Two new platforms aim to connect journalists with outlets interested in publishing their content and to make the payment process easier.
The sites, NewsFixed and Jurnid, are working to solve common challenges freelancers face, like finding organizations and businesses that want stories and dealing with payments that don't come on time.
The sites join a host of other platforms launched in recent years in response to the growing number of journalists working independently.
Here's a look at these two newcomers:
According to Walker, the motivation behind starting NewsFixed was simple. He believed the system for commissioning international journalists was broken.
“I was commissioning freelancers on a daily basis in my previous role, and it was a nightmare,” he told IJNet. “On the other hand, I had previously been freelance, and many of my friends were freelancing internationally, trying to get commissioned. Yet no matter how good they were they were having a [hard] time making it work.”
Target audience: Anyone can apply to join NewsFixed, but the site works hard to “maintain a focus on recruiting for quality professionalism.” According to Walker, NewsFixed is looking for excellence across the spectrum of international news and factual media. “We particularly like people who have a depth of specialist knowledge that goes beyond breaking news and can sustain an intensive exploration of their specific subjects. We actively seek out journalists who are across the world of business and economics because we feel that this is integral to delivering a holistic understanding of current affairs and a number of our commissioning partners require that background.”
The difference between NewsFixed and other platforms out there: NewsFixed is tightly targeted on high-end factual media and journalism. “We're interested in international geopolitical and business news,” Walker says. “We don't do celebrity or local interest stories.”
The site's progress so far: NewsFixed has been providing material to major brands such as the BBC, Sky News, Al Jazeera and a host of other media organizations, and has seen major growth in commissioner activity over the last couple of months. Walker says that commissioner recommendations surge when key international events happen – like in Iraq, Ukraine or Nigeria – or when commissioners decide that they have a specific need for a specialist's skills surrounding a story they are pursuing.
The future: Newsfixed will remain a vetted network serving the international news and international business worlds. "We are working with a variety of new disruptive technologies to facilitate international payments as smoothly and cheaply as possible."
After spending years in the media and business worlds, Quarrie noticed that freelance journalists could be of great service to brands and businesses looking for fresh content. So now, he’s working to help journalists find an entrepreneurial edge and expand their clientele outside of just news.
“Increasingly, businesses are valuing the importance of having original and fresh stories to share with their audience,” Quarrie says. “Freelance journalists are well-positioned to help tell better stories in a way they were trained to do.”
Target audience: Freelance journalists and students looking to build a viable career as independents and entrepreneurs. The site welcomes all journalists regardless of specialty; it's free to sign up to be a contributor. Journalists can use Jurnid as their blogging platform or as a place to find worthwhile paying projects by connecting with business and branded newsrooms.
Difference between Jumid and the other platforms out there: “Jurnid is more than just matching brands and businesses with freelance journalists in a simple platform,” Quarrie says. Jurnid helps to empower entrepreneurial experimentation from the educational level by establishing a network of mentors who voluntarily provide feedback to journalism students as they publish their portfolios on the platform. For Quarrie, success is "providing freelance journalists with simple tools that are useful to help them thrive as self-managed entrepreneurs, with the understanding that there is strength in being part of a collaborative social platform."
The future: Jurnid plans to serve journalists, readers and businesses wherever possible around the globe. Currently only journalists with a United States bank account can work as freelancers on Jurnid; this feature will open up to other countries soon. However, journalists outside the U.S. can still sign up for free and use Jurnid to publish work; the same goes for journalism students who want to use the platform for their portfolios and to connect with mentors.
Jessica Weiss is a freelance journalist based in Bogotá, Colombia.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Rob under a Creative Commons license.