Archive for March, 2007

I Spy….More Benefits for SPJ’s Independent Members

Freelance Member Database: The database will go live on April 9! We know we told you March 1 initially, but SPJ just wanted to make sure that the database is working properly and that they had sufficiently promoted the database to editors and publications around the country.

My name is listed with two other professional organization databases and these do work in securing inquiries and paying assignments! Make sure you are a part of the launch! If you’re a member of SPJ, you can log on and enter your information (Please see the archives for posts on how to do this). If you have problems, please email me at

If you are wanting to change information you’ve already entered, you’ll have to wait until the database is live.

If you’re not a member of SPJ, this is a good reason to join!

Press Identification Cards: If you have recently renewed your SPJ membership, you should have already received your new plastic SPJ membership card embossed with the word “Press” in the background. This should give some of our members the identification you need. SPJ determined it doesn’t have the resources to currently provide our members with credentials, but this should serve as identification for the needs of some of our independent members.

Unfortunately, if you renewed before this month, as I did, you’ll have to wait until your next renewal to receive the new card.

Programming for Freelance Members at the National Convention: We have yet to receive final approval on our freelance programming, but this year promises to be the best yet for freelance members at the national convention….Mark your calendars for October in D.C!

Blog Rates?

This item was posted to SPJ’s discussion board and since the writer never got an answer, I thought I would post it here and see if we have better luck:

Anyone out there know what a fair rate is for blogging – ie when a company’s Web site officially publishes your blog on contract?
Let’s say you blogged six 300-word articles a month for six months – what would be a fair rate to charge?

What is Timely Payment for Contract Work?

One of our indepdents asked this question: “One of my clients seem slow, but since my background is in television I’m not sure what is considered normal in print. The client is a monthly regional business magazine and their payment policy is 60-90 days after publication.. and publication is 45-60 days after the writing deadline. Does this sound acceptable? In TV, payment is generally 30 days after invoice.”

Answer: It really depends on your contract, but that does seem pretty slow to me and wouldn’t be acceptable to my business. Normally, I try to negotiate contracts that pay on acceptance, meaning payment is due within 30 days of the acceptance of my piece. If I can’t do that and I really want to write for a particular publication, I negotiate for payment within 30 days of scheduled publication. Meaning, if my work is scheduled for the May issue, I should be paid within 30 days of the publication of that issue. That protects me in the event my piece is bumped. I would try to negotiate better terms with this particular publication.

Members, what do you think?

Making the Transition from Reporting to Writing Books

One of our indepdent journalists has a question about conducting interviews for a non-fiction book. I had no problems with my book, so I told her I would post this here:

I’m looking for a resource within our group who can give me some advice on interview releases and source review for a non-fiction book I’m writing.   As a newspaper and magazine journalist, I do not have my sources sign releases, and I do not allow sources to read my stories prior to publication.  However, after conducting some interviews for my book, I began to find sources demanding to see anything written about them prior to publication and some requesting releases.  Do you know any other freelancer who’s had to deal with this or an expert with SPJ I can consult? Although I have over 30 years experience as a journalist, this is my first non-fiction book.  I want it to go smoothly.  I do not yet have an agent or a publisher for the project, as I need to conduct interviews prior to getting completing the outline and the book proposal.

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