Freelance round-up: This month in writing - April

Entrepreneurial print journalists exploiting online opportunities

A recent article in the Independent highlighted a growing trend for print journalists, some of who have been made redundant, to set up websites which provide high quality specialist content. When it comes to “entrepreneurially driven online journalism”, the UK is currently behind the US which has sites like The Huffington Post and the Daily Beast. The article notes, though: “All of this may be about to change as scores of British journalists, laid off by newspapers or denied the commissions previously available to freelance writers, seek to work online.”

Example sites include theartsdesk.com, started by a former Telegraph journalist, the Business Desk, launched by former Yorkshire Post business editor David Parkin and 101holidays.co.uk, set up by two former Sunday Times travel writers.

“World’s worst” tennis player loses libel fight

In another important libel case, following Simon Singh’s recent win, a tennis player has lost a libel action against the Daily Telegraph over April 2008 stories in the paper, entitled "World's worst tennis pro wins at last" and "A British sensation – the world's worst".

Robert Dee has received numerous apologies and damages payments from other outlets over similar articles.

One of the Telegraph articles said: “"A Briton ranked as the worst professional tennis player in the world after 54 defeats in a row has won his first match.”

It went on: “Robert Dee, 21, of Bexley, Kent, did not win a single match during his first three years on the circuit, touring at an estimated cost of £200,000.

"But his dismal run ended at the Reus tournament near Barcelona as he beat an unranked 17-year-old, Arzhang Derakshani, 6-4, 6-3. Dee lost in the second round."

The Daily Telegraph said the story was not arguably defamatory when read together with another item in the same edition, and that Mr Dee had no real prospect of rebutting the defences of justification and fair comment.

Dee said to suggest he had suffered "an unrelieved catalogue of failure" was untrue and defamatory because over the same period he played in professional events in Spain with "modest success". He said the claims by the paper could damage his future work opportunities.

Mrs Justice Sharp ruled: "The incontestably true facts are that the Claimant [Robert Dee] did lose 54 matches in a row in straight sets in his first three years on the world ranking ITF / ATP tournaments on the international professional tennis circuit, and that this was the worst ever run.”

His wins on the Spanish national circuit did "not detract from the fact that he holds the longest record for consecutive defeats based on the official world ranking system," she added.

Are you the best freelancer in the UK?

On a related note…marketing industry network The Drum is looking for the best freelancers in the UK.

It’s asking businesses to nominate the best creative freelancers that they have worked with recently and in the past – from copywriters to photographers and from illustration to production. All sectors are welcome.

Time to drop some hints to clients?

Finding the right workspace

Moneywise magazine has produced a useful article on finding workspace when you’re self-employed. It looks at the ins and outs of working from home, as well as options such as building an outhouse at home, renting space or buying somewhere.

A useful read…I’d be interested to know where the publication found workspace to rent for less than £100 a month in Newcastle though as it’s just what I’m looking for!#

 Sarah Wray

 

5th May 2010

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