Media workers are taking on multiple forms of work without seeing a meaningful increase in their income or spending power.
As digital media shops continue to organize, GMG Union's victory against a famously oppositional management sets an optimistic tone about what's possible. It also underscores why organizing is being prioritized in newsrooms across the US — the first open-ended digital media strike in history was a consequence of private equity purchase.
“It’s been a decade of more and more government control over media being established.” While the Act might indicate a more proactive attitude toward media, but for any real impact to be felt, “that pattern would have to change.”
"'I need my daughter in preschool as it’s the only thing that makes everything work right now,' says Bridget Shirvell, a single mom to a three-year-old who writes freelance articles and is working on a parenting book on resilient kids during the climate crisis. She says, between her work and the stress of pandemic parenting a kid who can’t yet get vaccinated, 'I’m balancing all of this while trying to keep squeezing in writing and everything feels at a breaking point constantly. It’s just exhausting.'"
In preparation for this dispatch, I spoke with a number of freelance media workers who made less than $55,000 in 2020 as well as freelancers who reported regularly earning less than $55,000, seeking examples that lend context to the figures elaborated in the data.
“My parents and my in-laws seem to be the only people who read my work – which is fine!” says Janet Manley. “Whenever they comment something like ‘great job!!!’ I hear Jerry's mom cheering as he opens the jar on Seinfeld: ‘Yay, Jerry got it open!’”
Development Director Evan Kleekamp reviews trends found among survey respondents who reported six-figure annual incomes in 2020, questioning the merits of online discussions about six-figure incomes found online.
Because there isn’t consensus among students about what police accountability and mandatory reporting should look like, student journalists across the country grapple with how to use the Clery Act ethically at their schools.
“Everyone can relate to it. Leather daddies, sugar daddies, lesbian daddies, or your own father who might be the most lovely, adorable person or highly problematic figure in your life. We chose the name because we wanted to make it very clear that we're not taking ourselves too seriously and that this is not an academic publication. You don't need to have a PhD in gender studies to write a contribution.”
“There’s been a lot of assumption by people in our industry that people don't want to pay for stories, that they don’t want to pay for content that they can get for free elsewhere,” says Hidden Compass co-founder and co-CEO Sabine K. Bergmann. “But what if there was more than just text? What if readers could connect to human beings, to the storytellers themselves? What if they could see their faces and hear their voices and be able to contribute to them directly?”