QualityStreet to share

New news network now

THE QualityStreet network for freelances who contribute to the London papers formerly known as "broadsheets" launched with a face-to-face meeting on 20 April - and at the same time the email network was getting under way.

FREELANCE Organiser John Toner opened the meeting by going through the history of freelances supporting staff disputes - often sacrificing future work in the process. From this he drew the conclusion that freelances must take the imitative and organise their own action, and seek solidarity action from chapels.

In general discussion we considered four major points: rates, licences, theft of proposals and professional courtesy.

In regard to the first two, we are seeking information about what rates are paid and what discussion there is, if any, on the licence.

In the short term, we agreed that we might be able to make more progress on the third and fourth points through campaigning.

We would like to know how often freelances pitch an idea and find it has been given to a staffer to do, and which titles are the worst for doing this.

In relation to professional courtesy, the biggest bugbear appears to be commissioning editors who never reply to proposals, leaving the freelance dangling. We thought it best to approach this from a positive angle - by commending those commissioning editors who treat freelances well. Not name and shame - but name and praise!

This led naturally to a discussion of what we mean by fair treatment. It was proposed that we draft a code of practice, possibly in a humorous vein, to promote fair treatment. There is, of course, a Code of Practice contained within the Freelance Fees Guide, so this could be a starting point.

On the down side, most of those who assured John they would attend did not do so. On the plus side, someone joined the NUJ in order to attend the meeting.

John thanks to all who gave up their Thursday evening to attend and hopes you feel your time was well spent.

Last modified: 24 April 2006 - © 2006 contributors
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