Posts tagged freelance

The problem with the cutbacks in professional foreign coverage is not just the loss of experience and wisdom. It’s the rise of — and exploitation of — the Replacements, a legion of freelancers, often untrained and too often unsupported. They gravitate to the bang-bang, because that’s what editors and broadcast producers will pay for. And chances are that nobody has their backs.

Bill Keller, It’s the Golden Age of NewsNY Times.

Keller points out that despite the fact papers have fewer and fewer experienced correspondents on staff, our access to those who are doing the work is unprecedented (and often free). Cutbacks have led to the rise of freelancers, who often lack the support needed to conduct their work as safely as they ought to be able to. He writes:

Some of them, of course, are tremendously talented, and many prefer freelance work over staff jobs for the freedom to cover what interests them. But for most of them, I suspect, it’s not a choice. Freelance work has long been a way to break into the business of international reporting; nowadays, increasingly, it is the business.

FJP: It’s an important read. I’ve got a friend who, while not a foreign correspondent, has been freelancing in the broadcast industry for years. And while she’s won two Peabody’s for her work, she’s struggled to maintain a livable salary with benefits. The fact that such a dichotomy can exist speaks for itself. —Jihii

Sunday Times to Freelancers: We Don't Want Your Syria Stories

England’s Sunday Times is no longer accepting freelancers’ work from Syria, saying that to do so puts reporters at risk.

Via the Press Gazette:

After submitting pictures from Aleppo this week [freelance photographer] Rick Findler was told by the foreign desk that “it looks like you have done some exceptional work” but “we have a policy of not taking copy from Syria as we believe the dangers of operating there are too great”.

Findler, 28, has been published before in The Sunday Times and has been to Iraq, twice, Libya and this is his third trip to Syria.

He said: “Surely it is that photographer’s decision to choose whether or not they take the risks.

“I thought part of photography was the fact that some people in this world do take exceptional risks to show the rest of the world what is happening.

"I just don’t know what else to do any more. I really feel disheartened and extremely let down.”

"This is not a financial decision. It is a moral one," Graeme Paterson, the Sunday Times policy deputy foreign editor, told the Press Gazette, when asked to explain the decision. He added that the paper has staff reporters in the region.

“In the light of what happened to Marie Colvin we have decided we do not want to commission any journalists to cover the situation in Syria.

“And we take the same view regarding freelancers speccing in material. Even if they have returned home safely.

"This is because it could be seen as encouragement go out and take unnecessary risks in the future.

“The situation out there is incredibly risky. And we do not want to see any more bloodshed. There has been far too much already.”

Colvin, an American war correspondent working for the Sunday Times, and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed last February in Homs by rockets fired by the Syrian government.

For Syria’s war is characterised most strongly by absence and collective abandonment. Other than the protagonists and victims the arena is almost empty. There is no foreign military intervention. There are no NGOs or aid workers distributing food and blankets. The media is similarly self-exiled: very few broadcasters or newspapers commit journalists regularly, if at all. A handful of freelance photographers work inside the country, but none of the big names. The middle-aged bravehearts of Bosnia and Afghanistan have grown old and too soft for the hardships of Syria, while the economics of journalism have not allowed their replacement generation to prosper. That McCullin, still a prizefighter despite his years, had hauled himself out to that lonely war zone was inspiring in itself, legitimising the work of the few freelancers already there and challenging the absentees.

Anthony Loyd, The Australian. Parting shots.

That’s right: a 77 year old photographer named Don McCullin recently went to Aleppo to take his last set of photos, 15 years after his last war assignment. See the above article for an account of his trip as told by the much younger journalist in charge of his safety.

There’s no telling which photos from Syria’s revolutionary war will become famous and come to represent the conflict, if any do at all. For a great collection of pictures by other photojournalists in the country, see these. For more of McCullin, who is something of a legend in his line of work, see this bio and a portion of his photography from Vietnam and Lebanon.

I Don’t Have a Pension
Via.

I Don’t Have a Pension

Via.

mauricecherry:

Freelance Freedom 293: Casual Perspective

FJP: Been there — Michael

Blogger turns to tips, briefly becomes "best-paid" journalist in his country

From PandoDaily: freelance journalist Keith Ng breached a treasure trove of private government documents, revealing a security flaw. Instead of publishing his findings in a newspaper or magazine, he posted them for free at a site called Public Address and asked for donations. He made $3,727 in a day.

Journalism Riches
Over at at Journalism Jobs a company is looking for US-based journalists to write cover and feature stories that will be placed in the “weekly, hyperlocal sections of a major metropolitan newspaper.”
For your efforts: $24 for a “cover story”, $10-$12 for “news and features”.
Via Journalism Jobs:

The job pays $24 per piece. Stories are two-source interviews on topics selected well in advance by our editorial team. Story lengths average 650 to 700 words, and each assignment requires the writer to include three hi-res photos from sources. An assignment editor will provide you with a story template and data to help write each piece. You contact sources, conduct interviews, mix in the data and write to spec.

If you’re doing the math on those cover stories, that’s three cents per word.
We feel dirty too.

Journalism Riches

Over at at Journalism Jobs a company is looking for US-based journalists to write cover and feature stories that will be placed in the “weekly, hyperlocal sections of a major metropolitan newspaper.”

