Mag-Net hopes to attract magazine freelances

FREELANCES working in magazines can join Mag-Net, a new email network, at www.londonfreelance.org/Mag-Net - this was the expressed wish of freelance members who attended a meeting at Headland House in September. They heard experienced editor Chris Wheal, photographer Jill Furmanovsky and writer Phil Sutcliffe give an overview of the magazine sector as a prelude to a wide-ranging discussion.

[Mag-Net]
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Issues raised included: how to find commissioning editors; marketing yourself via a website; social networking; and using directories.

Freelance Organiser John Toner said: "It was striking that those who attended considered it an evening well spent. I would encourage them to attend meetings of London Freelance Branch, which they will find equally worthwhile."

Jill Furmanovsky, who founded photo syndication website rockarchive.com, reminded the freelances present that editors are able to use their discretion, and encouraged freelances to endeavour to keep their copyright, stressing that ownership of copyright is a key pension plan for photographers. While the fees Jill got for most for music magazine photography in the 1980s barely covered film and processing costs, she now earns four-figure sums for re-use of some of these photos.

Music magazine writer Phil Sutcliffe said freelances had "on the whole, a generous attitude to one another and enjoyed and benefitted from getting together in networks... which could not only break down isolation but help with negotiations."

Veteran business-to-business (B2B) journalist Chris Wheal said that sector is healthy, paying better than consumer magazines and migrating online faster. He emphasised the importance of networking as a means of breaking into new markets - a point echoed by Jill, who was recently exchanging business cards at an event at the Hilton for movers and shakers from Hong Kong, definitely a market to watch.

Chris said he would rather go to a corporate hospitality event than wait phone to ring. While there's no actual money in junkets, there are usually other journos there, so they result in work coming Chris's way.

Sorting out an appropriate website and using social media tools to showcase what you do is vital, says Chris. NUJ Training's "Build your own website" courses is on 12 October and its "Social Media for Journalists" course on 11 November, and both are repeated early next year. see www.nujtraining.org

Last modified: 06 Oct 2011 - © 2011 contributors
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