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

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 July 24, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Turning Your Holiday into a Travel Writing Opportunity

By Brittany Duggan
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As a freelancer, days not worked are days not paid. But that doesn’t you mean don’t get to take holidays, whether in your own backyard or to somewhere more exotic. It just might mean you get creative about how to turn your holiday into future writing opportunities.

I’ve just emerged back onto the freelance scene after a year and a half of a pretty regimented schedule, so I said yes to a lot of travel this summer. I mentioned feeling a little guilty about all this unpaid adventure to David Beers, a former teacher of mine and the founding editor of The Tyee. His response: don’t. Travel, near and far, just take a notebook.

A lot of reporting and writing involves some form of travel anyway — how else are stories found? — and so I’ve looked into how to approach travel writing and generate stories from travel experience.

Is it best to pitch before or after? Should I set up interviews or just see who I meet? To help answer these questions, I asked a range of Canadian and international travel writers what they do and what advice they have for freelancers interested in turning their summer travel into stories.

Going for the story, or seeing what you find

“Every holiday I do, I write about. Even if it’s just for my blog,” says Luke Darracott, a writer and food-lover originally from the UK who is now based in Spain.
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Posted on July 21, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Freelancer Katie Jensen talks about the importance of income transparency in Canadian media

by Vanessa HrvatinKatie Jensen

On July 5, freelance podcast producer Katie Jensen publicly shared her 2016 net income as part of a Twitter  thread she hashtagged #incometransparency.

The 29-year-old has been in the freelance business for little over two years. She says she decided to be transparent about how much money she makes and what her work experience has been like in order to start a much-needed conversation about the reality of being a journalist in Canada.

She took the time recently to speak to Story Board about working conditions for young journalists and to share some tips for freelancers.

Why did you decide to start a public thread about income transparency?

I wanted to talk about income transparency because I feel like a lot of people overestimate the amount of income that journalists make. If you [do a search online], the numbers that show up are like $60,000, but that number is so foreign to me. Even H.G. Watson, who is the editor for J-Source, said Stats Canada reports that the average income for journalists is $46,000.

The morning I did the thread, I got an email from the CRA telling me I owed $4,000 in back taxes from last year, so I guess I was feeling a little bit candid.

Why do you think income isn’t a topic that most people talk about?

I think people are embarrassed to ask about what other people make. I think it’s a [fear] of being socially impolite rather than a sense of “I don’t make enough money.”

You talked in your thread about working a lot of unpaid overtime. Can you tell me a bit about that?
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Posted on July 20, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Free spaces in Toronto podcasting program available to CMG Freelance members


podcasting_4d4879b4-3953-4b70-b5be-16ae7f96d08b_largeCMG Freelance is pleased to offer four free spaces in an upcoming Camp Tech Intro to Podcasting Program
 in Toronto.

On Saturday, August 12th, professional podcast producer JP Davidson will lead you through this 6-hour workshop, complete with audio recording and editing exercises and information on how to publish your podcast once it’s complete. For more details about the program click on the above link.

Two spaces are offered on a lottery-basis for CMG Freelance members in good standing. Send your name and membership number to CMG Freelance President Don Genova at freelance@cmg.ca. Put ‘Podcast Offer’ in your subject line.

The deadline to enter is Saturday, July 29th at 12 midnight ET. (If you are a relatively new member and haven’t been sent your membership number yet, please indicate the date you registered.)

Two more spaces will be reserved for the first two new members to CMG Freelance. Membership for one year is $150. (The workshop is priced at $229.00 so you not only get a membership but a great deal on this workshop.) Prospective new members should write to Don at freelance@cmg.ca to see if the offer is still available and, if so, instructions on how to register. 

Spaces in the program are not transferable so please make sure you can attend before entering the lottery. 

