Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 27-July 4

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

Toronto media mixer: Digital security for journalists and filmmakers

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In an era of mass surveillance and targeted intrusions, our privacy as media workers – and the security of our sources – is constantly threatened. How do we manage the risks while still reporting the stories that need to be told?

Toronto-area journalists and filmmakers are invited to a mixer and round table discussion on this subject called Protecting Our Sources and Ourselves on Monday,  July 10th from  6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Page One Cafe (106 Mutual St).

This event will bring together technologists, journalists and filmmakers to define and tackle these challenges, discuss best practices for safe digital research and communication, and address the responsibility that news organizations have to ensure that freelancers and employees have access to the support, resources and training they need to report more safely.

Tickets for the event are free, but please register to reserve your space at this link. There will be time before and after the panel to network and chat with other freelancers, media workers, students, and featured mentors. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Speakers at the event include filmmaker Dylan Reibling, photojournalist Annie Sakkab, and technologist and community organizer Nasma Ahmed.  The panel will be moderated by award-winning freelance writer and radio producer Susana Ferreira.

Some of the featured mentors who will be at the event are journalist Basil Rehan, journalist and filmmaker Andrea Schmidt, and technology reporter Matt Braga.

If you’re not in Toronto, stay tuned to Story Board. We’ll be posting a summary shortly after the event with a roundup of some of the panelists’ best advice.

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

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 20-26

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:

  • Webinar — Facebook for Journalists: How could you be using Facebook  to promote your work more effectively? Tune into our upcoming webinar with Katt Stearns to find out. Facebook for Journalists is scheduled for Thursday, June 29th at 3:00 p.m. EST…
  • The fine line of the follow up: Following up with editors after sending a story pitch can be anxiety-inducing. “Why have I not heard back?” “Is it a bad idea?” “Are they just too busy?” Ultimately, the radio silence you hear after sending a pitch is likely because of a combination of busy schedules, email overload, and – unfortunately for freelancers – a bunch of factors specific to each editor…

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 June 26, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Webinar: Facebook for journalists


Katt Stearns Mission Social Media
How could you be using Facebook  to promote your work more effectively? Tune into our upcoming webinar with Katt Stearns to find out.

Facebook for Journalists is scheduled for Thursday, June 29th at 3:00 p.m. EST.

During this session, Katt will dive into what is working right now on Facebook and what’s not. You’ll learn how to beat the Facebook algorithm so your content can be seen and heard more. She will also share the #1 strategy you need to be incorporating into your marketing today.

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.

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, freelance finances and digital security for freelancers.

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 June 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

The fine line of the follow-up

by Brittany Duggan
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Following up with editors after sending a story pitch can be anxiety-inducing.

“Why have I not heard back?”

“Is it a bad idea?”

“Are they just too busy?”

Ultimately, the radio silence you hear after sending a pitch is likely because of a combination of busy schedules, email overload, and – unfortunately for freelancers – a bunch of factors specific to each editor.

There’s no magic rule to the follow up question. But because it’s such an important step, it helps to know what editors think. After all, editors love hearing about a great story idea just as much as you love pitching one. What they don’t love is being hounded. It’s a fine line.

Here’s what a few Canadian editors had to say on the topic.

Editors weigh in

“I advise people to not get too pushy too early,” says Janet Smith, arts editor at Vancouver’s Georgia Straight. “It can take me a production schedule of several days before I can get sorting through pitches. And then, if I am very interested in a story, I often tell the person they will have to wait till I have space and not to lose faith. Nagging me during that time is usually not necessary.”

Smith says it’s fine to follow up by email until you get some response but consider the workflow of the outlet you’re pitching to.
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Posted on June 21, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 13-19

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:

  • Privacy and digital security at the border: Though media workers such as journalists and filmmakers have long faced occupational and digital security and privacy issues while crossing international borders, new challenges to the way they do their work have recently emerged…
  • The Born Freelancer reads “This I Know” by Terry O’Reilly: O’Reilly takes the potentially mundane topic of marketing/advertising and turns it into a weekly half hour of fascinating history, pop culture and invaluable lessons on the radio. So when I heard that he had distilled the essence of his considerable experience into a new book I sought it out immediately. Having read it from cover to cover, it is something I can now confidently urge every freelancer to read…

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

Privacy and digital security at the border

By Shelley Pascual

Though media workers such as journalists and filmmakers have long faced occupational and digital security and privacy issues while crossing international borders, new challenges to the way they do their work have recently emerged.

Now, you might also encounter challenges when you arrive in your country of origin, said Harlo Holmes, the director of newsroom digital security at the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Holmes led an evening workshop in Toronto at Ryerson University’s Transmedia Zone on June 12th which covered common privacy and security scenarios media workers might face at borders. Participants in the interactive workshop also got tips on the tools they need in order to protect their work.

Community-based organization Off Assignment Toronto hosted the workshop. It was sponsored, in part, by CMG Freelance and CJFE.

Here’s a summary of the key points Holmes mentioned:

The importance of digital security

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Posted on June 16, 2017 at 6:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The Born Freelancer Reads “This I Know” by Terry O’Reilly

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.

bornfreel2In the interests of full disclosure I must admit, first and foremost, that I am a huge fan of Terry O’Reilly’s exceptionally enjoyable CBC Radio series, “Under The Influence” upon which his new book “This I Know” is based.

O’Reilly takes the potentially mundane topic of marketing/advertising and turns it into a weekly half hour of fascinating history, pop culture and invaluable lessons (if you’re paying close attention) on the radio. So when I heard that he had distilled the essence of his considerable experience into a new book I sought it out immediately.

Well, what I actually did was to go to my local public library to put it on hold. 

Given the considerable number of other listeners who had apparently had the same brain wave, alas some time ahead of me, this meant I would get around to reading a copy in perhaps a year or so.

Unable to wait, I bought it. I believe it’s the first book I have ever bought on marketing.

Having read it from cover to cover, it is something I can now confidently urge every freelancer to read. (I will also be re-reading it frequently in the weeks and months ahead.)

So who is Terry O’Reilly?

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Posted on June 14, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 6-12

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

Freelancers’ social night in Vancouver June 19

Vancouver-area freelancers, come out for a social evening with peers and colleagues on Monday, June 19 at 6 p.m. at Central City Brewing (871 Beatty St).

CMG Freelance members and non-members are all welcome. Take a break from work to 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 this week to freelance@cmg.ca to let us know if you can make it. Hope to see you there!

Posted on June 7, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , ,