Monday, 1 March 2010
Why freelances should strike for a day
Stirring call to arms from Liz Hodgkinson on Gentleman Ranters urging fellow freelances to boycott the national press for a day in protest at falling fees.
She writes: "The only effective way to improve rates is by blanket strike action. If everybody simply refused to file copy on a particular day – say for a Saturday when all newspapers are particularly full of freelance articles – and continued to refuse until rates improved, the management would have no choice but to sit up and take notice.
"If all outside contributors withheld their labour, no newspaper could possibly come out. Because although it might be possible to fill one or two empty slots at short notice, no editor could ever fill them all.
"Some brave person would have to be responsible for organising all the others and encouraging them to see that while newspapers continue to get away with it, rates will inevitably plummet ever downwards. £250 will become £200, will become £150 and before long, even £100 per thousand will sound generous.
"Unless something like this is done, journalism will soon turn into a vanity profession, where people just write for the privilege of seeing their names in the paper, not to earn a living. And when that day dawns journalism, as we Ranters understand it, will be dead for ever. Journalists should be strong, brave and outspoken, not meek little mice."