Reaping what you sow: Five writers talk about their websites

by Steven Threndyle

For most of us, writing is a business. And if you’re a businessperson, you need some kind of online presence where, at the very minimum, you can post your published clips to prove to a prospective editor or client that you are, in fact, a professional.

In today’s post, we talk to five writers with very different looking websites or blogs. John Lee is a Vancouver-based travel writer who roams the world and tweets about it to his 12,500 followers.

NYC-based Caitlin Kelly’s Broadside blog features often-brilliant essays on travel, aging, finances, and the writing life.

Daphne Gray-Grant is a former Vancouver Sun editor who now coaches writers—both neophyte and experienced—from her Publication Coach website.

Christine Thompson is a White Rock, BC-based travel writer and corporate scribe who specializes in advertorial and sponsored content at Jellybean Communications.

And Eve Lazarus is a former Vancouver Sun reporter who shines a light on hidden, sometimes sordid, tales from Vancouver’s past on Every Place Tells A Story.

It’s worth noting from the outset that often writers will refer to stories as being “up on my blog” or “posted on my website.” Most writers have blogs, but not all writers have websites. As Daphne Gray-Grant says, “I do not use the terms interchangeably. The blog is the one section of my website that brings me the greatest number of readers.”

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Posted on November 23, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

Freelancers’ concerns highlighted at Democracy Project journalism summit

by Rachel Sanders 

The “Investigations for Small Newsrooms” panel at the Democracy Project summit in Banff.

Journalists from across North America gathered in Banff last month to discuss the importance of deeply researched journalism in the era of alt-facts. And at panel discussions populated by major publishers and established journalists, freelancers made themselves heard.

The Democracy Project journalism summit happened at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity on October 20 to 22. It followed a week-long intensive investigative journalism course taught by journalists Patti Sonntag and Rob Cribb. Of the twenty participants in the intensive, over half are currently working as freelancers.

As newsrooms continue to shrink and cut staff, freelancers play an increasingly important role in journalism. At the Banff summit, several spoke out about challenges such as harsh contracts, low pay, and lack of support in the face of online abuse.

Contract concerns and online abuse

At a Saturday morning panel called “When Social Media Is the ‘Paper of Record,” editors from Vice, The Walrus, The Atlantic and CBC-Radio Canada talked about their efforts to reach a fragmented audience and the importance of bringing in diverse voices. During the following Q&A session, freelance science journalist Lesley Evans Ogden rose to question the panel about their contracts.
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Posted on November 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Nov 15-20

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:

  • New webinars posted for members on CMG Freelance website: We’ve been inviting non-members to watch our CMG Freelance webinar series recently. But members get an extra benefit: access to archived webinars. That means you can watch them at your convenience whenever you like. We’ve posted a few new ones recently in the members section of the CMG Freelance website…
  • Want to make the most of Lynda.com? Check out their tutorials: If you’re a CMG Freelance member but haven’t yet accessed this valuable resource, you should check out Lynda’s series of video tutorials that demonstrate how best to use the video library…

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 November 20, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

New webinars posted for members on CMG Freelance website

We’ve been inviting non-members to watch our CMG Freelance webinar series recently. But members get an extra benefit: access to archived webinars. That means you can watch them at your convenience whenever you like. We’ve posted a few new ones recently in the members section of the CMG Freelance website.

The most recent webinars include one on lifestyle writing with award-winning reporter and editor Arti Patel a national online journalist at GlobalNews.

We’ve also posted the first two of our ongoing social media webinar series with marketing strategist Katt Stearns. Katt’s webinars on Twitter and Facebook for journalists are now available for streaming. We’ll be posting her LinkedIn webinar soon. And stay tuned for her upcoming webinar on Instagram.

Another recent addition to our webinar library is “Cybersecurity for Journalists,” led by Jane Lytvynenko, a reporter for BuzzFeed news who writes about online disinformation. Jane gives a rundown of some steps reporters can take to secure their everyday activities, both online and off.

We’ve also got webinars about contract negotiation, brand storytelling, freelance finances, and more.

If you’ve missed any of our recent offerings, be sure to take a minute to scroll through the list of webinars — you’ll find a wide variety of topics to help with your professional development. And if you’re not yet a CMG Freelance member, you can find out more about the cost and benefits of membership right here.

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 11:15 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Want to make the most of Lynda.com? Check out their tutorials

Membership in CMG Freelance comes with a lot of great benefits. One of them is access to Lynda.com, a huge online library of training videos and tutorials. Lynda has thousands of courses on dozens of subjects, from tutorials in creative fields such as graphic design, web design and photography, to videos on business management skills, to training on software programs such as Excel.

If you’re a CMG Freelance member but haven’t yet accessed this valuable resource, you should check out Lynda’s series of video tutorials that demonstrate how best to use the video library.