For your efforts: $24 for a “cover story”, $10-$12 for “news and features”.

Via Journalism Jobs:

The job pays $24 per piece. Stories are two-source interviews on topics selected well in advance by our editorial team. Story lengths average 650 to 700 words, and each assignment requires the writer to include three hi-res photos from sources. An assignment editor will provide you with a story template and data to help write each piece. You contact sources, conduct interviews, mix in the data and write to spec.

If you’re doing the math on those cover stories, that’s three cents per word.

We feel dirty too.

Latitude News Wants You
Latitude News, a startup based out of Cambridge Massachusetts, is looking for contributors to report on local US stories with a global perspective.
Founded by Maria Balinska, former BBC World Current Affairs Editor, Latitude believes “international isn’t ‘foreign’ anymore”.
As John Dyer, one of the publication’s editors, puts it:

We focus on topics that have US-foreign connections. Think how Chinese car buyers are key to Detroit’s recovery; how American missionaries are influencing family planning in Africa; how American and Norwegian fishermen are coping quite differently with their declining industries.
We want ground truth from the Deccan, the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Parisian cafes. We need journalists who can explain why a foreign story might be important for an American audience. We’re also interested in writers who might want to focus on international religion, science or similar specific topics.

Latitude is paying $360 for 800 word pieces with additional payment for audio and photographs.
Inquiries and pitches can be sent to John Dyer at john [at] latitudenews [dot] com.

Latitude News Wants You

Latitude News, a startup based out of Cambridge Massachusetts, is looking for contributors to report on local US stories with a global perspective.

Founded by Maria Balinska, former BBC World Current Affairs Editor, Latitude believes “international isn’t ‘foreign’ anymore”.

As John Dyer, one of the publication’s editors, puts it:

We focus on topics that have US-foreign connections. Think how Chinese car buyers are key to Detroit’s recovery; how American missionaries are influencing family planning in Africa; how American and Norwegian fishermen are coping quite differently with their declining industries.

We want ground truth from the Deccan, the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Parisian cafes. We need journalists who can explain why a foreign story might be important for an American audience. We’re also interested in writers who might want to focus on international religion, science or similar specific topics.

Latitude is paying $360 for 800 word pieces with additional payment for audio and photographs.

Inquiries and pitches can be sent to John Dyer at john [at] latitudenews [dot] com.

Mediapost: Paywalls Proliferate, But Digital Pros Won't Pay

Dear Media Executives With Paywalls,

If your news organization did not pay freelancers and staff a fair rate for their work at any given time, you should at least give these people a lifetime, free subscription. No paywalls for alumni freelancers, contribs and staff. Everyday we’re hustlin’ hustlin’ hustlin’…

With love,

FJP

Relying on freelance journalism in Afghanistan’s “Land of Secrets”
Tired of seeing interest and quality reporting leave Afghanistan with the war, a new outlet called razistan.org has set out to help freelance photo/videographers in Kabul  cover the country’s less documented people and events.
via its Tumblr:

Razistan.org aims to help give Afghanistan the attention it demands. Our core project is a website of unique photo essays and short video documentaries that bring into vivid relief not only the war and its participants but also the country and its people. Contributors include both award-winning Kabul-based photojournalists from around the world and local Afghan photographers and videographers. There is much more to the war than the mainstream media has shown. The purpose of Razistan — or “land of secrets” — is to reveal these untold stories. 

See their Kickstarter, as well as this post from yesterday, which laments what mainstream war reporting has become.
Photo: Lorenzo Tugnoli.

Relying on freelance journalism in Afghanistan’s “Land of Secrets”

Tired of seeing interest and quality reporting leave Afghanistan with the war, a new outlet called razistan.org has set out to help freelance photo/videographers in Kabul  cover the country’s less documented people and events.

via its Tumblr:

Razistan.org aims to help give Afghanistan the attention it demands. Our core project is a website of unique photo essays and short video documentaries that bring into vivid relief not only the war and its participants but also the country and its people. Contributors include both award-winning Kabul-based photojournalists from around the world and local Afghan photographers and videographers. There is much more to the war than the mainstream media has shown. The purpose of Razistan — or “land of secrets” — is to reveal these untold stories. 

See their Kickstarter, as well as this post from yesterday, which laments what mainstream war reporting has become.

Photo: Lorenzo Tugnoli.

AOL Fires Freelance Journalists

rubenfeld:

davelee:

“The Huffington Post Transition team has just eliminated all AOL freelancers and contractors. But we have been invited to continue contributing for free.”

Wow.

Part of a note sent to Business Insider:

Well, it’s official: The Huffington Post Transition team has just eliminated all AOL freelancers and contractors (at least those in business and finance—everything under Peter Goodman). But we have been invited to continue contributing for free. We will be replaced either by a handful of people Goodman has in mind, or with young, new (read cheap) writers who have yet to be hired.

We’ve been told that all these new, full-time employees will be expected to report to the office every day for a 40-hour work week. For some reason, it’s very important to Arianna [Huffington] to have writers physically working in a newsroom in either LA, New York or Washington, DC, thus going back to an archaic newsroom model that went out with the invention of the telephone, and needlessly eliminating any talented writers in other parts of the country. So much for a global, cutting edge news team.