SAJA Journalism Awards – deadlines are March 5 and March 26

FYI – the SAJA Award deadline is approaching. Good luck! -Mia


Please share with journalists you know. Some of the winners each year are NOT South Asian.

SAJA 2010 Journalism Awards DEADLINES 3/5/10 and 3/26/10

The South Asian Journalists Association and SAJA Group Inc. invite individual journalists and news organizations in North America to submit entries to this year’s contest. The SAJA Journalism Awards recognize excellence in coverage of South Asia and the diaspora, as well as outstanding reporting by South Asian journalists in the U.S. and Canada. The 2010 Awards, which are open to media companies and freelancers headquartered in the U.S. and Canada, consist of 10 categories (including one for students). Submissions can include print articles, editorials, photographs and new media pieces published, and broadcasts aired by Dec. 31, 2009.

The EARLY deadline to enter is FRIDAY, March 5, 2010

The FINAL deadline to enter is FRIDAY, March 26, 2010

Apply online at

Any questions, please contact: Jigar Mehta, SUBJECT: SAJA AWARDS

Freelance Media Workers Guild survey

A survey from the Freelance Media Workers Guild – help them help you better. -mia


If you’re an independent journalist — writer, editor, illustrator, photographer, filmmaker, multi-media producer — and you live in Northern California, we want to hear from you.

Guild Freelancers is surveying area freelancers to learn more about their lives, their work and the local marketplace.

The resulting data will help us raise awareness about current issues facing freelancers, and will also help us tailor services to your needs. The 20-question survey is posted online and takes only about 15 minutes to complete.

Log onto and weigh in!

Rebecca Rosen Lum, Unit Chair Guild Freelancers

Destination DIY radio show seeking freelancers

Hey folks. I fully recognize that this is not a high-paying opportunity, but I can certainly appreciate the labor of love and it sounds like a fun project. Details below if you’re interested. -mia


From: Julie Sabatier

I am the host and creator of a public radio show and podcast called “Destination DIY.” In a nutshell, the show is about unusual do-it-yourself projects from home birth to home funerals and everything in between (including urban chicken coups, brewing your own beer and riding a unicycle). I’ve been developing the show as a labor of love over the past 4 years and have taken it from a live show on the local community radio station to a documentary series that’s been aired on over 20 stations around the country. This year, the show will be airing on Oregon Public Broadcasting this summer and fall and will go from a half-hour show to a one hour program. I have managed to raise a little bit of money for the six shows I’ll be working on in 2010 and part of that money was raised to pay talented radio producers who want to create material for these programs. I’m afraid I can’t offer much ($200 per piece), but I am hoping you’ll find an idea on the list below that inspires you to make a piece of radio you’ll really enjoy creating. I’ll also gladly accept previously produced pieces that fit the themes of these shows. And I should stress that this is a VERY grassroots project. This is the first year that the project has had any funding, meager as it is, and all of it is going straight to production expenses. I am not making any kind of profit off of this endeavor, nor am I paying myself as executive producer. As I said, it’s a labor of love.

Please send pitches to me by April 14 and by all means, think outside the box (and the state of Oregon as well). More information about Destination DIY can be found here: Questions? Don’t be shy! Thank you, Julie Sabatier (

Member Spotlight – April Dembosky

Freelance Cafe member April Dembosky won the Best New Artist award in the Third Coast International Audio Festival competition last fall. Check out her feature below.

Best New Artist
Death Comes Home (USA)
By April Dembosky with advisors Claire Schoen and Cynthia Gorney

Death Comes Home is a portrait of three families who have chosen to forego the funeral director and prescribed memorial to instead care for their dead at home. Part of a growing national “home funeral” movement, these families are redefining America’s death rituals. Death Comes Home was first presented as part of the University of California at Berkeley’s annual masters project showcase in May, 2008.

Death Comes Home
Read more about producer April Dembosky.