Start with this video, which gives a brief welcome to Lynda.com. To move on to the next video, hit the “next video” button that appears at the bottom of the viewing window after the video ends. Or you can browse the menu of tutorial videos, which can be found in the lower righthand corner of the page.

Lynda.com memberships usually cost around $35 per month. But CMG Freelance members get full access to this resource as part of their annual $150 membership.

You can see a more comprehensive list of the topics covered in Lynda.com’s tutorials here. And if you’re not yet a CMG Freelance member, you can find out more about the cost and benefits of membership right here.

 

Posted on November 15, 2017 at 8:47 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Nov 7-14

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 November 14, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

2017 Ali Mustafa Memorial Award for freelance photojournalists open for applications

Freelance photojournalists are invited to apply for the 2017 Ali Mustafa Memorial Award for People’s Journalism. The award is granted to young photojournalists in honour of Ali Mustafa, a Canadian freelance photographer killed in Aleppo, Syria in 2014. Applications for this year’s award close on December 15, 2017.

Mustafa’s work had been featured in The GuardianLe Nouvel ObservateurJournal du DimancheLes Echos, and The Times of London. The award was set up by the Ali Mustafa Memorial Collective as a way to honour his memory and pay tribute to the work of freelance photographers.

Applicants are asked to submit a proposal for a project that helps increase awareness of social justice issues.

The winner of the award will receive a maximum of $3,000 to cover such costs as travel expenses, equipment, training, visa, insurance, and living expenses.

The successful candidate will also receive a one-year Freelance Membership in the Canadian Media Guild (valued at $150) and a one-year Professional Membership in the News Photographers Association of Canada (valued at $75).

For more details about the award and how to apply, visit rememberinalimustafa.org. To contact the organizers, you can email AliMustafaAward@gmail.com.

Free tuition to Sole Prop School for CMG Freelance members

Whether you’re a writer, a designer, an artist or a photographer, your creative work probably brings you a lot of joy. The bookkeeping and tax-filing side of your business, on the other hand… probably not so much.

The New School of Finance can help. The company provides fee-only financial planning services and resources to help people get a handle on their sole proprietorship business finances. One of those resources is Sole Prop School, a four-part online course that will teach you everything you need to know about finances when you’re self-employed.

CMG Freelance has teamed up with the New School of Finance to offer a limited number of spots in Sole Prop School to new and current CMG Freelance members. If you’ve been thinking about joining the union, now would be a great time to do it. Memberships are just $150 a year, or $15/month on auto-deduct, so when you consider the value of the course ($397.00), along with other benefits of joining CMG Freelance like Lynda.com, it really makes financial sense!

The New School of Finance’s Liz Schieck says Sole Prop School is designed to take the anxiety and tedium out of money management.
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Posted on November 7, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Oct 31-Nov 6

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:

  • Freelance Specific Services Contracts — Good Value or Possible Minefield?: Last month I went over the nuts and bolts of CBC’s Freelance Contributor Contracts. But CBC also uses other kinds of contracts with freelancers. One of those is the Freelance Specific Services contract. For a type of contract that often gets used by the CBC to hire freelancers, it sure doesn’t say much about it in the collective agreement with the Canadian Media Guild…
  • New Globe and Mail freelance contract isn’t fair to writers, says critic: The Globe and Mail has received criticism for a revamped freelance contract that one critic says doesn’t treat authors fairly. Content Writers Group — formerly known as the Canadian Writers Group — founder Derek Finkle said the provisions in the Globe’s “amended and restated” freelance contract take away rights freelancers previously retained, with no extra compensation in sight…

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

CBC Freelance Specific Services Contracts – Good Value or a Possible Minefield?

by Don Genova

Last month I went over the nuts and bolts of CBC’s Freelance Contributor Contracts. But CBC also uses other kinds of contracts with freelancers. One of those is the Freelance Specific Services contract.

For a type of contract that often gets used by the CBC to hire freelancers, it sure doesn’t say much about it in the collective agreement with the Canadian Media Guild.

Here it is, in total, bottom of page 90 and top of page 91 of the CA:

Article 30.4 Freelance Specific Services (FSS for short)

Under Freelance Specific Services contracts, a freelancer will provide a deliverable for a specific identifiable program(s) or program segments or items within an individual program series. Such contracts will not have a term. Freelance Specific Services contracts shall be prorated at not less than the applicable minimum rate for similar work referred to in Article 54 (Classifications and Hourly Rates)

So, at this point you may be asking, “What is a ‘deliverable’? Why is there no term? What is the applicable rate for similar work? What is similar work, anyway?”

Let’s take a look one at a time: 
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Posted on November 3, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , , ,