ve been telling us they’re interested in hearing our concerns and care about making things better, saying they want us to be “working together in this fight.”

The company’s actions send a different message. In July, the company posted a rare $13 million quarterly profit. That profit came courtesy of a buyout and layoff program that has saved it 20 per cent of salary costs across the chain, in addition to $22.8 million in savings from cutting the benefits and pensions of workers at the National Post and others. Meanwhile, Postmedia executives received $2.3 million in retention bonuses last year — and three of them have left the company since.

We’re unionizing because we love this newspaper. We want the Post and its newsroom staff to have long, bright futures. We have broad support among our colleagues and are planning to file for certification soon.

Please see www.nationalpostunion.ca for more information and updates.

– National Post union committee

Contact:
Katherine Lapointe
klapointe@cwa-scacanada.ca
416-795-8598

 

Posted on September 13, 2017 at 7:25 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Sept 6-11

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:

  • Back to School – the ABC’s of CBC Freelance Contracts: With the new broadcast season, more local and national programs, radio, TV or digital, will be engaging freelancers to provide material for their shows in the form of interviews (some with recordings, some not), documentaries, columns, photographs, and research or writing, especially for digital purposes…
  • Webinar – Twitter for Journalists: With over 328 million active users and over 500 million tweets published each day, Twitter has become a critical business tool. Yet many individuals and businesses still struggle to find ways to integrate Twitter into their marketing strategy…
  • The Born Freelancer on Getting Names Right: Names possess almost magical power unlike any other words. Used correctly, they can help foster confidence, trust, empathy and credibility. Incorrect use can be catastrophic. Remembering and getting names right is a necessary facility for any professional freelancer…

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 September 11, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Back to School: The ABC’s of CBC Freelance Contracts

by Don Genova Contract Details

There are actually A’s, and B’s, and C stands for Copyright in a typical CBC Freelance Contributor Contract, but I’ll get to those in a bit.

With the new broadcast season, more local and national programs, radio, TV or digital, will be engaging freelancers to provide material for their shows in the form of interviews (some with recordings, some not), documentaries, columns, photographs, and research or writing, especially for digital purposes.

Quite often I’ve found both freelancers and the people commissioning them don’t understand the contracting process, and inevitably this results in confusion, and unfortunately the confusion often leads to the freelancer getting paid less than the minimum amounts guaranteed in the CBC-Canadian Media Guild collective agreement.

If CBC wants you to do something for them, don’t be afraid to ask for a contract up front that specifies exactly what it is you’re going to do and what the pay rate is. If a contract isn’t forthcoming, make sure you get it in an email.

Freelance Contributor Contract

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Posted on September 8, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , , ,

Webinar: Twitter for Journalists

Katt Stearns Mission Social Media

With over 328 million active users and over 500 million tweets published each day, Twitter has become a critical business tool. Yet many individuals and businesses still struggle to find ways to integrate Twitter into their marketing strategy.

If you’re wondering whether you’re getting the most out of Twitter, register for our upcoming webinar with Katt Stearns.

Twitter for Journalists: 8 Strategies to help you connect and expand your reach” is scheduled for Thursday, September 14th at 3:00 p.m. ET.  

The webinar will cover key strategies and techniques for media workers to get the most out of Twitter, including strategies to boost your profile that you can start applying right away.

Katt Stearns is the founder of Katt Stearns Consulting. She has worked with numerous small and medium-sized organizations to develop marketing strategies that help them share their stories and grow their organizations. Katt is the recipient of the 2015 Canadian Digital Marketer of the Year Award and previously hosted a webinar on Facebook for journalists for CWA Canada associate members and CMG Freelance.

You can register for the webinar at this link. CMG Freelance and CWA Canada Associate Members can use their membership numbers to register. 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.

Archived webinars are available for viewing by CMG Freelance and CWA Canada Associate Members on this members-only page on the CMG Freelance website. Subjects of previous webinars include financial planning, social media and cyber security for freelancers.

Students, volunteers and emerging media workers can sign up for a free CWA Associate Membership right here.

For information about the price and benefits of CMG Freelance membership check out the CMG Freelance website.

Posted on September 7, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

The Born Freelancer on Getting Names Right

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.bornfreel2

Names possess almost magical power unlike any other words.

Used correctly, they can help foster confidence, trust, empathy and credibility. 

Incorrect use can be catastrophic. 

Remembering and getting names right is a necessary facility for any professional freelancer.

When to get it right

The simple answer is, always! 

People are very invested in their own name. They like to hear it. The more you can use their name appropriately in conversation the better for you. It’s such a simple thing but how many of us claim to be “bad” at names? Get over it. There is no point in making this business harder than it already is.

Remembering and correctly using someone’s name won’t help you if you lack talent and minimal social graces. But for the rest of us it’s a useful ability, especially when establishing new contacts.

First names should be exchanged, I think, amongst individuals engaged in casual conversation for more than a few minutes. (It says, in effect, I like you and respect you and I ask the same from you). Too early and it seems presumptuous. Too late and it seems embarrassing to ask. 

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Posted on September 6, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer August 29-Sept 5

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:

  • Journalism interns — Share your experiences: Did you work as a journalism intern in Canada or the United States between 2013 and 2017? Researcher Errol Salamon would like to hear about your experiences for a textbook on labour issues facing media workers in North America…

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 September 5, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Journalism Interns: Share Your Experiences

Errol Salamon

Researcher Errol Salamon

Did you work as a journalism intern in Canada or the United States between 2013 and 2017? Researcher Errol Salamon would like to hear about your experiences for a textbook on labour issues facing media workers in North America.

Salamon is the work and labour editor of J-Source, and a visiting research scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s creating the textbook and accompanying curriculum materials for use in college and university journalism, communications, media studies, cultural studies, sociology, and labour studies classes in Canada and the United States.

If you’re interested in participating in his research, your identity will be kept confidential. Your responses will become part of a book-length account of the working conditions and labour issues facing North American media workers, including interns, freelancers, and digital media workers.

Salamon is interested in hearing about what was beneficial and what could’ve been improved about your journalism internships. Willing subjects are asked to complete this short introductory questionnaire. Once you’ve completed the survey you’ll be contacted to set up a time for a short phone interview.

This project is supported by CWA Canada, the Canadian Media Guild’s parent union. It aims to  raise awareness about media workers’ rights and determine best practices for quality journalism in a digital age.

Posted on August 29, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,