Freelancer’s Gathering next Thursday, Feb 25, 7pm

Hey folks. The next freelancer’s gathering is coming up next Thursday:

February 25th 7PM Pacific Coast Brewery (906 Washington Street, Oakland)

And I have a favor to ask of y’all. I’m working on getting the website into some kind of passable shape (and yes, those of you who’ve been in the group for awhile know that I’ve done this before, but I really mean it this time!) So I want to know – what do YOU want on the website? Do you want it to just be an RSS feed of the posts I send, eventually replacing this email list? Do you want it to be a repository for resources, events, tools, etc. relevant to freelancers? (Freelance Folder posts some great articles about freelancing, so I don’t want to copy what they do.) Do you want it to be a place to post your own links, blogs, interesting work you’re doing, etc. with highlights of individual freelancers from time to time? Something else entirely?

If you have a chance to brainstorm about any of this stuff next Thursday, I would be grateful. And just pass on whatever notes you have through Molly or Rori or our newest FC guru Jen Ward. And if you can’t make it on Thursday but have some thoughts on the site anyway, just shoot me an email.

And finally – if you are a talented wordpress designer and are just dying to make us a lovely site, let me know. This is currently a labor of love, but you’d get a web credit, something for your portfolio, some cash as soon as I manage to find some funding for this sucker, and my undying gratitude. I never, EVER encourage freelancers to work for nothing. This is a personal project and it makes me happy, so please only offer your services if you want to do it for fun (and a bit of good karma.)

Happy gathering! Best, Mia 845-444-4034

Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT

I’ve heard great things about this fellowship. Details below. -mia


*Call for applicants*

As journalism reinvents itself, journalists now need to learn multiplatform technologies, such as podcasting, blogging, digital video and audio. They also need an understanding of subjects that consistently rank high with readers—health, environment, medical research, technology and science.

Only one Fellowship offers the pick of scientific courses at MIT and Harvard, gives audio and video training, and sponsors research trips: The Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT.

Fellows receive a stipend of $60,000 for nine months, plus health coverage. Applications are due March 1. Find application requirements and forms at .

I encourage you to apply, or pass this message along to a colleague who could benefit from a year away from deadlines. With all best wishes,

Philip J. Hilts, Director

Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT

The Sad Ocurrence

News writers are in a helluva fix. Despite spanking brand new news websites, micro-local blogging and dedicated journalism programs trying to figure out how to attract and retain readers, the future is bleak for writers. For it is a future which includes diminishing career prospects.

The fundamental nature of the paid writing career is being turned upside down with these emerging business models. That’s because none of them effectively address the issue of paying writers a living wage. Almost non existent in most of these new programs is any opportunity for advancement within the company or organization.

The labor is cheap for news sites and organizations. The unions are weak and there are few pennies being thrown to writers.

For most writers the future is freelance. The future is without benefits. The future is pay based on how many people click your story. The future is you get your $50 per story, shoot art for that story, hyperlink like mad, and get happy.

The ongoing changes have been fast and furious for writers. Besides layoffs at newspapers, periodicals and other news organizations, writers have had to grapple with learning new technology all the while finding that there are fewer outlets for their work.

Back in the day, journalism was one of the few stable careers that paid writers. Once the work of the blue collar set, by the late 70s journalism had been embraced as a career choice for college graduates. By the late 90s, it was very rare to find a journalist who had not attended university.

And while the pay was always low, at many places there was a nurturing of talent, some advancement opportunity, and the pride of covering your community and feeling like you were part of something larger. It was a career and a community. If I met a reporter from Miami, or Iowa, or Bakersfield, I felt a kinship with that beat reporter or editor.

That’s all over. From my vantage point, you’d be a straight up and down psycho to want to get into news reporting if you’re a young pup. Where’s the payoff? Yeah you got 250 to read your story (if you’re lucky), but you’re still ass broke with huge college loans. What happens when you reach your 40s and you want to settle down and buy a house?

