The Born Freelancer Asks: Are We Notoriously Lazy?

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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The accusation took me completely by surprise.

I was once in casual discussions with an industry insider about the conditions under which we might work together on a number of future projects — me as a writer and he in a non-creative administrative capacity.

As the informal negotiations went back and forth it occurred to me his proposed management style was extremely obsessive. When I gently pointed out that he was proposing, in fact, to micromanage the entire writing process (something I would argue best left to writers to sort out amongst ourselves) he readily agreed.

Looking at me with complete sincerity and without a trace of humour he added, “Well, of course I have to micromanage you. You freelance writers are notoriously lazy”.

He then smiled good-naturedly as if he had expressed some fundamental human truth and went on to other issues – but I couldn’t let it pass. It was as if he had punched me in the stomach. What had lead him to such a stereotypically negative view of our craft? Surely someone in his exalted position should have had a far better understanding of us and what we do?
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Posted on May 23, 2018 at 7:00 pm by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , ,

CMG Freelance mixer in Toronto on Friday May 25

Hey Toronto freelancers, CMG Freelance executive members and delegates from across the country are convening in Toronto later this week to take part in the Canadian Media Guild’s national biennial convention — and we’d love to meet you while we’re in town.

CMG Freelance members and non-members are all invited to an informal, happy hour get-together. Come and join us for a drink at the Matisse Restaurant and Bar at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville (90 Bloor St. E.) this Friday, May 25 between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.

It’ll be a chance to meet fellow freelancers for some socializing and networking. And if there are issues that concern you as an independent worker, we’d like to hear about them, too. The CMG’s biennial convention is our chance to set our branch’s goals and priorities for the year ahead. If you work as a freelancer we’d like to hear your perspective.

When you get to the bar, just look for the CMG Freelance banner and CMG Freelance president Don Genova (both pictured above). Hope to see you there!

 

Posted on May 22, 2018 at 1:52 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

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

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, 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 May 22, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Freelancers gearing up for 2018 CMG convention

CMG Freelance is gearing up to take part in the Canadian Media Guild’s 2018 biennial convention on May 25, 26 and 27 in Toronto. Every two years a large group of CMG members meets at the convention to discuss the needs and priorities of the union.

Freelance branch members who’ll attend this year’s convention include the branch’s executive: Paolo Pietropaolo, Alison Motluk, George Butters, Scott Edmonds, JP Davidson and branch president Don Genova. Also, CMG Freelance members Leanne Allen, Trevor Beckerson, Shauna Rae, Sharon Riley, and Gerry Whelan were elected by the membership to attend the convention as delegates. In addition to the delegates and the executive, Story Board editor Rachel Sanders will attend the convention as an observer.

We’ll be participating in the union’s plenary sessions, but we’ll also have a chance to spend time together as a group discussing various campaigns that CMG Freelance is working on. We’ll also be setting our goals and priorities for the year ahead.

And we’d like to hear from our members and other Canadian freelancers on this: what do you think we should be discussing during this convention? From advocacy campaigns to creating and improving services for our members, what priorities should we pursue over the next few months? What are the most important concerns that you have as an independent worker?

Leave us a note in the comments section below or email us at freelance@cmg.ca. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

CMG Freelance is the freelance branch of the Canadian Media Guild, which represents 6,000 workers in Canadian media. Other branches of the union include CBC, The Canadian Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, TVO, TFO, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, ZoomerMedia, Corus and CKOI Radio Gatineau. 

Posted on May 17, 2018 at 8:56 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Webinar: Legal advice for journos on defamation, privacy concerns and reporting in conflict zones

Do you know your legal rights and responsibilities as a freelance journalist? If you could use a refresher, tune in to CMG Freelance’s upcoming webinar with lawyer Mark Donald.

