Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Feb 12-19

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:

  • Audio rate card survey aims to empower freelance producers: A group of freelance producers are running a survey of freelance audio production rates in an effort to gain a better understanding of how much producers are charging for their services across the country…
  • SABEW Canada’s 2018 Best In Business Awards are open for submissions: Freelance business writers, it’s time to apply for the SABEW Canada Best in Business awards. Submissions opened this week for the 5th annual awards program, which covers work published, broadcast and posted during the 2018 calendar year…
  • BuzzFeed Canada staff file to unionize: The Canadian Media Guild (CMG), media union CWA Canada’s biggest local, is filing with the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Canada Industrial Relations Board after a majority of the 10 BuzzFeed staff in Toronto signed union cards…

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 February 19, 2019 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Audio rate card survey aims to empower freelance producers

If you do freelance audio production work, you’re invited to contribute to the creation of a rate card for Canadian audio producers.

Freelance producers Michelle Macklem, Aliya Pabani, Jess Shane, and Kalli Anderson are running a survey of freelance audio production rates in an effort to gain a better understanding of how much producers are charging for their services across the country.

Once they collect enough responses, they’ll compile them into an accessible format to serve as a guideline for independent audio producers.

“From my experience, a lot of us have been having these conversations offline for years, and we felt it was valuable to create some public resources, especially for producers who are just starting out,” Macklem told Story Board via email this week. “If we can all get a sense of how much we charge, it empowers producers to set rates with reasonable expectations.”

Macklem said she’s seen producers enter the industry passionate about their work, only to burn out after months of working contracts with no stability and low pay. Despite drastic increases to the cost of living in Canada’s major cities, she said, pay rates have not risen to reflect this change.

“Talking about money is hard,” she said. “We hope that this survey can help alleviate that stress and provide support around what fair pay looks like.”

You can take the Canadian audio rate card survey right here. The group is hoping for over 50 responses by the time they close the survey at the end of February. And stay tuned to Story Board — we’ll share details about the audio rate card when they become available.

Posted on February 14, 2019 at 8:29 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

SABEW Canada’s 2018 Best in Business Awards are open for submissions

Freelance business writers, it’s time to apply for the SABEW Canada Best in Business awards. Submissions opened this week for the 5th annual awards program, which covers work published, broadcast and posted during the 2018 calendar year.

There are 15 categories for this year’s awards, including new categories for outstanding achievement, best young journalist, and best trade article. Entries are judged by a panel of business writers.

Freelancers who wish to submit their work must be SABEW members in good standing. The regular entry fee is $45 (USD) with a special discounted entry fee for freelancers of $30 (USD).

The deadline for entries is March 1, and the awards will be handed out in Toronto on April 17.

For detailed guidelines or to enter your work for an award, check out SABEW Canada’s website. For more information, email bib@sabew.org.

Posted on February 12, 2019 at 8:22 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

BuzzFeed Canada staff file to unionize

TORONTO – Canadian staff at digital media company BuzzFeed have officially filed for union certification.

The Canadian Media Guild (CMG), media union CWA Canada’s biggest local, is filing with the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Canada Industrial Relations Board after a majority of the 10 BuzzFeed staff in Toronto signed union cards.

The filing comes in concert with similar actions by BuzzFeed workers in the United States and Germany. It is part of a wave of recent unionization in the media industry. VICE Canada staff joined CMG and CWA Canada in 2016 and secured their first contract in 2017.

In a mission statement, BuzzFeed Canada staff said they want to secure their working conditions and improve transparency through collective bargaining: “The ongoing volatility of the industry makes it necessary for workers to have a voice.”

“Our move to unionize is not born from a lack of trust in BuzzFeed’s leadership, but rather as a move to build a sustainable relationship that’s mutually beneficial,” it states. “We believe that collective bargaining is the best means to achieve that goal.”

CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon, a veteran journalist, said the union drive is about protecting quality jobs and journalism – and about fairness.

