Plagiarism is the bane of quality journalism

Please consider signing and sharing this Change petition set up by Ginger Gorman. Many freelance journalists have seen their work being ripped off by unscrupulous publishers and sadly by other journalists. Despite being a clear copyright breach in many instances, it’s up to the person whose work has been copied to prove the case. For large publishers, this means spending time, resources and money on prosecuting a case; for freelance journalists, it’s usually not financially feasible. Those who blatantly copy know they can get away with it – because they have for so long. It’s time to call them out on this unethical and unfair behaviour.


SURVEY RESULTS: Where is the industry headed?

Head on over to Rachel’s List to find the latest analysis from the 2014 Show Me The Money Survey.

More than 40 Aussie freelancers filled in the survey – and there’s great insights to be found.

(Do you agree with this comment on the future of freelance journalism:
The future….“Technology will overtake me and I will have to retrain/diversify/become a barista/prostitute.”?)

– check Rachel’s Blog for more details.

Photographers Rally against bad Australian laws

Australian photographer Ken Duncan is organising a rally next Sunday 29 August at 10am at Campbell Cove to raise awareness about the eroding rights of photographers in Australia, thanks to laws that prohibit photography without a permit in many public places around Australia.

This has implications for any freelancer shooting pics in many public areas – Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and Waverley Council for example have quite nasty restrictions. [oops! I could have been very seriously busted a few times recently!]

Duncan chairs an umbrella body, Arts Freedom Australia, which represents Australia’s major photographic associations as well as many individual photographers, is protesting the growing laws that restrict photography.

Duncan (who made his fortune before today’s regulations were put in place), says that these days, Australian photographers (professional, part-time or amateur) can risk getting a criminal record for taking a picture of a rock.

AFA recently completed a comparative study of legislation and policies imposed on photographers and film-makers within Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America and found Australian photographers and film-makers were seriously affected by a myriad of rules and regulations that impose prohibitive restrictions, high fees, and bureaucratic application protocols.

More information here:

What do Australian freelancers get paid?

Prominent Australian freelance journalist and academic Margaret Simons has posted a request on her regular Crikey blog for freelancers to email her with the current rates they are paid.

The 2010 MEAA freelance rates, available as a PDF download on the MEAA website here, suggest that the minimum rate for a freelance journalist should be 89c a word (with $890 paid for any article of 1,000 words or less).

There are certainly publications in Australia which pay more on a per-word basis; eg The Monthly, Griffith Review and Reader’s Digest all pay around $1 a word – and there are many other corporate and trade publications  which pay that or more.

However, metro daily newspapers generally pay around 65c per word – way less for travel – and plenty of Australian magazines still pay just 50c a word or even less.

We would love to see freelancers contact Margaret with their current pay rates – she’s promised anonymity.

We have regular discussions about pay rates in our Freeline google group – if you’re an Australian freelance writer, you’re welcome to join the discussion online.

Sydney Freelance Journalists Event: open mic night

Sydney-based freelance writers are invited to join members of Freeline and the Sydney Freelance Journalists Group at Forresters Hotel, 336 Riley Street, Surry Hills on September 29 at 6pm to hear about common freelance woes – and some tips from veteran freelancers about surviving long-term.

What’s Your Beef? Freelancing Q & A

Have you ever wondered what on earth editors want in a story pitch, how many re-writes are OK, how long it takes to build a freelance practice or whether anyone ever makes money from this caper? Are you sick of trying to work it out on your own?

Roger Fox, gardening editor, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, and lifestyle / home renovations journo Alex Brooks (formerly Alex May) will be on hand to give you answers (or at least some sympathy) for dilemmas we all share, whether we write, photograph, announce, film or blog.

This is a purely question and answer evening, so you will get your turn on the mic.

$10 for Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) members, $15 for non-members
Call the MEAA on 1300 65 65 13 or email to RSVP and / or pay for your ticket (credit card payments only).

Payment at the door on the night is fine, but please RSVP.