Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy holidays?

Sorry to say, the 60 Percenters Freelance Holiday Toast was not to be.

I heard from several people who said they couldn't make it due to deadlines or other obligations, and no one said they could come, so I called it off.

But I forgot to note that on this blog, so Rene Gutel, bless her heart, who was somehow left off my "freelancers" mail list, schlepped to My Wine Cellar in vain looking for us.

Sorry, Rene. I didn't have much holiday cheer this year, either. With so many of my friends and colleagues losing jobs or closing businesses, my investments dwindling daily, and the state of the news business in general being in the crapper, I was feeling low.

But here's the good news: So many writers out there were so busy with work -- work! -- that they couldn't peel themselves away. How many people out there today would gladly trade places with a person who has work?

I also remembered: My father-in-law narrowly dodged a bullet recently with an emergency triple bypass. We could have lost him.

And I recently attended a festive holiday party that collects gifts for worthy charities, even though the hostess battled cancer all year. She forged on, generously serving eggnog, wine and catered food, and waving off my questions with, "I'm all better now."

Finally, Eric and I, thank God, have been healthy all year. We enjoyed some beautiful hikes in Arizona and California all summer and a fantastic trip to Peru to hike in the Andes in September.

I re-evaluated.

I am able to hike with my husband. When you have your health and you have love in your life, you cannot get any richer than that. Having work is nice, too, and I'm grateful for that. But you can earn as much money as you want and it's worth nothing if you don't have your health.

These are indeed happy holidays.

Job posting

In case you didn't get this from one of our freelancer friends:

POSITION OPPORTUNITYASSOCIATE NEWS PRODUCERKTVK- 3TV is accepting applications for the position of Associate News Producer.

DUTIES:Assist Producers and Reporters in the gathering of information and the writing of scripts for newscasts.Assist Producers as necessary in the production of daily newscasts. Provide News research support.Participate in the production of regular news inserts, live/location remotes and non-scheduled news bulletins.Check wire stories and network feeds for up-to-date and breaking news. Bring creative story ideas to the newsroom meetings on a regular basis. Print and collate daily scripts and distribute to Producers and directors on a timely basis. Run teleprompter when assigned. Perform other duties and responsibilities as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS:One year newsroom experience or related broadcasting degree preferred. Strong writing abilities with excellent grammatical skills. Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Ability to work well under pressure while meeting strong deadlines. Ability to work well as a team, as well as independently. Excellent computer and typing skills. Basic journalistic skills and editorial judgment for writing scripts. Ability to sit for long periods of time. Long hours of computer and telephone use. Position will include nights and weekends.Resumes to: KTVK, Producer, 5555 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85013. or fax- (602) 207-3336.

Belo is an Equal Opportunity Employer.It is the policy of this station not to discriminate in its employment and personnel practices because of the person's age, race, color, creed, religion, genders, handicap, sexual orientation, national origin, and all other protected classes. Discriminatory employment practices are specifically prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission.

Monday, December 8, 2008

60 Percenters holiday party

If you didn't already get the e-mail, consider this your invitation to the 60 Percenters holiday party at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, at My Wine Cellar in Ahwatukee. We will toast to our good fortune of being freelancers and hopefully share some tips and advice.

MWC sells beer and wine as well as bottled teas and sodas. They serve pizza, bruschetta, salads and other munchies if you want to get a bite to eat.

Directions: I-10 to Warner Road. West on Warner, pass the light at Circle K (51st St.) and turn right at the first driveway past Childtime. If you get to the office building under construction, you went too far. 480-598-9463.

My Wine Cellar, if you don't know, is my "Cheers." I've known owners Tom and Kathleen Fordyce practically since they opened just over 10 years ago in a smaller space up the street. You will usually see me there at least a few times a month trying a new cab or calling a cab -- I almost always take the ALEX bus there and either grab a ride home with someone in the neighborhood or taxi it back.

And you can sometimes catch me behind the bar, too. I'm a "pinch hitter" on occasion when Tom and Kathleen can't be there and need someone to watch over things. Working there is helpful because one of my others jobs is being a food critic. Although I worked in restaurants and bars for the better part of a decade through high school, college and graduate school, that was -- ahem -- a while ago. This keeps me solidly in touch with the hospitality industry and, I think, makes my restaurant assessments more realistic and fair. I think it also makes me a more considerate customer when I go out.

Of course, it's kind of funny when people who don't know me saunter into the bar and begin treating me with an utter lack of respect. You can tell a lot about a person by how they interact with hospitality workers. We don't have an official caste system in this country, but anyone who's been a waiter sure can tell you it's there, but under the surface. If you're over 25 and still bringing people glasses of water, many people look down their noses at you. 

Inevitably, someone I know will sit at the bar and ask me about my writing, and I can see the look of shock and disbelief from the other patron who had just sized me up as a loser. They typically change their opinion right quick; I'm now in "their world." They talk to me differently; they begin asking me 20 questions. This sickens me. I'm nothing if all I do is tend bar? In Europe, service work is a serious career; here, it's seen as a fallback, a default, for those who can't hack it in a "real job."

If you want a thorough investigation of this topic, I suggest you read or buy the book , Waiter Rant. It's insightful, sad, hilarious, poignant, disgusting and essential for anyone who's ever worked at a restaurant or eaten in one.

Do any of you have side jobs beyond freelance writing? What kind of job? How are you treated? Do you enjoy the variety of having a couple of jobs?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Will work for free

AHHH, the old "please work for free" plea. You know the drill: We're a new publication, we need writers, but oh, we can't pay you. But it's A) going to yield great clips for you, B) going to be the Next Big Thing and you will be in on the ground floor.

We've all seen it on Craigslist, and a fellow Society of Professional Journalists member below spotted it recently on the SPJ freelancer board.

(Shameless plug coming) If you are not an SPJ member, please consider joining. We have a freelancer board where you can post your credentials and potential clients can post for writers wanted. Once, a client contacted me directly after seeing my SPJ profile and I ended up getting a lucrative 3-month gig.

Anyway, I'm posting the SPJ member's eloquent response to Exception Magazine. Based on the number of follow-ups from other SPJers in my inbox, a LOT of folks took exception to Exception...

Dear non-paying publication:

Without wanting to speak for SPJ itself, I would note that we are the Society of PROFESSIONAL Journalists.

I am a professional journalist. That means I get paid for my work. Please don't bother me until you can treat me like a professional. In terms of quality, dedication, and commitment, you will definitely get what you pay for.

And for the other professional journalists on this list, I truly hope you will not undermine your own economic interests - or those of your fellow journalists around the world - by working for free.

Best of luck to all.

Jeff Inglis

On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 5:55 PM, The Exception Magazine Editor <> wrote:
Dear SPJ writers:

Next month, The Exception Magazine is launching and we are looking for contributors from across America.  The magazine is a nonpartisan, online news site that covers stories overlooked or ignored by traditional newspapers. I have attached our editorial guidelines so you can get a better sense of what types of stories we are looking for.

Just to be upfront: this is a "passion project" of sorts amongst people that think partisan blogs are ruining our public discourse.  Unfortunately we are not funded and cannot compensate any writers at this time.  I know there are a lot of scams out there like Associated Content.  We can't promise anything other than exposing your work to a broad audience.  So if you can't participate in any way, we totally understand.  We will only email you again if you email us back.

Hope some of you are interested!

Stefan Deeran

Jeff Inglis
Editor - Writer - Photographer
Phone: +1-207-749-4502