Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Feb 2-8

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?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Last week 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 8, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Greg Clark Award for early-career journalists

The Canadian Journalism Foundation has an award for early-career journalists and freelancers are invited to apply for it. If you’ve got between one and five years of experience in the industry, you can apply for the Greg Clark Award.

The award offers the successful applicant the opportunity to spend up to a week observing the inner workings of an organization that is key to their beat. It includes a stipend of $5000 to be partially put towards travel and accommodation expenses.

The application deadline is February 19th. For more information, check out the Greg Clark Award page on the CJF website.

 

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

New Beats journalism job loss survey

Two Canadian university professors are conducting a survey that aims to find out more about what happens to journalists in Canada when they lose their jobs.

Dr. Nicole Cohen and Dr. Andrea Hunter are working with a team of Australian researchers in an effort to gain insight into “the dynamics of restructuring in Canadian media.”

If you’re at least 18 years old and you’re a journalist who has experienced a layoff or buyout from a journalism job since 2012, you’re invited to participate in the survey. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and participation is anonymous.

Check out the New Beats Survey website for more information.

 

Posted on February 4, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Students could be key in Halifax journalists’ strike

by Errol Salamon

Journalism students and recent graduates are well placed to support Chronicle Herald newsroom workers in Halifax, who have been on strike since Jan. 23. They can collaborate with newspaper workers as Ontario students did during the Peterborough Examiner strike from November 1968 to April 1969.

The Peterborough Newspaper Guild (now CWA Canada Local 30248) formed in May 1968 to represent the Examiner’s 23 newsroom employees. The Thomson-owned Examiner had planned to reduce employee wages and benefits, and failed to address the pay differential between male and female workers.

The Guild was an advocate for many of the same issues that the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU) would confront at the Chronicle Herald nearly 50 years later.

On Nov. 2, 1968, after Thomson blatantly refused to address the Guild’s concerns, the Examiner employees went on strike. They called on students from Trent University to join them on the picket line to put pressure on management to negotiate for their first contract. (Thomson had hired strikebreakers to keep the paper running.)

With the assistance of the Canadian University Press, the Guild gathered more support: An Ontario student contingent was organized by the Industrial Union of Education Workers, based at the University of Waterloo.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on February 3, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 26-Feb 1

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?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Last week 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 1, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #26 — Arno Kopecky

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. 

 

Arno Kopecky

Arno Kopecky won the 2015 Dave Greber Freelance Writers Award for his article Title Fight, which ran in the Walrus last summer.

The Vancouver-based writer has had his work published in Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail and Reader’s Digest. He has also written two books: The Devil’s Curve and The Oil Man and the Sea, both of which explore environmental and Indigenous issues.

He took some time to speak with Story Board recently about longform journalism, building confidence, and surviving the hungry early years of a writing career.

 

How do you tend to approach a subject that you want to write about?

Usually I go to a place and live in it as best I can. I should preface this by saying I got a grant from Canada Council for the Arts to write a novel a few months ago, so that is now my life. Which has allowed me to sort of step away from journalism altogether. But I got into freelancing about 12 years ago and it was sort of a way to combine my love of travel and my interest in current affairs and global affairs.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on January 29, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

CMG Freelance Launches Media Card Program


CMG_PressPass_FRONT-300x189The Freelance Branch of the Canadian Media Guild will now offer a media card, available to its journalist members.

“We’ve heard from our members that having a media card may make it easier for them to gain access to events or interviews, and provide a ‘calling card’ that asserts they are qualified freelance journalists,” says Don Genova, CMG Freelance President.  

The front of the wallet-sized card will feature the member’s name and photo, while the back of the card will contain a QR code that will link to the member’s profile on the CMG Freelance website.

Genova says, “The QR code is a quick way for the cardholder to showcase their credentials, as their profiles can contain samples of their work; it also gives any authority scanning the card an instant way to verify the identity and experience of the cardholder.”

Media cards will not cost extra for members. They do have to hold a valid membership, which is $150/yr for independent freelancers. Regular freelancers at the CBC are also eligible to apply, as are people who freelance to other employers with CMG-based collective agreements. They must hold a current CMG membership number.

The applications will be reviewed by Genova along with Scott Edmonds, a retired Canadian Press reporter/editor who is also a member of the Freelance Branch. 

“We are asking people to do a little bit of work to get the card,” notes Genova. “They need to have their online profile with us updated and demonstrate, with references, that they are indeed making at least part of their living from freelance media work. And the updated profiles will make it easier for us to refer potential employers to one or more of our members.”

To purchase a membership, visit cmgfreelance.ca. If you’re already a member, you can apply for your media card right here. Any questions can be directed to Don Genova at freelance@cmg.ca

 

Posted on January 27, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 19-25

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?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Last week 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 January 25, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

CWA Canada Associate Members call for solidarity with Halifax journalists

by the CWA Canada Associate Member steering committee

CWA Canada Associate Members are joining the Halifax Typographical Union (CWA Canada Local 30130) in calling on freelancers and student journalists to stand in solidarity with newsroom staff at The Chronicle Herald who could be on picket lines Saturday morning.

Management at the daily newspaper, which gave notice of a lockout last week, has for several months been attempting to recruit recent journalism school graduates and freelancers to produce news coverage in the event of a work stoppage.

Negotiations between the company and the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU), which represents 61 editorial workers, came to a standstill after only two days. The Herald refused to budge on its proposals, which include wage cuts, an increase in working hours, a removal of a gender parity clause in the contract and a layoff of a third of the staff.

CWA Canada Associate Members, who include 600 students, precarious and emerging media workers across the country, support the union in fighting against these detrimental changes in the newsroom. Not only would these proposals negatively impact the current workers, they would eliminate good jobs at The Chronicle Herald for the next generation. Management’s proposals would lower wages and working standards across the media industry, also making it more difficult for freelancers and entry-level workers to earn a fair pay.

In preparation for the work stoppage, the Herald has also “indefinitely” removed the bylines and credits of its journalists and photographers, which will help management hide the identities of journalists who scab during a work stoppage.

As a result of management’s heavy-handed tactics and recent outreach to journalism school grads and freelancers to work as scabs, the HTU has asked that anyone contacted by the paper refuse assignments.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on January 22, 2016 at 9:43 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Links between freelancing and gender inequality highlighted by Chronicle Herald labour dispute

By Errol Salamon

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

 

The Halifax Chronicle Herald made headlines last week for contacting freelance journalists to replace the newspaper’s employees during a possible lockout or strike, which could start as early as January 23.

According to a November 2015 email from Herald management shared with CBC News by one of the freelancers, the paper is offering freelancers “full-time contracts of up to four months” in the event of a work stoppage. These scab freelancers would typically work from home, and the paper would publish their work without bylines to protect their anonymity.

These offers were made right before the company walked away from the conciliation process in late December. In addition to monetary issues such as massive cuts to wages and pensions and plans to slash 30 percent of the paper’s 61 newsroom positions, the Herald wants to remove the gender parity clause in its collective agreement. This clause recognizes “equal pay for equal work for male and female employees,” says the Halifax Typographical Union, the CWA Canada local that represents the paper’s employees.

There’s a link between the Herald’s desire to remove gender parity and their plan to temporarily hire freelancers to reduce organizational spending. Freelance writing, after all, has overwhelmingly been underpaid women’s work.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on January 22, 2016 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,