Notes from the Decent Work City conference in Seoul

by Don Genova

Deep-fried soft-shell crab, freshly fried pork dumplings, skewers of chicken drenched in fiery hot sauce. All served within a cacophony of street food vendors shouting out their offerings in a trendy shopping district of Seoul, South Korea.

As I crunched down on my crisp crab, I considered where I had been just hours before: near the top floor of the ultra-modern design of Seoul City Hall, where my Canadian Media Guild colleague Lise Lareau and I had been asked to speak at an international forum organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on transforming cities for decent work.

Our work with freelancers and factual TV workers had garnered some attention, and our presentations at the conference in early December were designed to share our efforts in making work ‘decent’ and less precarious for the media workers we represent.

I was part of a panel of speakers who hailed from such diverse locations as Vienna, Austria, Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Tauranga, New Zealand. Each had a story to tell about how their cities have implemented policies aimed at creating fair workplaces.
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Posted on January 16, 2019 at 7:22 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Entries open for Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award

Canadian photojournalists with less than five years of experience can now apply for the tenth annual Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award. This six-week paid internship at The Canadian Press head office in Toronto will take place sometime between April and September 2019.

Students, freelance photographers and photographers employed at regional or non-daily publications are all eligible to apply. The successful applicant will be paid a weekly salary of approximately $875. The winner will also be invited to attend the annual Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards on June 13.

You can submit your application until February 22, 2019. The winner will be selected in March. For more information about the application process, check out this page on the Canadian Journalism Foundation website.

Posted on January 16, 2019 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 8-14

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, 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 13, 2019 at 8:46 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Lessons from Katie Jensen and Vicky Mochama of Vocal Fry Studios

By Cara Fox

(Twitter photo courtesy of @msangelamc)

If I’m honest, for many years the only thing that kept me from freelancing was the fact that I didn’t feel good enough. No matter how many qualified people told me I was capable, complimented my work and prodded me to keep going, it wasn’t enough to make me feel “credible.”

What I didn’t realize then was that feeling would never fully go away, even after j-school and a handful of successful gigs. In fact, there’s a name for it. It’s called imposter syndrome; the persistent inability to believe that your success is deserved and is a result of your effort or skills.

Last weekend, Katie Jensen and Vicky Mochama spoke about imposter syndrome at the annual Canadian University Press conference, NASH81: Refine.

Founders of Vocal Fry Studios, a Toronto-based podcasting hub that produces media created by under-represented groups, Jensen and Mochama delivered a powerful message to emerging journalists on how to overcome imposter syndrome and forge a rewarding career path in new media.

The Media Doesn’t Reflect Us

“Journalism is like any other industry,” announced Mochama, addressing the gala hall full of eager student journalists at the Hotel Arts in Calgary, AB. “It’s moving forward without being aware of how it’s holding people back.”
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Posted on January 10, 2019 at 9:55 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Dec 31-Jan 7

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, 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 Years Resolution #1 — Take Care of Yourself First: Those with chronic illness or pain don’t have a choice: they have to try and be as healthy as possible every day. So what’s the best way to manage your health while keeping your freelance career on track?…
  • The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #38 — Angela Mombourquette: Angela Mombourquette is a Halifax-based freelance journalist who has written for such publications as The WalrusHalifax Magazine, and the Chronicle Herald. She is also the author of the book 25 Years of 22 Minutes: An Unauthorized Oral History of This Hour Has 22 Minutes…

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 6, 2019 at 5:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

New Year’s Resolution #1: Take Care of Yourself First

By Christine Peets

Toronto-based writer Paul Lima

If you choose to make New Year’s resolutions, you might notice the same themes arising year after year. They often involve trying to be healthier by getting more exercise, eating healthy food, balancing the work/life stuff, etc. etc.

Or, as Jerry Seinfeld would say, “Yada, Yada, Yada.”

Those with chronic illness or pain, however, don’t have a choice: they have to try and be as healthy as possible every day. So what’s the best way to manage your health while keeping your freelance career on track? I contacted three freelancers who all live with chronic illness and pain. They shared some interesting perspectives and strategies for taking care of the work while maintaining their health.

