Critic says new Globe and Mail freelance contract isn’t fair to writers

by Mitchell Thompson

The Globe and Mail has received criticism for a revamped freelance contract that one critic says doesn’t treat authors fairly.

Content Writers Group — formerly known as the Canadian Writers Group — founder Derek Finkle said the provisions in the Globe’s “amended and restated” freelance contract take away rights freelancers previously retained, with no extra compensation in sight.

“The freelancer retains their copyright over the work but the contract makes those rights so narrow that you don’t really have the rights to your work,” Finkle said.

For example, the contract demands freelancers give up moral rights to their contracted material, Finkle said. The CWG said that obligates freelance writers to “give publishers the right to essentially mutilate your work in ways that you might not agree with.”  Finkle added that it gives the company the power to rewrite copy freely, even if it changes the meaning of the work.

The danger, Finkle explained, is that authors would lose the right to challenge editorial changes that fundamentally alter the article’s intent. “It seems to mean, if a writer wrote something mean about Donald Trump, the paper is free to turn it around and make it a nice story about Donald Trump,” Finkle said. “Moral Rights is about control over the work”

Jim Jennings, the Globe’s associate publisher, would not comment on either the contract’s moral rights language. “Each (contract) has a confidentiality clause associated with it and as such cannot comment on any individual situation.”
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Posted on November 1, 2017 at 11:08 pm by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Oct 24-30

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:

  • Freelance social night in Vancouver November 7: Vancouver-area freelancers, come out for a casual social evening with peers and colleagues at Craft Beer Market (85 West 1st Ave) on Tuesday, November 7th from 6 to 8 p.m. CMG Freelance members and non-members are all welcome…
  • Webinar — LinkedIn for Journalists: LinkedIn is often known only as a networking tool, though it can also be used as a powerful research tool. In this webinar, Katt Stearns will show you how to best to use this overlooked social media platform and answer the question, “should I pay to ‘go Pro’?”…

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 October 30, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Freelance social night in Vancouver November 7

Vancouver-area freelancers, come out for a casual social evening with peers and colleagues at Craft Beer Market (85 West 1st Ave) on Tuesday, November 7th from 6 to 8 p.m.

CMG Freelance members and non-members are all welcome. Come and catch up with your freelance friends or meet some new ones. You never know what new inspiration or collaboration might arise out of an evening of conversation with other freelancers.

Please RSVP to freelance@cmg.ca to let us know if you can make it. Hope to see you there!

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

Webinar: LinkedIn for Journalists

LinkedIn is often known only as a networking tool, though it can also be used as a powerful research tool. In this webinar, Katt Stearns will show you how to best to use this overlooked social media platform and answer the question, “should I pay to ‘go Pro’?”

If you’re one of those people who has set up a LinkedIn account and then just let it sit there, this webinar is for you.

How to Make the Best Use of Your LinkedIn Account is scheduled for Thursday, November 9 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. 

Katt Stearns is the founder of Katt Stearns Consulting. She has worked with numerous small and medium sized organizations helping them develop marketing strategies to share their stories and grow their organizations. Katt is the recipient of the 2015 Canadian Digital Marketer of the Year Award and was also nominated for the 2014 British Columbia Small Business Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. You can connect with Katt on Twitter at @KattStearns.

Register for the webinar at this link. CMG Freelance and CWA Canada Associate Members can use their membership numbers to register. And for a limited time, CMG Freelance is making live viewing of our webinars available to non-members. If you’d like to watch this one, you can use the special code “Storyboard” in place of a membership number.

Archived webinars are available for viewing by CMG Freelance and CWA Canada Associate Members on this members-only page on the CMG Freelance website. Subjects of previous webinars include tax tips for freelancers, negotiation skills, and webinars with Katt Stearns about best practices for Twitter and Facebook.

Students, volunteers and emerging media workers can sign up for a free CWA Associate Membership right here.

For information about the price and benefits of CMG Freelance membership check out the CMG Freelance website.