Posted on July 19, 2017 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer July 11-17

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:

  • Media Mixer — Protecting our sources and ourselves: While working on “Cyberwar” with Vice, filmmaker Dylan Reibling contacted a source for a story. The source was a hacker who had attended the Black Hat information security conference. Shortly after Vice e-mailed him, that same source got a call from the FBI…
  • Chris Enns talks financial planning for freelancers: Variable income is one of the biggest challenges many freelancers have to contend with. And Chris Enns understands it all too well. As an opera singer, he struggled himself with the best way to handle his money. Those struggles led him to learn more about finances and eventually get certified as a financial planner…

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 July 17, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Media Mixer: Protecting Our Sources and Ourselves

by Abby Plener
 
IMG_2424While working on “Cyberwar” with Vice, filmmaker Dylan Reibling contacted a source for a story. The source was a hacker who had attended the Black Hat information security conference. Shortly after Vice e-mailed him, that same source got a call from the FBI.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence. But nonetheless, the source was concerned he was being surveilled and was hesitant to speak to journalists. For Dylan and his team, “It was a wake-up call that we have to be more careful,” and take steps to respond to sources’ concerns about digital security.

Reibling joined fellow panelists Annie Sakkab and Nasma Ahmed for a discussion on how journalists can prepare themselves to confront such dilemmas. The event was hosted by the Canadian Media Guild, Off Assignment Toronto, and CWA Canada at Page One cafe in downtown Toronto on July 10.

The panelists

Dylan Reibling is an award-winning filmmaker who recently worked on Vice’s “Cyberwar”, a show that follows subjects connected to cyberwarfare.

Annie Sakkab is a photojournalist and social documentary photographer who lived and worked in Toronto, London, Rome, Dubai and Amman.

Nasma Ahmed is a technologist, developer and community organizer.

The panel was moderated by Susana Ferreira, an award-winning freelance writer and radio producer who is also involved in the  Off Assignment Toronto chapter.

Here’s some of the panelists’ advice:
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Posted on July 14, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Chris Enns talks financial planning for freelancers

Chris Ennsby Rachel Sanders

Variable income is one of the biggest challenges many freelancers have to contend with. And Chris Enns understands it all too well. As an opera singer, he struggled himself with the best way to handle his money. Those struggles led him to learn more about finances and eventually get certified as a financial planner.

Now he splits his time between opera and finances — the latter through his very creative website From Rags To Reasonable.

Lately he’s also been running free financial planning office hours on Friday afternoons on Twitter. He took the time to speak with Story Board recently about getting control of your finances, following your curiosities, and how to be your best creative self.

What led you to personal finance?

Making all the mistakes. I’m not somebody who grew up being good with money. It didn’t come naturally to me. I was doing the very classic artist thing of just ignoring it completely. The arts scene doesn’t really prioritize financial skills. It was fine when I was making nothing but when I started to make money I started to get into trouble. And eventually the situation got bad enough that I just had to face it.

The surprise ending for me was that I found it really interesting and really empowering. I just got hooked on what getting control of that part of my life did for me as a creative person, and how freeing it was and how helpful it was for all of the other things I wanted to do.

How did you decide to make it part of your working life?

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Posted on July 12, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer July 5-10

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:

  • A Q&A with freelance writer Cole Kazdin: Cole Kazdin is a writer, performer and four-time Emmy winning television journalist. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she regularly contributes to VICE, MEL Magazine and Refinery29…

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 July 10, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

A Q&A with freelance writer Cole Kazdin

by Brittany DugganCole Kazdin

Cole Kazdin is a writer, performer and four-time Emmy winning television journalist. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she regularly contributes to VICE, MEL Magazine and Refinery29.

Kazdin has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Cosmopolitan and has produced television for HBO Documentaries and ABC Network News. She performs in her own one-woman plays and also coaches and teaches writing.

Storytelling is at the crux of all of her freelance ventures and she recently took the time to speak with Story Board about non-stop pitching, the importance of being on the ground, and why Twitter is not for her.

You left network news two years ago and you’re now a full-time freelance writer. What does freelancing look like for you?

Freelancing for me is constantly pitching — as a writer, your value is your ideas. Just about every relationship I now have with an editor started with a cold pitch, and not just an idea but something more fleshed out. I would say 99 percent of what I write are stories that I have pitched, not stories that get assigned to me.

Any tips on pitching?
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Posted on July 7, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 27-July 4

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 July 4, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,