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

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:

  • Freelance contracts a hot topic at Level Up conference in Toronto: Read your contracts. That was the overarching message from the opening session at the recent Level Up conference in Toronto…
  • Reporting responsibly on labour and class: Alex Press had to do a lot of convincing to get the Washington Post to run her story about 260,000 UPS workers who were threatening to strike. The American workers were fighting a treacherous new contract that would have repercussions not only for unions but for working people in general…

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 October 22, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Freelance contracts a hot topic at Level Up conference in Toronto

Read your contracts.

That was the overarching message from the opening session at the recent Level Up conference in Toronto.

The session, called “Contracts: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” featured lawyer Tassia Poynter, Content Writers Group founder Derek Finkle and freelance science journalist Alison Motluk. CMG Freelance president Don Genova moderated the discussion, which was co-presented by the Professional Writers Association of Canada and CMG Freelance on September 21 at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre.

In her opening remarks, Poynter said it’s surprising that some contracts can be as long as ten pages but fail to include information that freelancers need to know. That information, she said, includes details about money – what you’re getting paid and when. A contract should also include details about when you need to complete the work you’ve been hired to do. Copyright is another word to look out for, said Poynter. Who will hold the copyright and for how long? Will you have the right to resell your work at a later date?

But it was the subject of indemnity clauses that dominated the discussion. Language about liability, said Poynter, is often lengthy and impenetrable. Some contracts spell out what will happen to the publisher in case of a lawsuit, but don’t cover what would happen to the writer.
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Posted on October 18, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Reporting responsibly on labour and class

An impoverished landscape

By Zaid Noorsumar

Alex Press and Sara Mojtehedzadeh at the Covering Class panel. Photo by Jared Ong.

Alex Press had to do a lot of convincing to get the Washington Post to run her story about 260,000 UPS workers who were threatening to strike. The American workers were fighting a treacherous new contract that would have repercussions not only for unions but for working people in general.

“If they accept the work contract, that’s the signal to everyone that they can push down the standards even more,” said Press. “It was remarkable to see that there was no publication really aware of why this story was important.”

The Huffington Post was the only publication that “substantively” covered the story until her own piece ran in the Washington Post, she said. According to Press, this lack of interest by the mainstream media indicates the “anti-labour common sense” in the American media, though she said such attitudes are changing within outlets going through the process of unionization.

Press, an editor at the U.S.-based socialist publication Jacobin, was a panelist alongside Toronto Star Work and Wealth reporter Sara Mojtehedzadeh, at an event called “Covering Class: Responsible reporting and barriers in journalism.”

The October 1 event was organized by CWA Canada and drew about 50 media workers, journalism students and freelancers to a downtown Toronto café.

The small and big ways in which people resist

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Posted on October 16, 2018 at 8:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

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

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:

  • Montreal media mixer October 15: Montreal-area media workers, freelancers and students are invited to a free social night and networking event on Monday October 15 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sun Life Building…
  • Class Action Lawsuit a Big Step Toward Fairness for Factual & Reality TV Workers: The Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada is welcoming a $35-million class action lawsuit filed by law firm Cavalluzzo on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada, which produces such TV shows as Property Brothers and Mayday…

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 October 15, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Montreal media mixer October 15

Montreal-area media workers, freelancers and students are invited to a free social night and networking event on Monday October 15 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sun Life Building, 7th Floor, Salon III (1155 Rue Metcalfe).

Come and join us for a free drink and snacks and get to know some of the other media workers in the city. The event is free to attend, but please register for your free ticket at this Eventbrite page.

This event is co-hosted by CWA Canada and the Montreal Newspaper Guild, whose members at the Montreal Gazette are currently negotiating with Postmedia for a new contract. They are fighting to keep fair working conditions for themselves and future generations of journalists in Montreal.

CWA Canada is the country’s only all media union, with 6,000 members at media companies and newspapers coast to coast. CWA Canada has a free membership for student, volunteer, precarious and emerging media workers through its Associate Member program. CWA Canada is the parent union of the Canadian Media Guild, which represents members at media outlets such as VICE Canada, CBC, and The Canadian Press, as well as freelancers through its voluntary membership program.

