By Amy Green | July 22nd, 2009
Hi all, Here is our latest committee report. Please let me know your thoughts! Amy Green
SPJ Freelance Committee
The Society of Professional Journalists is ideal for beginning and intermediate freelancers who seek help in getting started and, as we grow more seasoned, networking and leadership training. Membership involves no minimum experience requirement, making the organization open to everyone. It is a fantastic value, offering benefits and services freelancers pay much more for through other organizations. SPJ offers networking not only with other freelancers but staffers, editors, educators, photographers and more.
These are some of the things that set SPJ apart from other organizations for freelance journalists. President-elect Kevin Smith wants to expand the committee, and of course the need is there. Whether mounting journalism layoffs will translate into more freelancers remains to be seen. What is clear is that journalism is aching for entrepreneurialism and creativity, quality professionals who are willing to take risks and try new ideas. The committee is in a unique position to nurture this entrepreneurial spirit, which now is more important than ever. SPJ’s broad-based nature lends even better support.
If we decide to expand the committee I propose adding a co-chair, rather than a vice chair, and a larger number of committee members. During our committee meeting in Atlanta last year we decided anyone who wants to be involved can be, but that we would appoint a small number of committee members who are more directly involved. I would like to expand that number and get them actively involved in the committee.
Blog. I would like to give each committee member log-in information for our blog and let a more diverse discussion proliferate here on its own, in a format similar to that on the Generation J committee blog. Freelance journalism can be solitary work. Before I served in this position I peeked in on SPJ’s blog for freelancers often to see what was new and to feel as though I belonged somewhere. This is why I see our blog as our most important activity. Here I write how-to posts as often as I can about the business. When I get interesting questions I share them and my answer. I invite others to weigh in. I post news and job announcements. I invite other freelancers to serve as guest bloggers.
I’d like to see more voices here. Ideally I would like to create a vibrant online forum or community. We freelancers are so diverse, and I am only one person with my own unique set of experiences. I realize this isn’t necessarily helpful for everyone.
Questions. Vice chairwoman Stephenie Overman and I continue to receive many questions via e-mail about freelance journalism. Together we answer each one.
Quill. Now that we have successfully resurrected our regular column for freelancers our next project is to include more diverse material appealing not only to writers but SPJ’s broad-based membership of photographers, editors, educators and more.
Programs. Chapters nationwide continue to hold programs on freelancing. Recent ones took place in Miami, Iowa and Washington, D.C.
Committee teleconferences. We held our first meeting this summer and enjoyed a lively discussion on the future of journalism and our committee.
I continue to enjoy this position. I always feel I could do more with more time and resources, but I feel we are well-positioned to help those in this line of work, whether temporarily or long-term, during such a transitionary time for our industry.
Amy Green, freelance committee chairwoman