CMG Freelance holding fourth digital media mixer in Toronto

Toronto freelancers, CMG Freelance is holding another digital media mixer next week. Featured speakers  William Wolfe-Wylie (Canada.com’s journalist-coder hybrid) and Sagan Yee (freelance animator and occasional indie game perpetrator) along with moderator, journalist Desmond Cole will discuss the new opportunities and challenges that exist at the intersection between storytelling and coding.

The free event is at Media Bar (77 Peter Street) on Wednesday April 30th from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Snacks and drinks will be served.

This will be Toronto’s fourth digital media mixer. Previous mixers have been lively and well-attended, offering attendees a great opportunity to mingle and network with colleagues.

For more details and to register, check out the Eventbrite page.

 

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Posted on April 24, 2014 at 10:01 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Better now than it used to be: freelancing in Canada

by Tannara Yelland

 

Freelancing full-time is a kind of uncertain work advisable for only serious risk-takers. Your pay is never assured. You’re at the mercy of editors who may have more pressing concerns than responding to pitches. Once you have something accepted and printed, pay can take weeks or months to get to you. It’s a grim world out there.

Unfortunately for the risk-averse but journalism-minded, freelancing is one of the only openings in Canadian journalism these days. Fortunately for those looking to get into freelancing or improve their game, the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association hosted a panel called Freelance: How to do it right at the Bond Place Hotel in Toronto last Thursday evening.

Lauren McKeon, freelance writer and editor of This Magazine; full-time freelancer John Lorinc, whose work appears regularly in The Globe and Mail, This Magazine and Spacing; and Canadian Writers Group founder Derek Finkle, also the first intern at Toronto Life and former editor of Toro Magazine, addressed a rapt audience as they discussed their struggles with and knowledge of freelance writing.

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom for freelancers, according to the panelists.

“I think things are actually better now than they used to be,” Lorinc told the audience. “In Toronto we’ve got lots of media, you’ve got lots of corporate clients, so once you’re established, it’s easy to get momentum and keep going.”

While Lorinc, McKeon and Finkle each had their own take on how best to succeed in freelancing, a few pieces of key advice came up consistently…
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Posted on April 23, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer April 15-22

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?

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 April 22, 2014 at 9:04 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The Born Freelancer on Interning for Free

 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? Your input is welcome in the comments. 

 

Whenever I read stories about corporate media insisting they have no money to pay their hard working interns (such as Derek Finkle’s recent excellent post) I think back to my first job at a local small town newspaper.

It was a sweltering, stinking summer. I was just a teenager in high school but I wanted to be a professional writer. That meant getting in print and being paid for the privilege. I had tried all the major outlets. Nobody was hiring. Then a very wise teacher suggested I find the smallest media outlet I could and approach them.

And so I did.

It was pretty much a one-man operation, a free independent local weekly erratically distributed to area shops and selected street corners. It rarely had more than a dozen pages (and often less). Even at that tender age, however, I could tell that it had that indefinable asset known as “heart”. It took on local causes. It reveled in naming and shaming.

And – most importantly – it might even tolerate a complete newbie.

My resume back then consisted of letters of recommendation from my English teachers and several back issues of an all-volunteer rate payers’ newsletter to which I had freely contributed my (limited) wit and (even more limited) wisdom for over a year. The overworked editor/publisher/owner kindly looked them over and shook his weary head.

What he was really needed was a sales person. There were no editorial staff positions as such. But something about me must have reminded him of himself at a younger age or else he was having a “be kind to the newbie” day. He said he would take me on as a “stringer”. It was the first time I had ever heard the word. I would, in effect, become a “freelance” scribe and be paid by the word if I produced copy worthy of immortalization in print. It would be entirely up to me to find the stories and make them good enough to use. This was the best offer I had received all summer. Of course, it was also the only offer! We shook hands on it.

That handshake would change the shape and direction of my entire working life.
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Posted on April 17, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

CMG Freelance to hold digital media mixer in Vancouver

CMG Freelance is holding a free event in Vancouver later this month for workers in digital media.

From writers to coders, digital workers all across the spectrum are finding it increasingly challenging to meet the diversifying expectations of employers. Media, tech, creative and communications workers are invited to come and meet colleagues, discuss these challenges, and hear about the opportunities that exist at the intersection of storytelling and coding.

The mixer is scheduled for next Thursday, April 24th at Rainier Provisions in Gastown (2 West Cordova St). It will feature two speakers: game designer, researcher and writer Elizabeth LaPensée and writer, designer and producer Sean Embury of the interactive media company Fulscrn.

