Freelance round-up: This month in writing

Pitching the World

Lots of writers are acutely aware of the fact that lots of publications’ freelance budgets are shrinking and that diversification is in order. Many are looking at broadening the range of publications that they write for and subjects that they write about.

One freelance journalist has taken this even further and decided to embark upon an experiment in which he sends a pitch to every single publication in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook – all 642 of them.

While you may question this scattergun approach, the journalist rationalises: “When I started freelancing in January 2007 I wrote for property magazines (I was borderline homeless) and occasionally about financial issues (I didn’t even have a bank account) and so I reckon I can have a stab at writing about most things.”

You can follow his progress with pitching publications as diverse as Pilot Magazine and Accountancy Age on his blog Pitching the World.

Documentary takes a swipe at celebrity-obsessed journalism

A new documentary opens this month which looks at what its makers see as the “celebrity-obsessed media”. The Starsuckers website says that the film “uncovers the real reasons behind our addiction to fame and blows the lid on the corporations and individuals who profit from it.”

The documentary, filmed undercover over two years, includes examples of fake showbiz “news” tips published by newspapers as fact and parents agreeing to sign their children up for hoax TV shows with titles such as Baby Boozers and Take Your Daughter to the Slaughterhouse. The film’s director, Chris Atkins, also secretly filmed tabloid reporters as he offered to sell them medical records of celebrities' cosmetic surgery.

One fake story that was published widely without being fact-checked was that a blown fuse had set Amy Winehouse’s hair on fire. In an interview for Associated Press, Atkins warned: “It's the same journalists who write about Amy's hair who write about weapons of mass destruction".

The film opens on Friday 30th October.

Is your writing any good?

The Good Writing Awards have been launched this week by the National Academy of Writing which is aiming to fire up a national debate about good writing.

The Academy is calling for people to nominate pieces of writing for the awards. The pieces can include fiction, non-fiction, drama, business and government writing, journalism, copywriting and even instruction manuals. Poetry is excluded.

While the awards aim to highlight examples of good writing, they will also be flagging up examples of bad writing.

Nominations must be received by 31st December 2009 and the winning wordsmiths and woeful windbags will be announced in the new year.

Voting underway for The Journalist editorship

National Union of Journalists members are currently voting for the new editor of The Journalist, the Union’s magazine.

Due to the postal strike, the closing date for voting has been put back to Monday 16th November. You can read about what each of the candidates stand for here and follow some of the debates on the Journalism.co.uk forums.

 

Sarah Wray

Freelance Alliance Profile  l  Website

 

 

28th October 2009

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