By Amy Green | June 29th, 2009
Many thanks to Hazel Becker of the Society of Professional Journalists’ group for freelancers in Washington, D.C., for sharing this blog post. What an excellent idea, for SPJ freelancers to gather together in our own communities. Amy Green, SPJ freelance committee chairwoman
A group of freelance journalists got together this week for lunch/coffee sponsored by the D.C. Professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. This was the second meeting, and I was again pleased/surprised by the variety of people who attended. What didn’t surprise me was the obvious need for discussion of business issues facing freelancers.
One important topic for all of us was how we “set” our rates. It’s only an issue when a prospective client/employer asks us what we would charge – many of our assignments come with preset fees. Some of us work for publishers who are accustomed to paying by the word, and others said they generally get a set amount per assignment. It was apparent that there is no “standard” – other than that we all want to be paid a reasonable amount for the time and effort we put into our work.
Some in the group are new to freelancing, and they were interested in talking more about how to get work. I’m sure this topic will come up again – it is an increasing challenge, as the ranks of freelancers are swelling with out-of-work journalists. I believe there’s plenty of work to go around, as publishers who lay off reporters and editors still need works to publish and “first readers” for quality control.
We talked briefly about rights – who owns the works we produce. I’m sure this topic will come up again.
These are only a few of the topics we touched on in our free-wheeling discussion, and even the long-time freelancers were seeking advice and learning from the newbies in the group. Thanks to SPJ for filling this need.