Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Feb 28-Mar 6

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:

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 6, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

New UK report highlights the challenges of freelancing

This post is the eleventh 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

New data confirm that the number of freelance journalists has increased across the UK since 2000 and their pay is lower than the national average.

A report published on February 13 by the UK’s National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) found that the number of freelance journalists increased from 15,000 to 25,000 between 2000 and 2015. Freelance—or self-employment—represents 35 percent of jobs for journalists versus 15 percent for all workers across the UK economy. These numbers are similar to the findings in the UK’s 2015 National Labour Force Survey.

The NCTJ survey data suggest the mean annual income for all freelance journalists is £19,499 ($32,099 CAD), while it’s £22,487 ($37,018 CAD) for all occupations. Freelancers may be paid less because a higher proportion of them work part time—43 percent compared to 29 percent of workers across all occupations.

“I also teach sometimes: this is a common source of income for mid-career onwards journos, so it’s important,” said a freelancer who completed the NCTJ survey.

Yet some survey respondents said their overall earnings have decreased in recent years.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on March 2, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

Freelancers’ social night in Vancouver March 7

Vancouver-area freelancers, come out for a freelancers’ social night on Tuesday, March 7th at 6 p.m. at Central City Brewing (871 Beatty St). 

CMG Freelance members and non-members are all welcome. There will be some CMG Freelance swag giveaways and lots of new freelance colleagues to meet.

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

Posted on February 28, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Feb 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?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

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

Off the Page, with investigative journalist Virgil Grandfield

Off the Page is a regular interview series featuring National Magazine Award winners. In this interview we chat with freelance journalist Virgil Grandfield, who won the 2016 National Magazine Award for Investigative Reporting.

In his award-winning investigative story “The Cage” (Eighteen Bridges) Virgil Grandfield describes one particular day of his multi-year investigation into human trafficking allegedly linked to Red Cross humanitarian efforts in Indonesia, post-tsunami. “Eva” is his assistant; “Mulyo” is a labour agent who may have been involved in human trafficking; “Otong” is a worker who disappeared while working on a Red Cross project and was allegedly murdered while trying to escape.


NMAF: In 2008, you decided to resign your position as spokesperson for the Red Cross / Red Crescent reconstruction efforts in Indonesia’s Aceh province. The international community had poured millions into rebuilding the region after the 2004 tsunami and 2005 earthquake, and from your position you were able to observe human trafficking creeping into the humanitarian project. How did you start down this road?
Read the rest of this post »

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

Alberta Publishing company and CEO Ruth Kelly leave their freelance content creators shivering through the winter – Hire now; pay much, much later

Edmonton, February 22, 2017 – Venture Publishing Inc. of Edmonton and its CEO Ruth Kelly have developed a disturbing business model when it comes to paying the freelance contributors hired to create articles, photos, and illustrations for the various magazines the company produces, such as Alberta Venture, Alberta Oil, and Heroes on behalf of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.

For several years, Venture Publishing has contracted freelance writers, photographers, graphic designers, and illustrators to produce content, and then failed to pay them in a timely manner, or at all.

Venture Publishing currently owes tens of thousands of dollars to these freelancers, and has failed to make good on constant promises to pay them for their work. For those freelancers who do get paid, Venture takes months, or even years, to fulfill its financial obligations.

“Many of the people we’re representing have told me how frustrated they have been, and how some have had their credit ratings ruined because they couldn’t pay bills they were counting on covering with income owed from Venture,” said Canadian Media Guild (CMG) Freelance Branch President Don Genova. “It’s shocking that Ruth Kelly feels she can commission people to fill their magazines with high quality photos, stories, and illustrations, and then not bother to pay them for months and months, leaving her editors, art directors, and financial people to make excuses about why the cheques haven’t been sent. I wonder how the Alberta Congress Board feels now about selecting her as the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Workplace Leader award, when she treats her content providers like this.”

In 2016, a CMG Freelance Branch member approached Genova for help in getting the pay she was owed. Genova soon discovered other freelancers with the same problem. Some reported they had been paid, but only after months or sometimes years of waiting. Others said they were still owed money, and provided contracts, invoices, and email threads to substantiate their claims.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on February 22, 2017 at 8:00 am by editor · 3 Comments · Tagged with: , , , ,

Webinar: “How To Go Viral Like A Journalist”

yulischeidt-Lauren-headshot-4Ever wonder how BuzzFeed finds funny, heartwarming, or enraging viral news before everyone else? The next in our series of professional development webinars will look at how to track down content on social media, how to find the best tools that do the work for you, and how to make sure you’re not falling for a viral hoax.

The webinar How To Go Viral Like A Journalist is scheduled for Tuesday February 28, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The webinar will be hosted by Lauren Strapagiel, managing editor for Canada at BuzzFeed. She has previously worked at the National Post, Canada.com, and the Huffington Post Canada.

You can register for the webinar at this link. CMG Freelance and CWA Canada Associate Members can use their membership numbers to register. 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 contract negotiation, pitching, freelance finances, and achieving “Inbox Zero.”

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 February 21, 2017 at 9:31 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Feb 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?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

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

J-Source wants you to help create a list of the best places to freelance in Canada

5qPdZ5wUEarlier this month, the Columbia Journalism Review ran a great post that surveyed two dozen freelancers about the best outlets to work for. It gives a rundown of six publications that freelancers love, offering specific details about pay and editorial style.

Now J-Source editor H.G. Watson wants to create a Canadian version. She put out a call this week for input from Canadian freelancers about this country’s best outlets to work for — whether because of pay, or great editors, or any other reason. She’s also looking for people who might be willing to go on the record about why they like freelancing for a particular Canadian media outlet.

If you’ve got opinions to share, you can email her at hgwatson@j-source.ca.

We’re looking forward to seeing the results of her research!

Posted on February 17, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Looking for a coffee shop to work in? Work Hard Anywhere can help

Ja-ss1d3_400x400You probably know the feeling. You’re out in the world, laptop in tow, with some time to spare between appointments. Or maybe you’re on vacation in an unfamiliar city and need a quiet spot where you can get a bit of work done — preferably somewhere with fast wifi, accessible power outlets and good coffee. But if you don’t know the neighbourhood, it can be hard to find a place that checks all the boxes.

We recently ran across an app that might help.

Work Hard Anywhere is an iOS app that maps laptop-friendly workspaces such as coffee shops, libraries and co-working spaces. The app depends on users to rate various aspects of the locations on the map — from wifi speed, to parking, to noisiness and price.

Work Hard Anywhere’s co-founder and CEO Benson Chou told Story Board via email this week that although most of their users are concentrated in the U.S., Canadian freelancers have been helping to map workspaces north of the border as well.

“Besides the US, Canada is certainly one of the more active countries with more than 500 locations scouted by the creatives there,” he says.

A quick scan of the maps of several Canadian cities reveals that newer coffee shops and co-working spaces haven’t yet been added. But there’s enough information there already — especially in larger cities — to make it a useful tool. And the more users get on board, the better the maps will get.

Chou says since the app launched last year it’s had good response from freelancers who’ve used it to find good places to work when they were in a hurry. Others, he says, have used it to find new places to work right in their own neighbourhoods.

The team has had several requests for an Android app, which is currently in development. There’s no release date yet for the Android version (“We’re a bootstrapped startup so we’re inching forward as fast as we can,” says Chou) but you can follow @WHAnywhere on Twitter for updates.

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