Figure out new ways to work, and be engaged

Paul Lima is a Toronto-based writer, writing instructor and business-writing trainer. He has been freelancing for more than 25 years and in 1998 he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Paul has published 20 books, with his latest two being about living with MS.

Paul notes that he has reduced his workload by 50 percent or more. He used to teach longer classes and conduct training sessions that ran from a half-day to two days. Now his classes are not in real time, so he provides material ahead of time and has weekly online contact with his students. His training webinars are now only two hours long. His advice for others who have a chronic illness?
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Posted on January 2, 2019 at 7:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #38 — Angela Mombourquette

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

 

Angela Mombourquette is a Halifax-based freelance journalist who has written for such publications as The Walrus, Halifax Magazine, and the Chronicle Herald. She is also the author of the book 25 Years of 22 Minutes: An Unauthorized Oral History of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

She has been working recently as an instructor with the King’s Faculty of Journalism and is starting a job as the non-fiction editor at Nimbus Publishing in January.

Angela won the 2018 Dave Greber Freelance Writers Award for the UC Observer feature “Why P.E.I. didn’t provide abortions for 35 years.” She took the time to speak with Story Board recently about her eclectic career, the joy of winning awards as a freelancer, and the value of bumping up your freelance skills through advanced education.

How did your Greber Award-winning story come about? 

The backstory to that piece is, in fact, it wasn’t my idea. The magazine came to me. And I had never written for them before. They were looking for a writer from the east coast who wouldn’t write about PEI as an outsider. And so they just found me by searching for Atlantic Canadian writers. So there’s a good reason for anyone who’s a writer to have a website.

The UC Observer, even though it’s rooted in the United Church, is a very secular magazine. But they do publish kind of spiritual-related things and then they also have a social justice bent. They wanted to do a story about what was happening with abortion in PEI.

And were you interested right away? 
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Posted on December 27, 2018 at 3:00 pm by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Dec 18-24

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, 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:

  • The Born Freelancer reviews the Zoom H4N Pro digital recorder: To get the best bang for my limited freelancer buck I needed hardware that not only met but surpassed my immediate needs and would encourage me to extend my recording skill sets…
  • Submissions open for the 2019 National Magazine Awards: If you’ve written a great piece of magazine journalism this year, the time has come to make a submission to the National Magazine Awards. If your publisher isn’t planning to submit your work, you can submit it yourself — and the awards foundation even offers freelancers a discount on entry fees…

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 24, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The Born Freelancer Reviews the Zoom H4N Pro Digital Recorder

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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OK, so nobody will ever accuse me of being an impulse-shopper.

I’ve been looking into buying an up to date portable digital recorder for years. I even found a long-forgotten reference to this fact in a post of mine on this site from 6 years ago!

Meanwhile, I’ve made do with the audio recorder app on my cheap smartphone. It was basically adequate for print interviews on the go but not any good for broadcast interviews or stereo recording in the field. (I’m sure more expensive phones could do a better job but I don’t want a more expensive phone.)

All this came to a head recently when I attended portions of the Vancouver Podcast Festival where I found great inspiration and motivation to create my own. My smartphone would no longer do. My research told me the cheapest options were not the best; they would not allow me to grow.

To get the best bang for my limited freelancer buck I needed hardware that not only met but surpassed my immediate needs and would encourage me to extend my recording skill sets.

My decision

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Posted on December 20, 2018 at 3:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

Submissions open for the 2019 National Magazine Awards

If you’ve written a great piece of magazine journalism this year, the time has come to make a submission to the National Magazine Awards. If your publisher isn’t planning to submit your work, you can submit it yourself — and the awards foundation even offers freelancers a discount on entry fees.

The Freelancer Support Fund offers a 50 percent discount on registration fees to freelance writers, photographers and illustrators. The discount applies to your first two award submissions. The final deadline for submissions is January 18, but if you get your entry in by January 11 you can also take advantage of the discounted early bird submission rate.

The National Magazine Awards have 18 writing and visual award categories, including feature writing, investigative reporting, fiction, photography and many more. The winner in each category will receive a $1000 cash prize.

For more information about the submissions process, check out the National Magazine Awards Foundation’s website.

Posted on December 18, 2018 at 9:50 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,