Freelancing gets a boost

12May10

For close to a decade, my workday started with a roughly 10-foot commute to my home office. No traffic, no road rage — heck, no need to dress even remotely professionally.

Those are a few of the benefits of working as a freelance journalist. The drawbacks include a lack of job security, no health coverage and declining pay rates.

That really does sound like something I would have written over the past couple of years. But that wasn’t written by me; instead, it was written by long-time freelancer Craig Silverman. I’ve never met Craig, but I have a whole lot of respect for his work and how he carries himself online. He’s now taken up a post as Digital Journalism Director at Open File, perhaps the most innovative local news outlet ever to set up shop in Toronto.

No one knows the challenges of freelancing better than a freelancer, and Craig just wrote a post at Open File explaining why and how that office will rely on freelancers — and pay them for their work. This is just an excerpt:

The old world of journalism offered the possibility of an editorial job-for-life and a nice retirement party. That’s far from the norm today. Instead, we have a job market where people move from one position, one contract and one assignment to another. Combine this larger trend with the alarming number of layoffs and buyouts in the news industry, and you’re left with a media world that should focus on the freelancer. The problem is that today’s newsroom was built for yesterday’s workplace and staff.

We kept the new world of news and work in mind as we developed the OpenFile beta. Rather than hire a large staff of reporters, we’re going to work with freelancers who live in neighbourhoods all over the city and who have varied areas of expertise and interest. This enables us to match the story with the right writer, rather than just assigning it to the closest warm body.

That’s speaking my language. This is going to be a good day.

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One Response to “Freelancing gets a boost”

  1. 1 Gordo

    I too thought you might have written that somewhere else on the blog, but then I remembered your commute was more like 6 feet. For a time, mine was just one floor down.


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