Wednesday, May 6, 2009

London QualityStreet Freelancers check out commissions on US newspapers

qualitystreet, a cooperative of london freelancers with an online self-help group, recently turned their attention to freelancing in the States, and mentioned the McClatchy stalwart, The Sacramento Bee. This text is excerpted from one of their threads, and the paper's little mascot (right) was penned by Walt Disney himself.

Hey, the Bee is a rather venerable newspaper, publishing non-stop
since 1857 and winner of five Pulitzer prizes. There's a Fresno Bee
and Modesto Bee, too, and all are owned now by the McClatchy
company. Disney designed their logo back in 1943. If you imagine
that a newspaper office is a hive of activity, meant to create buzz
and stinging commentary, it's not such a weird name. (I came from
California to the UK, hence the nostalgia for the Bee)

Consider these names: The Unterrified Democrat (Linn, Missouri), The
Daily Boomerang (Laramie, Wyoming), the Birmingham Eccentric, the
Bloomington-Normal (Illinois) Pantagraph , The New Orleans Times-

Freelancing for smaller US papers can be problematical...section
editors of community papers sometimes commission outsiders, but most
recycle wire copy or increasingly get outsourced to India (where
content providers reportedly earn just $7.50 or three quid per 1000
words!) Not all are accustomed to wiring payments, and can be
daunted by exchange rates and time differences. Beware the pre-dawn calls from Yankee intern factcheckers!)
Syndication of previously published features or analysis is probably
more feasible, especially with a bridging site like "Featurewell".

As for these contract clauses... Marie Claire used to make
surrendering all your syndication rights part of endorsing the
payment cheque. They refused to wire money into an account for that
reason. One problem with this is if a writer wants to gather up
farflung articles and publish a collection, all the rights must be
sorted out first. Very aggravating!

Roughedge Krap Policy
To: About the papers formerly known as broadsheets

1) Well there is the Sacramento Bee which is a weird name for a local

My favourite - though UK not US - is still the Keswick Reminder.

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