“We all want BuzzFeed to succeed; that’s good for everyone. We think the best way to make that happen is by treating workers as respected professionals and giving them a real voice in the workplace with the power to negotiate wages and working conditions.”

CMG President Kamala Rao noted that BuzzFeed workers have already mobilized and are poised to build on those efforts.

“Workers at BuzzFeed have demonstrated the impact of joining together publicly to defend each other, including to protect employees’ deferred earnings, like paid time off. A negotiated collective agreement will further codify such rights,” Rao said. “We are delighted to welcome fellow media workers from BuzzFeed in Canada into the Canadian Media Guild.”

Posted on February 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Feb 5-11

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:

  • Next CBC Doc Makers Program deadline March 5: CBC employees, temps, and experienced Canadian audio freelancers are invited to pitch sound-rich, unique stories to the programs. If your application is successful, you’ll be paired with a mentor who will help you put your documentary together…
  • Finding Better Clients Through Positioning: In theory I knew what I needed—fewer, higher paying clients—but I was tired of guessing and muddling my way through. I wanted someone to draw me a road map. In December, I hired a coach to help me through the process…
  • CMG Freelance resolution for 2019: CMG Freelance president Don Genova has some advice for you now that we’re into 2019…

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 February 11, 2019 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Next CBC Doc Makers deadline March 5

Audio freelancers, the next deadline for CBC Radio’s Doc Makers mentorship program is March 5.  There are three programs accepting applications: the Doc Mentorship Program, the Current’s Advanced Doc Maker Program and the Emerging Indigenous Doc Maker Program.

CBC employees, temps, and experienced Canadian audio freelancers are invited to pitch sound-rich, unique stories to the programs. If your application is successful, you’ll be paired with a mentor who will help you put your documentary together. Mentors are associated with a variety of CBC programs, including The Sunday Edition, Ideas, and Now or Never.

For more information about the three programs and what they’re looking for, check out CBC’s Doc Makers website. The site also has plenty of advice on a wide variety of audio documentary-related topics, including focusing a pitch, interviewing, and telling stories with sound.

If you have questions about the program, you can email docmentorships@cbc.ca.

Posted on February 6, 2019 at 9:20 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , , ,

Finding Better Clients Through Positioning

by Robyn Roste

Last year was a good freelance year for me, but by the fourth quarter I was feeling spread thin.

In theory I knew what I needed—fewer, higher paying clients—but I was tired of guessing and muddling my way through. I wanted someone to draw me a road map. In December, I hired a coach to help me through the process.

My coach told me the answer to finding better clients is through stronger positioning.

Positioning is how you appear in your potential client’s mind. The secret to strong positioning is getting clear on what you do, who you serve and why you’re different.

My coach broke positioning into four categories for me to think through and work out: who I best serve (my ideal client/market), what makes me different in the eyes of my ideal client/target market, why that difference matters and what I do.

1. Target Audience

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Posted on February 5, 2019 at 8:43 pm by editor · 4 Comments · Tagged with: ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 29-Feb 4

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 February 4, 2019 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

CMG Freelance resolution for 2019

CMG Freelance president Don Genova has some advice for you now that we’re into 2019…

Posted on February 2, 2019 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The Born Freelancer on Being a Frugal Freelancer

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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Let’s talk money.

(Got your attention, didn’t it?)

Today I want to talk about the money we spend.

Or rather, shouldn’t.

You see, one of the basic strategies of surviving a long life in freelancing is to spend as little as you can while making as much as you can.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. On the contrary. Living as a frugal freelancer means that when something comes up you absolutely need (or really really want) you will almost always have the money saved to afford it.

It means being responsible for the day to day expenses that seem invisible to most and curtailing those which are unnecessary or the least rewarding.

Sounds so simple, right? And yet for so many, so hard. For others even – unthinkable!

A new year begins…
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Posted on February 1, 2019 at 8:57 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,