Ideas fire Paris members

WHEN NUJ Paris branch discussed training, all members agreed what was wanted: some ideas to help freelance members get work. With input from our members, a programme was set up with speakers talking about the nature of media in France, the scope for investigative reporting, how to organise your life to be a freelance and trends in social media.

Some telling insights into the nature of the press in France were outlined by Jean-Pierre Tailleur, media lecturer from Montpellier. "The level of original reporting, particularly in regional press, is quite low. And there is a high level of sycophancy to those in power."

Mark Lee Hunter © Nigel Dickinson

Mark Lee Hunter

Mark Lee Hunter teaches journalism at INSEAD graduate school and insists there will continue to be opportunities for investigative reporting. The solution, he argues, is "engaged" journalism, such as within campaigning organisations or as an "embedded" reporter following a single issue over a long period of time. Contrary to perceptions, the printed word is not on its way out, Hunter insists. Examples of successful paid-for press based on good journalistic research include The Economist and Le Canard Enchainé (roughly Private Eye), he suggests.

Travel writer Nick Inman is an NUJ stalwart and was keen to share his hard-worn experience as a self-employed writer. "You have to be ready to lose clients - and find new ones,"he warns. In the relationship with commissioning editors, fears should be set aside: "Try to get that extra 10 per cent. The extra money often is there, I know this from my experience" he asserts. Inman says it is essential to avoid under-charging, and to be well-organised in scheduling of your personal time.

Alice Antheaune © Nigel Dickinson

Alice Antheaune of the Institut d'études politiques de Paris, called Sciences Po

The presentation on social media by Alice Antheaune of Science Po college sparked an enthusiastic debate about the value of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other networks. We discovered that most of the networks include dedicated sections for journalists, which can be useful in getting work. (LFB's March meeting is - provisionally - on LinkedIn for journalists.)

Last modified: 04 Dec 2013 - © 2013 contributors
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