There will always be news organizations like the NY Times that can scrape up the cream young journalists and pay them a nice salary. But, the majority of original reporting is done at the local level and I can guarantee you that unless new programs invest and nurture their talent, there will soon be a steep decline in news quality.

Locally, the Bay Area News Project seems like it will pay a living wage and that is very good. But that project is very much the exception. Right now the Baby Boomers are retiring and the Gen Xers are fleeing journalism fast as they can.

Jennifer Inez Ward

REVISED! Snap Judgment’s Call for Stories!!!

Hey folks – this update from Glynn at Snap Judgments: revised (higher!) pay rates. Hooray! -mia


Thanks to everyone for your amazing response to Snap Judgment’s Call for Stories, and suggestions on our rate structure. As promised, we have gone “back to the drawing board” on the rate structure, as reflected in this revised Call for Stories.

As former freelancers, we very much understand the need for sustainable compensation practices, and will endeavor to treat EVERYONE in the Snap Judgment community fairly.

Thanks again,


# **

Snap Judgment, winner of CPB’s Public Radio Talent Quest, launches April 2010, and is putting out a call for stories.

We’re looking for amazing stories. Quick. Distinctive Voice. Bobbing and weaving. Surprising ending. Raw. Urban sensibility. Intimate. Voyeuristic.

The “perfect” long form Snap Judgment story runs six to nine minutes.

Check out Episode ONE (Magic Doors) at . . .

Typically in Snap Judgment pieces, the narrator presents a high stakes choice early on – subtly daring listeners to put themselves in place of the protagonist. Snap Judgment heroes make choices with consequence. As the story unfolds we learn more about both the teller and the environment / context they operate.

We like stories that transport listeners to different worlds. We really like international stories, but equally dig stories that navigate ethnic or social-economic communities outside the scope of traditional media. (For example, we would love a story about a Tongan prince, but would also dig one from the perspective of a sister-wife in north Utah.)

While main characters are allowed to draw lessons from their experience, we leave the “judging” of the story to the audience. We don’t mind if overlapping narratives conflict in their conclusions. (One person could conclude that arranged marriages are evil, another could conclude they are great.)

Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story! We like lies and lying liars. Lies and exaggerations are often more important than some antiseptic recall of the facts. We want character. A snapshot of the person in the moment of their Snap Judgment.

The more fantastical, the better. Snap Judgment dances on the edge of credulity. Did you see someone fly? Fantastic. Picked up by a UFO? Even better. Got a fictional piece you think would work? Try us.

The Snap Judgment theme is important, but most important is the story. Good stories have decision points. Good characters suck listeners in. The teller should want to share their story. (Or be so compelling in their reluctance, that we identify with them.) Either way, we must be compelled to listen as they illuminate a hidden piece of the world.

We’re currently working through a few basic “themes” – BUT don’t let this limit your imaginings. If you have a good idea, let us know!

1) 5150 (Stories involving people who are a danger to to themselves or and others.) 2) DROP EVERYTHING (people who have abandoned their current lives in search of a new one). 3) LIBRARY TALES (stories in or involving the most innocuous place of all – the local public library . . .) 4) SUPERHEROS (stories of people who use their powers to shake things up . . . hopefully in tights!)

Interested producers should send a pitch, and a quick synopsis of the story. We will read each and every pitch (promise) and let you know whether we would like to move to the next level.

We are interested in both fully edited stories and raw interview tape (that show staff will cut into stories for the radio show and podcast)

Turnaround Times 2 Days – Quick 3 Days – Average 6 Days – Intensive

Junior Level Day Rate – $250 2 days – $500 3 days – $875 6 days – $1500

Mid Level Day Rate – $325 2 days – $650 3 days – $1,188 6 days – $1,950

Senior Level Day Rate – $400 2 days – $800 3 days – $1,400 6 days – $2,400

Write to us:

Thanks a million! We can’t WAIT to hear from you . . .