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.