Posted on October 25, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Oct 17-23

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

The Born Freelancer’s Musings on Muses and the Origins of Inspiration

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. bornfreel2

I was speaking to a visual artist the other day. I found myself guilty of asking him the same over-worked question we writers so often get asked by non-writers.

“Where do you get your inspiration?”

He looked at me intently for a few seconds and then, in a low conspiratorial voice, said,

“I await my muses.”

I nodded my understanding. You see, I too have muses.

Every creative person should have muses. Freelancers being no exception.

Now if that all sounds too metaphysical, please indulge me for a moment.

Muses have a solid, pragmatic value to the working professional. They are not solely the province of mystics and visionary artists.

What’s a muse?

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Posted on October 19, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Blogger or journalist? In Canada, defamation law applies either way

by Vanessa Hrvatin

Who is a journalist, anyway? In the age of the internet, the definition is becoming less clear.

In the past, journalists were considered gatekeepers of information, but today, anyone can share facts and stories online through different platforms, including blogging sites. Many freelance journalists spend time blogging about topics without necessarily worrying about the ethical and legal considerations associated with journalism. Others—who don’t consider themselves journalists at all—have made careers by blogging on a specialized topic.

While blogs and message boards often provide a great platform to disseminate information and engage in productive conversations, they also represent a grey area when it comes to defamation laws. People tend to speak more freely on the internet and for many independent journalists and bloggers, the legal implications of defaming someone in the blogosphere are unclear.

Defamation law in the blogosphere

The laws around defamation in the blogosphere became clearer in 2009, when the Grant versus TorStar Corp defamation lawsuit established the defense of responsible communication on matters of public interest. This precedent established that as long as journalists did their due diligence in confirming potentially defamatory facts, they could not be held liable for defamation.

This defence was previously called responsible journalism, but during this case it was decided that bloggers could use the defence as well—officially removing any legal distinction between blogger and journalist. This essentially means if a blogger defames someone online and is taken to court, they will have to prove they did their due diligence in confirming facts before they shared the information on their blog, just as a journalist would have to. However not every case is clear cut, and the law is still adapting to lawsuits in the blogosphere.
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Posted on October 18, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Oct 11-16

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:

  • 2018 Dalton Camp Award deadline December 1: The deadline for the 2018 Dalton Camp Award is approaching. The annual essay competition is open to submissions until Friday, December 1. The competition awards the best essay (or essays) about the link between democracy and the media in Canada…
  • Pay-what-you-can financial planning for low-income freelancers: Chris Enns specializes in helping people with variable income get their financial houses in order. The Toronto-based financial planner and opera singer offers online personalized financial counselling services through his practice From Rags to Reasonable…

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 October 16, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

2018 Dalton Camp Award deadline December 1

DCAlogo The deadline for the 2018 Dalton Camp Award is approaching. The annual essay competition is open to submissions until Friday, December 1. The competition awards the best essay (or essays) about the link between democracy and the media in Canada.

The competition is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Essays must be written in English and not exceed 2000 words in length.

The Dalton Camp Award was founded by the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting in 2002. Last year, a prize of $10,000 was awarded to the winning essay, and a second prize of $2500 was awarded to a student submission.

For more information or to submit an entry for the Dalton Camp Award, check out this page on the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting’s website.

Posted on October 13, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Pay-what-you-can financial planning for low income freelancers

Chris EnnsChris Enns specializes in helping people with variable income get their financial houses in order. The Toronto-based financial planner and opera singer offers online personalized financial counselling services through his practice From Rags to Reasonable.

This fall Enns has added a social enterprise element to his business: pay-what-you-can financial planning services for people who earn less than $30,000 a year as individuals or less than $45,000 as a family.

Ten percent of every dollar that comes into his financial planning business goes towards low-cost financial services for people who can’t afford his regular rates. Enns is also supporting his pay-what-you-can services through a Patreon campaign.

Enns told Story Board recently that the scheme is off to a good start.

“It’s already afforded me the opportunity to work with a few great people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford one-on-one financial help,” he said.

Story Board spoke with Enns earlier this year about how good financial planning can help artists and freelancers maximize their creative potential. You can read that interview right here.

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