The landscape of freelance journalism in America and around the world is changing. In collaboration with the SPJ Freelance Community, we have the President and Executive Director of the Freelancers Union, Rafael Espinal.
The landscape of the gig economy in America took a turn after the controversial bill in California (AB-5) was signed into law, leading other states to follow suit. Now the PROact is on the table in Congress. With the economy struggling during the pandemic, journalists and writers are being hit hard with these new laws, which make it harder to classify as an independent worker.
In April it was reported by the New York Times that 36,000 workers at news outlets were laid off, furloughed, or had a reduction in their position because of the pandemic. But for freelance journalists, many livelihoods were lost overnight. Besides a reduction in business related to COVID-19, AB5 in California also caused freelancers to lose jobs. . According to a survey by the Freelancers Union in March and April, 80% of respondents who self-identified as journalists had lost employment by the end of April, whether it was from the cancelation of pending contracts or in-progress work being halted. Compare that to the 67% reported having lost work just a month prior. According to 51% of the journalists who responded to the survey in April, they lost more than $5,000 in income since the COVID-19 crisis began.
In our one-on-one conversation on August 25th, we will discuss the challenges and the changes taking place in the freelance industry in the US and around the world. This session will also give journalists around the world a better understanding of what the Freelance Union is about and how it might help them.