Archive for May, 2006

Leading freelancers — Is it in you?

In the wake of my new position on SPJ’s staff, I must now accelerate turning over the freelance committee to others. I’m looking for someone (preferably more than one) to help transition for the summer and for someone willing to throw their hat into the ring of consideration for chairing the committee under the new national leadership. I will happily make recommendations though ultimately the decision is at the discretion of the new president.

Here’s a bit of what the job entails:

• Serving as the information hub of the freelancers; answering e-mail questions; connecting them to resources; adding to resource list; working with Webmaster on development of the database.

• Serving as administrator for The Independent Journalist blog. I regularly scan industry newsletters for news to share and peruse Google Alerts for freelance journalism developments. I’d like to see more input from other freelancers here.

• Field calls from editors seeking freelancers for specific assignments and field calls from freelancers seeking input on everything from contracts and copyright to pitches and payment problems.

• Write (or have another freelancer write) a monthly column for Quill magazine. Typically I coordinated with Editor Joe Skeel to determine his focus for the issue.

• Ensure that all articles and resources are updated in a timely fashion on

• Propose and plan programming for the national convention in 2007. Be available to help with the 2006 national convention in Chicago. Programming is set and speakers are being arranged, but someone will need to lead a committee meeting and be available to answer questions from attendees throughout the conference.

• Communicate regularly with freelancers via the group lists (there are three!).

I’m sure this job can be expanded or contracted as future leaders see fit. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know many of you. And I’m glad our efforts have been useful. I’ll continue to expand freelance resources and services however I can in my new role as Membership Manager. And I hope you’ll all stay in touch.

In the meantime, I need someone to step up at least through the summer. We have built a lot of momentum and I don’t want to see us lose ground. Increasingly we’re hearing from editors who value our experienced and geographically diverse freelancers and those efforts will fizzle if no one takes over.

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Visual journalism conference at WWU

Western Washington University’s Department of Journalism invites professional and student journalists to the first Bellingham Visual Journalism Conference.

The conference will take place at Western on Saturday and Sunday, July 22-23.

Attendees will have the opportunity to explore new avenues for visual storytelling, upgrade their skills, and have their portfolios critiqued by leaders in the field of visual journalism.

Among the presenters will be Seattle Times photojournalists Betty Udesen and Rod Mar; freelance photojournalists Harley Soltes, Barry Wong, and Phil Schofield.

Also, Michael Brown, 2003 College Photographer of the Year; Meredith Birkett, MSNBC senior multimedia producer; Jay Drowns of the Sporting News; Russ Kendall, photo editor of The Bellingham Herald; Scott Terrell, photo editor of the Skagit Valley Herald; and Brad Howard, associate professor in Western’s journalism department and a specialist in geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping the news.

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