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User-generated what?

FREELANCES who have worked for The Guardian have unanimously slammed the paper's latest website excursion into "user-generated content".

The chapel there used the NUJ's newspaper sector council to seek freelance opinions of the EE-sponsored pages when they appeared earlier this year.

Those who responded using one of the union's e-lists for freelances made it clear that they would neither be offering material to the pages nor going anywhere Guardian offers of "exposure".

Regular Guardian readers and past contributors also expressed curiosity about the title's venture into this sort of material - where early postings included pictures of cats and other material more usually associated with the red tops and celebrity websites although the appetite of Guardian management for sponsorship cash was widely understood.

Freelance industrial council vice chair Adam Christie, who also represents freelances on the newspaper sector council, said he felt really positive that the chapel had come forward with such a request - and that the responses had generally been positive.

"Chapels can too often be blamed for not thinking about freelance interests," he said, "but it was great that FoC Brian Williams came to us and asked us what we thought.

"I hope this is a sign that relationships between chapels and freelances, despite the constraints imposed by managements on addressing anything to do with freelancing, is improving and that we can build on this more."

Brian Williams added: "All NUJ members are feeling the squeeze. Here at the Guardian and Observer we feel the chapel should do all it can to defend the interests of casuals and freelances, as well as staff journalists.

"As chapel officers, we need to know the specific problems our freelances are facing if we are to tackle those issues with the same determination that saw off the threat of compulsory redundancy and a pay freeze earlier this year."

  • Editor's note to self: check what rights the Guardian grabs from its content-generating users.
Last modified: 22 Jul 2013 - © 2013 contributors
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