When I first started working as a Freelance Journalist I jokingly called myself the “accidental freelancer.” For me it wasn’t going to be a full time thing, but instead a way to gain experience, and an entry into the industry. I had every intention of getting a full-time job with benefits.
But time wore on, and I had couple of interviews for positions out-of-province but nothing came of them. I applied for a lot of Toronto-based jobs, and still occasionally get a “Dear Laura” letters from those postings. They boiled down to “thank you for your interest, but we’ve decided not to hire” sentiments.
And then the cutbacks started at companies where I’d submitted my resume. At one point I started to feel lucky I didn’t get the job because I would likely be the first one out the door. I started to see the good in being a Freelancer. I make my own hours. I decide who I work with, how long I work. I can organize my days how I will; if I have an event in the evening for example, most likely I’ll take a morning off.
When it was announced by Breakfast Television that their Live Eye Host Jennifer Valentyne was let go from CityTV I had issues with the sentimental reaction demonstrated by many of my friends. Part of it is due to the fact I haven’t watched the show in years. But the other part of it is I looked at it from a business perspective.
The major cutbacks in media started with print/online, and have finally started spreading to the broadcasters. Valentyne was with the station for 23 years; that’s a good run in any industry. But when you have younger journalists able to write/film/edit their own pieces and promote them on social media it becomes a matter of economics. You’re only hiring one of them to do the job, where before you had to use potentially three people to do that work.
I’ve continued freelancing because frankly that’s all the work I can find. I take my chances when I find them. I fight for stories when, and where I can, which at times can be exhausting. This was reality when I started out, and it’s even more real now because of technology.
It sucks to see a beloved host leave a broadcast gig. It’s also a growing reality that freelancing is becoming a way of life for the industry. The good journalists resurface, the bad disappear.