Indemnity clauses – the rickety bridges of freelancing

by Lesley Evans Ogden

bridge-2080271_1920Imagine you want to climb up a mountain to a beautiful viewpoint. You’ve done some research, figured out how to get to the trailhead, packed your backpack, and climbed most of the way up the mountain.

But on the final ascent you arrive at a deep chasm. The only way across is a rickety bridge. The viewpoint is otherwise inaccessible, and it’s too wide a gap to jump. You’ve invested so much time and effort in getting here. It seems silly to quit now.

So what do you do? Do you throw your pack across the gap and gingerly make your way across the bridge? Or do you run across the bridge as fast as you can, hoping that in haste, you won’t exert your full weight on the dubious infrastructure?

This dilemma, to me, is a lot like how freelancers approach new clients. We are goggle-eyed by the possibility of a new byline or credit. We’ve found a good story. We’ve located the trailhead – the contact details for the editor or producer. We’ve packed our backpack and made progress up the path by successfully researching and pitching the story. Yet we’ve invested all this time without knowing there is a rickety bridge — an unfavourable contract — to cross at the summit.

This recently happened to me. About a year ago, an editor at The Walrus contacted me, complimenting me on a story I had written for Nature. The Walrus editor encouraged me to pitch them a story. The embarrassing truth is that it’s hard not to be flattered by these kinds of out-of-the-blue solicitations for pitches. So I did pitch them. My first pitch failed, so I pitched them two more times. My third pitch was successful, and I was excited to have broken new ground.
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Posted on April 5, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , ,

Webinar April 4: Health Care Benefits via CMG Freelance

Membership in CMG Freelance comes with affordable access to the Actra Fraternal Benefit Society and the Writers’ Coalition Program — an affordable health insurance program designed to help members manage their health care costs.

CMG Freelance is hosting an informational webinar about the program tomorrow, Wednesday, April 5, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The webinar will be led by Jason Saulay, a program representative. Jason will explain how the program works, how to get a quote, and will answer any questions you have about coverage. CMG Freelance members are guaranteed acceptance into the program, with no medical questionnaires necessary and no refusals based on pre-existing conditions.

To register, go to this registration page and enter your name, email address and CMG Freelance membership number. If you’re not a CMG Freelance member but would like to learn more about the program, you can enter the code “StoryBoard” in the membership number field.

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

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Mar 28-April 3

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 April 3, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

2017 Public Lending Rights Program registration deadline May 1

If you’re a Canadian author, illustrator or photographer with a published book, it’s time to register for the Public Lending Rights Program. PLR is a Canada Council for the Arts program that distributes payments to Canadian creators to compensate them for the lending out of their books through Canadian public libraries.

This year’s registration period runs from February 15 to May 1. In order to register, you’ll need to fill out and mail in a signed registration form along with photocopies of the title page, copyright page and table of contents of the book or books you’ve contributed to. But it’s worth the effort — last year the average payment sent out to registrants was $568.

For details on eligibility criteria or the application process, see the Public Lending Rights Program’s website.

 

Posted on March 31, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Urban Worker Skillshare April 8 in Vancouver

conference.share.squareCMG Freelance is partnering with the Urban Worker Project to present a day-long workshop and after party for freelance and contract workers to get together, network and share resources.

Join us on Saturday, April 8th from 9:30 to 6 p.m. at Creative Coworkers (343 Railway Street). There will be lawyers, accountants and other experts leading sessions on the business side of self-employment, including seminars on taxes, setting rates, writing contracts, invoicing, getting paid on time and more.

We’ll also talk about the big picture issues we’re facing – like access to affordable housing, benefits, childcare and income security and what we can do to make change.

Participants will leave with a package that includes contract templates, resources useful to freelancers and swag from partnering organizations.

Tickets to the daytime event are $100 with a sliding scale option. For details and to register for the event check out this Eventbrite page.

The after party will be held at the headquarters of the Vancouver Mural Festival (207-877 East Hastings Street) at 7 p.m. Tickets to the after party are being sold separately and can be purchased right here.

CMG Freelance has a limited number of free tickets to give away for both events. If you’d like one of them, you can email Don Genova at freelance@cmg.ca for a promo code. Priority will be given to CMG Freelance and CWA Canada Associate Members. Please include your CMG Freelance membership number in your email and indicate which of the events you’re interested in — the Skillshare, the party, or both.

Posted on March 29, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Mar 21-27

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:

  • 2017 Forum Freelance Fund applications open: The Forum Freelance Fund provides bursaries for Canadian freelancers to attend dangerous environment training courses. Applications are now open for the 2017 bursary program…
  • The Born Freelancer on the Sanctity of Deadlines, Part 2: In my previous post I talked about why deadlines should be considered sacrosanct. Today I want to talk about how to ensure you always make deadline. Everybody will develop different strategies; these are a few of my own…
  • CMG Freelance member wins RNAO media award: CMG Freelance member Alison Motluk has won an award from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario for her story Ottawa family sues fertility doctor for use of wrong sperm — his own, which aired last November on CBC Radio’s The Current…

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 March 27, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

2017 Forum Freelance Fund applications open

The Forum Freelance Fund provides bursaries for Canadian freelancers to attend dangerous environment training courses. Applications are now open for the 2017 bursary program.

The fund provides bursaries of up to $2500 to Canadian freelancers. Foreign freelancers doing significant work for Canadian publications are also eligible to apply.

The deadline for this annual bursary competition is April 15. Winners will be notified by May 31. Bursary winners will then have two months to choose a hostile environment training course and register for it. Most courses run for 4 or 5 days.

The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma runs the competition in association with the Rory Peck Trust, a U.K.-based organization devoted to promoting the safety of freelancers. The competition was founded in 2011 and has awarded 24 bursaries to freelancers since then.

More information and application requirements are available on the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma website.

 

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

The Born Freelancer on the Sanctity of Deadlines, Part 2

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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In my previous post I talked about why deadlines should be considered sacrosanct.

Today I want to talk about how to ensure you always make deadline. Everybody will develop different strategies; these are a few of my own.

When is it due?

When a deadline is given, you can accept it or attempt to negotiate it. In many cases a deadline is set in stone; in others there is room to manoeuvre. It will depend on many external factors that your employer may have no control over.

Ultimately, only experience will tell you how much time you will need. 

Some freelancers work fast. Some require multiple time-outs during the process. Others will plough through in a mad fit of productivity. Only you know your own needs. You must learn to assess a project before you begin it to roughly determine how long it will take you to complete. If you don’t, you won’t last long as a freelancer. 

If you can negotiate the deadline, always ask for more time than you think you need. First, it is a useful tactic as they may come back to you with a revised deadline more to your liking but still less than you requested. Secondly, it gives you built-in cushioning for unforeseen developments.

As a freelancer you always have to expect the unexpected.

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Posted on March 22, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

CMG Freelance member wins RNAO media award

CMG Freelance member Alison Motluk has won an award from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario for her story Ottawa family sues fertility doctor for use of wrong sperm — his own, which aired last November on CBC Radio’s The Current.

RNAO’s annual media awards recognize outstanding journalism that contributes to a better understanding of nursing and health-care issues.

Alison Motluk is a Toronto-based freelance journalist who writes often about reproductive technology. Her work has appeared in The Walrus, Maisonneuve, The Economist, Nature and New Scientist, among others, and her radio work has aired on The Current, IDEAS, Quirks and Quarks and The Sunday Edition.

Posted on March 21, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Mar 14-20

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:

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