Freelance Round-up: This month in writing

Journalist freebies could fall foul of the Bribery Act

Journalists who accept gifts could fall foul of the new Bribery Act, it has been warned. The alert came after a frank fashion journalist, earning £34,000 a year, wrote in The Times how she didn’t pay for 80% of her wardrobe.

The anonymous writer admitted: “Right now, crammed under my desk, in paper bags, wrapped in ripped tissue, or just on the floor, there’s more than £3,000 worth of stuff”. Adding: “I am a magazine fashion editor, and this is our dirty little secret… we supplement our lower-than-you’d- think wages with thousands of pounds worth of free stuff. But if everyone is to take Kenneth Clarke’s new Bribery Act seriously, then my way of life is over.”

The Bribery Act came into force on July 1st 2011. It defines bribery as “giving someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that person for having already done so”.

The penalty for breaching the legislation could be up to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

Lawyer Ben Whitelock told Press Gazette that both journalists and companies supplying the goods could run the risk of breaching the Bribery Act.

He said that journalists “should at least be aware of the individual offence of receiving a bribe” and said that he was aware that a lot of companies are now telling staff that if they receive any form of gift they can’t keep them; they are property of the company and are usually given to charity.

Make money from blogging: A guide

A very handy new series has just kicked off in The Guardian, all about how writers can make money from their own blog. Freelance writer Andrea Wren has landed the enviable job of being coached by internet marketer and blogger Glen Allsopp, who at just 22, earns more than £10,000 per month from his websites. With that knowledge, I for one am all ears!

Over the next six months, Andrea will be working under Glen’s guidance to create a blog from scratch with the aim of developing a large enough audience to earn a decent revenue from the site. But fear not, Andrea doesn’t get to have all the fun because we can access weekly tips and tutorials too at bloggingcasestudy.com. So who else is on board?!

Most journalists now on Twitter

Most UK journalists now use Twitter, despite significant numbers expressing concern about the implications for the quality of their work, according to a new survey by Cision.

The research found that 97% of journalists regularly use social mediain conjunction with traditional communications channels, such as press releases and face-to-face meetings. However, most of those surveyed said they were worried about its accuracy and reliability. In addition, more than half of respondents agreed that social media encourages softer, more opinion-oriented news.

How about you? Do you use Twitter in your work? Are you worried about whether it affects the quality? Tell us on the forum.

Freelance copywriters vs. in-house staff

An interesting debate has been taking place at Econsultancy over the merits of hiring freelance copywriters as opposed to in-house staff. Sharon Flaherty, editor of Confused.com, argues that if you want quality content, you should produce it in-house. She says that in her experience agencies “overcharge and under-deliver”. In a response, Tom Albrighton, a freelance copywriter, sticks up for us lot, arguing that “Using a freelance copywriter isn't just about flexibility and convenience. It's often the best way to get a quality result.”

Both pieces are well worth a read for any freelance copywriter. So too are the threaded follow-up comments, many of which are from businesses who need to create regular content – both threads offer a no-nonsense insight into some of the opinions out there around using a freelance copywriter, so brace yourself!

 

15th September 2011

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