Portions of this column were originally written for the January-February 2013 edition of News Photographer Magazine.
Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.
The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.
January-February 2013, Volume 116
By Mark Loundy
"To sleep, perchance to dream — aye, there's the rub."
A few weeks ago, I received an email from the Director of Photography at a major metro newspaper:
"I've followed your Good, Bad and Ugly column for some time and found some of the examples helpful in working with our freelancers.
"I'm the Director of Photography at (redacted) and am updating our freelance contract to better represent what's happening in the industry. With my shrunken staff we use a steady stable of shooters. Some are former staffers, others from organizations that have reduced staff so it's quite a crew. But with web demands, video and the such, it's way more complicated than the 'old' days of work for hire.
"I was hoping you could point me towards some boilerplate newspaper contracts. I'd like to pick a couple over to see how we stack up so that both the freelancers and the newspaper are best represented.
"With appreciation in advance,
It's not often that I get a chance for direct input into the business relationship between a publisher and its freelance contributors so I jumped at the chance:
"My unapologetic preference would be for you to lead the industry with a contract that pays freelancers more than the pro-rated cost of using a staffer (including the cost of benefits.) In short, I want to discourage the use of freelancers in favor of hiring more full-time staffers. And when you do use freelancers, they should be reasonably compensated for the limited use of their work.
"I understand that these are things that you want too and that you are in a difficult position. But the solutions to this challenge are both quite simple in concept and very difficult to implement. Aye, there's the rub.
1. Reasonable rates (See "The Loundy Doctrine" http://www.loundy.org/commoncents/2002/cc_05-02.html)
— Mark Loundy
I hope that I have an effect on the end product, but I also understand that newspaper department heads are constrained by financial realities not of their own making. But maybe I can move the needle just a little bit.
Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.Leftovers
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