He’ll share information on journalists’ legal rights when covering protests or reporting from other high-conflict zones, including what to do if you’re arrested and detained. His presentation will also address defamation, privacy and online harassment of journalists

The webinar “Legal Advice for Journos: Reporting in conflict zones, dealing with defamation & privacy concerns is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.  You can register for it right here

Mark possesses an extensive background in civil liberties, media law and human rights litigation. As former summer law student at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Mark was on the front lines of the 2010 Toronto G20 protests. After being arrested and detained, Mark represented the CCLA’s position on the CBC.

Mark received his training from one of Toronto’s top litigation boutiques, and since being called to the Ontario Bar in 2013, he has personally handled numerous cases from downtown Toronto, to California, to Nunavut. Armed with this experience, Mark maintains an active practice involving defamation, privacy and online harassment matters.

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 social media, contract negotiating and financial planning for freelancers.

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

Posted on May 15, 2018 at 9:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

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

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, 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 May 14, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Why Freelancers in Marketing and Communications Should Have an Email List

by Robyn Roste

If you spend any time studying online marketing you’ve come across advice to start an email list. And if you’re a typical freelancer who gets most of your work from referrals you may think you don’t need one.

I get it. On the surface it doesn’t make sense. Why would you collect random subscribers when your work comes through different channels? And why would you spend time sending emails when you don’t need many clients to run your business?

Email lists can be good for your freelance business. If you can create an environment where your email subscribers enjoy hearing from you and find your content relevant and applicable, you position yourself to be the first person they think of when they’re looking for a freelancer.

Here are six reasons why having an email list makes sense for freelancers.

1. An email list nurtures potential clients who aren’t ready to hire you…yet

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Posted on May 9, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , , ,

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

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, 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:

  • Ten reasons to join CMG Freelance: Freelancers, have you been looking for a good reason to join our freelance union? From contract advice to professional development opportunities, CMG Freelance president Don Genova gives you ten reasons in this new video…
  • Non-fiction book publishing advice for freelance writers: Have you ever thought about writing a non-fiction book? It’s a daunting undertaking, but for many published book authors, it’s also a rewarding one…

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 May 7, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Ten Reasons to Join CMG Freelance

Freelancers, have you been looking for a good reason to join our freelance union? From contract advice to professional development opportunities, CMG Freelance president Don Genova gives you ten reasons in this new video.

For more information on the costs and benefits of membership, check out this page on the CMG Freelance website.

 

Posted on May 3, 2018 at 5:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Non-fiction book publishing advice for freelance writers

By Lesley Evans Ogden

Have you ever thought about writing a non-fiction book? It’s a daunting undertaking, but for many published book authors, it’s also a rewarding one.

In April 2018, Science Writers and Communicators of Canada held their annual conference in Vancouver. During that conference, I moderated a session on book publishing. The three authors on the panel have all written books with science-related themes, but their advice and experiences are useful for anyone considering non-fiction book publishing. Below is some of their advice to wannabe book writers. These conversations have been edited for length and clarity.

First, a quick introduction to the panelists:

Mark Winston is a Professor and Senior fellow at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue and is also a Professor of Biological Sciences. Mark is one of the world’s leading experts on bees and pollination and is a recipient of the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for his nonfiction book Bee Time: Lessons From The Hive. Winston also works with student scientists and other professionals and writers to develop nonfiction writing from proposals and newspaper opinion pieces to manuscripts and books.

Adrienne Mason is managing editor at Hakai magazine and was previously a freelance writer and editor. She helped launch and was the managing editor at KNOW: the science magazine for curious kids. Mason writes for adults and children. She has authored over 30 books on science, natural history and the cultural history of the West Coast. Her most recent book is Long Beach Wild published by Greystone in 2012.

Christopher Pollon is a Vancouver-based freelance journalist who covers business environment and the politics of natural resources. His special interests are energy, mines and oceans and he has written for National Geographic, The Walrus, The Globe and Mail. He also works for the Tyee where he’s been a contributing editor since 2008. Pollon’s first book, The Peace in Peril: The Real Cost of the Site C Dam, was published in late 2016.

Can you walk us through the process from idea in your head to securing a book contract. What’s the first step?
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Posted on May 2, 2018 at 8:55 pm by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , ,