The Norwegian union of journalists is forbidden by the country's competition authorities from helping freelances negotiate rates together. So what could it do to support freelance members?
The answer was the Frilanskalkulator - which works out the hourly rates that freelances would need to charge to get equivalent pay to staff of a given media company. The media owners are co-operating to the extent of supplying salaray data, which they find useful to share.
Explaining why the union prefers hourly rates to rates per 1000 words, Toralf Sandåker of the Norsk Journalistlag says, "every journalist knows that it takes longer to produce a good short article than a long one"
The calculator is a spreadsheet that asks freelances which newspaper group they aim to do work for and about their expenses. "Some have found that what they were offered didn't even cover their expenses," Toralf reports: "so they had to seek work with other publishers."
An English translation of the calculator is in the pipeline.