Posted on October 10, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Class Action Lawsuit A Big Step Toward Fairness For Factual & Reality TV Workers

Claim says hundreds hired improperly, denied pay & benefits

TORONTO (Oct. 9, 2018) – The Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada is welcoming a $35-million class action lawsuit filed by law firm Cavalluzzo on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada, which produces such TV shows as Property Brothers and Mayday.

The legal action follows a five-year campaign by CMG and its parent union CWA Canada to bring fair working conditions to this part of the entertainment industry.

“Reality and factual TV are the wild west of the entertainment world,” said Lise Lareau, a co-ordinator of the CMG’s Fairness in Factual TV campaign. “People working in this area of production are cut out of labour laws. They don’t have the rights of other employees, and historically they’ve been left out of union contracts enjoyed by the rest of the entertainment industry.”

Most reality and factual TV production companies make their workers set up their own corporations or sign contracts saying they are “independent contractors” and then don’t provide overtime pay, vacation pay and paid holidays. The failure to pay these basic entitlements is the basis for the Cavalluzzo class action lawsuit.

The statement of claim for the suit is based on the experience of Anna Bourque, a production worker whose most recent contract at Cineflix was September 2017 to February 2018.
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Posted on October 9, 2018 at 8:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Oct 2-9

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 October 9, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Applications open for the 2019-2020 Canadian Nieman fellowship

Applications opened this week for a year-long fellowship that gives a Canadian journalist the opportunity to study and broaden their intellectual horizons at Harvard University. The 2019-2020 Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellowship is open to applications from October 1 to December 1.

Mid-career journalists — including freelancers, photojournalists, editorial cartoonists, columnists and broadcast producers, are all invited to apply. To be eligible, you must be a Canadian citizen and a working journalist with at least five years of professional media experience. The fellowship includes tuition to Harvard and a stipend for living expenses.

Details about the application requirements are available on the Canadian Nieman’s blog. For more information you can email canadiannieman@gmail.com.

To apply for the fellowship, go to the online access portal right here and select “International Nieman Fellowship.”

 

Posted on October 4, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Urban Worker Project’s Freelancing 101 series running this month in Vancouver

Vancouver freelancers, mark your calendars for a series of workshops that will help you get a handle on your taxes and finances. The Urban Worker Project has teamed up with Vancity Credit Union to offer a series of hands-on workshops this month called “Freelance Contracting 101: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy.”

New and veteran freelancers alike will be able to sharpen their understanding of freelance business best practices during this series of workshops, which will cover subjects such as setting rates, getting paid on time, taxes and business planning.

WHEN: October 16, 18 and 19 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm + Freelancer social at Central City Brewing following the last workshop
WHERE: ArtStarts, 808 Richards Street, Vancouver
TICKETS: Sliding scale – $15/workshop or Pay What You Can
LEARN MORE & REGISTER HERE: https://goo.gl/FxiGid

The October 16 workshop “Everything You Need to Know about Finance and Taxes” will feature Tania Lo from Tandem Accounting offering tips and tricks on managing your finances and filing your taxes. This workshop will focus on how CRA typically deals with self-employed income, how to calculate income and taxes originating from a variety of sources, how to distinguish between eligible and ineligible expenses, strategies to manage cash flow, and more. It will conclude with an overview of free DIY tax filing tools and an opportunity to ask specific questions.

The October 18 workshop “Systems for the Small Shop” will feature technology and operations consultant Rachel Flood teaching participants how to identify and improve inefficient business processes and choosing software to support your business.

The October 19 workshop “State Your Worth — How to Ask for What You Really Want from New and Existing Clients” will feature Annika Reinhardt from Talent Collective discussing freelance pricing models and negotiation techniques.

Posted on October 1, 2018 at 11:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Sep 25-Oct 1

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 October 1, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,