National Magazine Awards Foundation announces new categories, Freelancer Support Fund

The National Magazine Awards Foundation announced a revamped set of categories last week that are designed to increase the value and prestige of the awards. There are 25 categories this year, including 14 writing awards and 7 visual awards. Instead of focusing on subject matter, the new categories are defined by form. They include such categories as long-form feature, essays and personal journalism.

There’s also a boost for freelancers this year in the form of the Freelancer Support Fund. Freelancers can submit their first two entries for writing or visual awards at a rate of $50, discounted from the regular rate of $95. The creator of the winning entries in the writing and visual award categories receives a prize of $1000.

Awards submissions opened last week and the deadline for entries is January 20th. For more information, see the Magazine Awards website.

 

Posted on December 5, 2016 at 10:30 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Nov 29-Dec 5

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 December 5, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

New CBC opinion section provides more paid writing opportunities for freelancers

This post is the ninth in a series called “E-Lancer Writes,” exploring the working conditions, rights and collective organizing strategies of freelance journalists, interns and other low-wage or temporary digital media workers.

By Errol Salamon

Canadian freelance writers have one more potential way to earn money: by selling their ideas to the new opinion section being featured on CBCNews.ca. The opportunity comes at a time when many other Canadian media companies aren’t paying writers for such columns.

CBCNews.ca launched the opinion section on November 7, with Robyn Urback, formerly of the National Post, as the new producer of CBC opinion and columns.

The CBC pays for any opinion submissions that it publishes, as per the provisions for freelance contributors in the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) collective agreement, said Brodie Fenlon, CBC senior director of digital news, in an email.

According to the CMG collective agreement, freelance writers who deliver text-only contributions—for example, a news article, column, commentary or blog post—are paid on a per-word basis at a minimum rate of 55 cents per word, or on a freelance specific services contract as a senior writer.

“[The opinion section is] a new destination for debate at CBCNews.ca,” said Jennifer McGuire, CBC general manager and editor in chief. “The goal is to give our audience a destination for intelligent, provocative debate and commentary on the issues of the day. To do so, we’ll be calling on a diverse range of contributors – most of them freelancers.”

Fenlon said the CBC also wants to prioritize emerging writers and non-staff contributors. “We intend to privilege diverse, young and new writers whenever possible. We want to help identify and give voice to a new generation of Canadian thought leaders.”

In comparison to the CBC, however, many Canadian news media companies don’t pay writers for opinion or op-ed columns.
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Posted on December 1, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Health insurance for freelancers through the Writers’ Coalition Program

Need personal health insurance? Membership in CMG Freelance comes with access to the Writers’ Coalition Program — an affordable health insurance program offered by the not-for-profit insurer AFBS. And accessing the program has become even easier this month with a few updates to the Writers’ Coalition Program website.

The Writers’ Coalition Program is designed to help writers manage their health care costs. CMG Freelance members are guaranteed acceptance into the program, with no medical questionnaires necessary and no refusals based on pre-existing conditions.

There are two program options: Standard and Comprehensive. Both options offer dental, prescription drug, extended health care, and travel emergency medical coverage. Both options also provide life and AD&D insurance and a Member and Family Assistance Program. There’s a monthly payment option available and premiums may be tax deductible.  

The Writers’ Coalition’s updated website will give you a price quote in just two steps and it enables you to enrol in the program and pay online by credit card. Once you’re registered you’ll have access to a new member portal where you can login and view your account details.

For more information about the costs and benefits of the Writers’ Coalition group health program you can go to this page on the CMG Freelance site or directly to the Writers’ Coalition Program’s revamped website.

Posted on November 30, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Nov 22-28

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:

  • The Five Keys to Finishing a Freelance Project: Working as freelancers, we often feel that once we have a job the hard part is done. But in the roller coaster emotional ride of our work we often feel insecure about what we have created, overwhelmed by what we have to get done on a deadline and, eventually, burnt out…

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 28, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The Five Key Steps to Finishing a Freelance Project

by Rebecca Hass

Working as freelancers, we often feel that once we have a job the hard part is done. But in the roller coaster emotional ride of our work we often feel insecure about what we have created, overwhelmed by what we have to get done on a deadline and, eventually, burnt out.

How to spell relief? Five ways to show up to get the project done  

In the book The Five Wisdom Energies, Irini Rockwell writes that the world is filled with energy. These energies, she says, “describe different styles of perceiving and interacting with our world”. I’ve been working with these ideas for a year. Drawing from Ms. Rockwell’s sources, I like to translate this ancient wisdom in my work as the five ways of showing up.   

