6pm update: Glasgow’s Herald & Times Group has plumbed new depths in its latest mailshot to regular freelance contributors, offering just Â£30 for sports match reports.
The SJA has been asking its members and readers of sportsjournalists.co.uk to submit examples of low pay and reduced terms to name and shame employers that seek to exploit their contributors.
The worst example so far is probably the Telegraph Group’s “request” to staff subs to work for free on their days off to do match reports – reducing the papers’ need to use freelancers.
But this week, freelance journalists working for The Herald, the Sunday Herald or the Evening Times received contracts offering significantly lower rates and an agreement which would see them hand over rights to their work to the titles’ publisher.
The new rates include Â£30 for a match report – 25 per cent less than the previously reported worst rate on offer; Â£115 for a subbing or reporting shift; and 20p per mile for using your own car to go on an assignment.
The NUJ’s fee guide for freelancers has suggested a minimum of Â£120 for a sub-editing shift at a regional daily paper. The guide also suggests reporting/writing fees of Â£65 for the first 100 words per 1000 for a story in a regional print edition or between Â£120-150 per 1,000 word for a ordered story or feature.
The Herald Group’s contract has proposed Â£10 up to 100 words and 8p per word thereafter for commissioned stories.
The Group notoriously had its staff re-apply for their jobs last year as part of a wide-ranging redundancy process. Those who kept their jobs have had their wages frozen this year.
The letter sent this week by group managing editor Tom Thomson to contributors made it clear that acceptance of the new terms was a prerequisite for obtaining work.
Officers from the Glasgow branch of the National Union of Journalists have drafted a suggested response to Thomson, which freelancers can use if they are unhappy with the terms.
Update: AllMediaScotland is reporting that the NUJ is organising a meeting for Heraldfreelancers next Wednesday (July 29). Details available from Alice McCarney: AliceM@nuj.org.uk.
We would like you to send to us information on payments: Who are the good payers? Do they pay below the rate for the job (the NUJ freelance website offers a useful guide)? Are they just slow payers? Or do they somehow believe that you should be underwriting the expenses of running their (usually) still-profitable business?
We will need full details. We will not identify contributors (unless you ask us to), but we ought to name the publication, provide details of the job involved, and the fee. We have coded each entry: * is acceptable; + is a yellow card; +++ is a red card:
â–¡ Athletics Weekly – Â£60 â€” 800-word news story – took four months to pay. Other stories remain unpaid. +
Send your examples of contributions payments – whether good, bad or indifferent – by emailing here. Please put “Rate for the job” in the subject field.