Freelance Round-Up: This month in writing

New cuttings service launched for writers

Nicholas Holmes, a journalist and entrepreneur, has recently launched cuttings.me, a free site that allows journalists to create a profile and portfolio page to display their cuttings.

The pages are easy to customise with a background image and specific colours etc. Visitors can share profile pages on Facebook and Twitter, and writers can link to their other social media accounts.

Nicholas explained why he thought there was a gap in the market for such a site: “I was looking for a similar service myself and just couldn't believe that there wasn't one. I didn't want to invest a huge amount of time in setting up a Wordpress or Joomla-based site, especially as I'm terrible at updating these things and there's nothing worse than a stale blog.

“I just needed an easy-to-use and good-looking way to showcase my work and let people know where to find me on social media and around the web.”

On who he believes the site will benefit, he said: “It’s useful for anyone who needs to showcase written work cleanly but doesn't want to spend too long on it -- freelance journalists, but also staff journalists looking to build a portfolio, bloggers and writers.

“For commissioning editors, I'm hoping cuttings.me will offer a far cleaner solution than trying to keep track of a list of URLs or PDFs - it will just be a case of asking to see somebody's cuttings.me profile to get an instant overview of their work and capabilities as a writer.”

Record breaking freelancers

Freelance workers in Newcastle-upon-Tyne recently broke the world record for the most self-employed people working together (on their own individual projects) in the same place at the same time, over the course of a normal 9-to-5 day .

Work-a-thon for the Self-Employed is a new world record classification initiated by artist Ellie Harrison in 2011. The initiative aims to bring isolated freelance workers together.

As of 3 November, the world record currently stands at 70 self-employed people and was set at the Lit & Phil Library in Newcastle as part of Wunderbar Festival. This surpassed the previous record of 57 self-employed people set at Toynbee Hall on 13 June 2011 as part of Artsadmin’sTwo Degrees Festival.

Ellie Harrison, a self-employed artist, told The Journal

“There has been a huge increase in the number of self-employed people in the last 15 years. There are more people working in isolated environments without a social network or workplace solidarity.

“For them, there are no employee benefits like sick pay,holiday pay or anyone to regulate working hours.

“Self-employed people exploit themselves by working long hours, and so the Work-a-thon is a fun way of drawing attention to the more negative side. It tries to deal with serious issues in upbeat ways, and to offer positive solutions.”

Women bloggers speak out about online abuse

An article in the New Statesman has shone light on the abuse that some female writers receive when writing online. Helen Lewis Hasteley writes: “The sheer volume of sexist abuse thrown at female bloggers is the internet's festering sore: if you talk to any woman who writes online, the chances are she will instantly be able to reel off a greatest hits of insults.”

Whilst some women report being insulted or patronised, others have been threatened with rape or even death, in some cases by people who claim to know where the writer lives.

Helen Lewis Hasteley interviews nine female writers about the abuse they’ve received online. It makes for depressing reading.

How far would you go to get a scoop?

A Papua New Guinea reporter who was circumcised with bamboo sticks in order to bag an interview with a group of jungle rebels has won a journalism award.

Simon Eroro, who won the annual in-house News Limited Scoop of the Year award, crossed rivers and a jungles to get to the group of rebels to interview them. They then asked him to first undergo a circumcision as part of a cleansing ceremony. He agreed and was granted the interview.

In the report he then wrote for the Post-Courier newspaper, Mr Eroro exposed the cross-border movements of Free West Papua militants from IndonesiaintoPapua New Guinea.

The Telegraph reports that the judges commented: "The impact of Simon's scoop was enormous; the police commissioner launched a major operation to tighten the borders and close down the [Free West Papua] refugee camps.”

 

22nd November 2011

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