This process offers steps to help you get a new project started, keep it going, and finish it brilliantly. Also be aware that each energy has a way of showing up that has a positive impact on your work but also, as Ms. Rockwell calls it, a ‘neurotic or confused’ manifestation. Think of it as over-indulging. If you start a new exercise program you can research and create a well-balanced plan or you can overdo it and injure yourself. By being aware of where the middle ground is and how you show up for each step of your project will help you avoid these negative pitfalls.  

The Mistake We Make

We get a job and we want to jump in and get it done before we even have a real sense of what we want to create. We are driven to get busy. We are in action usually before we have our vision in place. This makes for false starts and wasted time. Instead of jumping into action, we need to take a different first step. It changes everything that follows.      

Step One: Don’t Do Anything

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Posted on November 25, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Webinar for members: How to pitch to The Doc Project

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CBC’s Tanya Springer

Radio freelancers, CMG Freelance is running a webinar with CBC’s Tanya Springer this week that will teach you how to pitch your documentary idea to The Doc Project.

Click here to register for the event and mark your calendars for Wednesday November 23rd at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. If you can’t attend live, register anyway and you’ll be sent a link to watch the archived version of the webinar.

This webinar will give you an in-depth perspective on how to pitch your idea and sell it to The Doc Project. Tanya Springer is Senior Producer at The Doc Project — one of the best places for Canadian audio journalism to be broadcast to a large audience. She’ll detail how to pitch your idea to the program and explain what kinds of stories The Doc Project and other CBC Radio programs are looking for. If you participate live, you’ll also have a chance to ask questions.

Tanya is an award-winning documentary producer and writer who has contributed to CBC Radio’s The Current and Public Radio International’s The World. Her notable documentaries include an in-depth analysis of India’s international surrogacy industry, which won the Canadian Medical Association’s Award for Excellence in International Health Reporting.

This webinar is free for both CWA Associate Members and members of CMG Freelance. You’ll need your membership number to register. If you’re a new CMG Freelance member and haven’t yet received your membership card, you can contact freelance@cmg.ca to get your number.

CWA Associate Membership is free for students, volunteers and emerging media workers. You can sign up for membership right here. For information about the price and benefits of CMG Freelance membership check out the CMG Freelance website.

If you’ve missed our previous webinars, they’re all archived online in the “For Members” section of the CMG Freelance website. Subjects of previous webinars include pitching and freelance finances.

Have an idea for a webinar you’d like us to run? Get in touch at freelance@cmg.ca and let us know.

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Nov 15-21

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 21, 2016 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #33 — J.B. MacKinnon

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

 

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J.B. MacKinnon is an independent journalist whose books include The 100-Mile Diet and The Once and Future World. He has written for such magazines as The New Yorker and The Walrus. He was the writer on the award-winning National Film Board interactive documentary Bear 71.

He has won more than a dozen national and international awards for his writing. Most recently his Hakai Magazine piece The Whale Dying on the Mountain won Best Feature Story at the 2016 Jack Webster Awards.

He took the time to speak with Story Board recently to offer some advice on creating feature stories, staying alert while working, and navigating the current state of freelance writing.

How do you structure your workday?

I get up early. I’ve found over time that I do my best creative work in the morning so I get up at 6 and I work usually on writing from 6 until noon most days. And then I spend the afternoon administrating and just keeping track of emails and all that kind of stuff and doing research.

Are you one of those people who don’t check their email first thing in the morning?
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Posted on November 17, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

The Born Freelancer on Getting an Agent

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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One of the questions I hear most frequently is “Do I need an agent?” and if so, “How do I find a good one?”

My experience with agents is completely within the episodic television industry and that is what I will speak about today. (For this kind of work an agent is pretty much an absolute necessity).

A lot of what I say will apply to finding agents representing other work categories too; some will not. The really good ones tend to specialize in a specific area of expertise that most appeals to them. So not every agent will be ideal for every freelancer.

What does an agent do?

It seems to me that a good agent should engage in three general areas of activity on your behalf. 

* Finding out about jobs. A good agent is constantly working the phones finding out about jobs before the news hits even online communities. Agents build up reputations with producers so that when they send a client to be interviewed the producer knows it is not a waste of their time.

* Negotiating contracts. Never sign anything you don’t understand. Never accept a contract  just because it is presented to you all printed up and ready to go. All contracts can be negotiated. A good agent will explain all the clauses, rewrite the poorly or ambivalently written ones and attempt to extract the maximum return for your labours.

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Posted on November 16, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,