For more info and to RSVP, visit the Eventbrite page.

Registration is free and snacks will be served.

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Posted on April 16, 2014 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer April 8-14

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?

From Canada: 

From the U.S. and beyond:

 

This 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 April 14, 2014 at 9:00 am by editor · 2 Comments · Tagged with: ,

Angela West: a Q&A with the founder of Canadian Freelance Writing Jobs

 

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by Rachel Sanders

Every day, Angela West does a generous thing for young Canadian writers. She gets up, has her coffee, and spends 15 or 20 minutes gathering job listings from around the web and aggregating them on her own website, Canadian Freelance Writing Jobs. She’s also a freelance writer, who, over the past six years, has built a successful business based on writing search engine optimized web copy for corporate clients. I spoke with her on the phone last week to ask about her business, the reasons behind the service she performs for freelancers, and the opportunities that exist for writers in Canada.

 

How did you get your start as a freelance writer?

I started out as a webmaster for the first company I worked for out of university and I very quickly found that I enjoyed the web copywriting aspect of it much more than managing the website. Not that I didn’t like managing the website, but [the copywriting] is where my talent was. And at the next company I worked for I ended up writing some web copy for a client and he said “you know I actually pay people a lot more money to do a much worse job than you did with this. You should consider doing it as a full-time thing.” And I found myself working that over in my brain and going “maybe I should be doing this as a full-time business” so I hunkered down and started investigating how to get into it.

As a result of that, I joined PWAC, went to a few networking events there, and basically took any writing gig that I possibly could when I first started out no matter what it paid. I definitely got my start doing lower paid things to build up a portfolio.

I was sort of doing a two-pronged attack on publishing and the corporate copywriting. I wasn’t going full throttle at getting into consumer magazines because my primary interest has always been in the online world. So I really wasn’t making a huge effort to get into print magazines, per se.

But I do think it’s important to diversify, especially if you are doing a lot of work in the corporate world. The nice thing about the publishing world work is that it doesn’t matter how many websites or brochures you write for, companies always think you’re a “real writer” if you have actual publication credits! So that’s the way I view the publication side: it’s a great marketing tool, although there is more money in corporate copywriting.

 

When did you start www.freelancewritingjobs.ca?
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Posted on April 10, 2014 at 9:00 am by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , , ,

Podcasting patent threatens independent media

 

by J.P. Davidson

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Image by: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Like blogging and web video, podcasting has matured in recent years – from nerdy niche to viable independent media platform. Marc Maron is one success story: the interviews he conducts from his garage in LA go out to a massive online following. The show revived Maron’s career and even landed him a sitcom on IFC. But now Maron and thousands of other independent podcasters are under threat from a company claiming to own the entire concept of podcasting.

The company, Personal Audio LLC, sent letters to several independents last year, including Maron: “I got a letter from a patent troll. And the letter was basically a coercive invitation into licensing the patent – negotiating a fee for using this patent. It’s an extortion racket.”

“Patent troll” is the derogatory term for what’s technically known as an NPE – or non-practising entity. These companies own patents, for things like cloud-based file storage systems and online shopping carts, but don’t actually make anything themselves – instead they seek out companies that are using their technology and ask them to pay a licensing fee. If the company doesn’t pay up, they might get sued.
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Posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer April 1-7

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?

From Canada: 

From the U.S. and beyond:

This 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 April 7, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Tyee Master Class in Vancouver: Creativity in the Digital Age

Vancouver freelancers, The Tyee is beginning a new series of Master Classes and there’s one this weekend that will be of interest to writers of all kinds. Creativity in the Digital Age will see copyright lawyer Martha Rans giving in-depth coverage to the complex and ever-changing issue of copyright.

“She’ll help participants understand how to protect their work online and off; how they can expect to have their work used and use work by others; how to properly credit sources; what fair dealing and fair use actually mean and the implications of this on a given work,” says Master Class programmer Alison Cairns.

The event is on Saturday April 5th from 10-3 pm in the Tyee’s Vancouver newsroom in Chinatown. The $200 class fee includes coffee, lunch, and a wine reception after the workshop.

Other upcoming classes in the series that may be of interest to writers are Build Your Winning Publishing Plan on May 24th and Two Day Data Bootcamp on June 7th and 8th. You can find more information, register for workshops and see the full list of spring 2014 Master Classes here.

 

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,