Over the last few weeks I’ve been focusing on various issues relating to journalism and the way I hunt and gather news these days.
It started with a new client asking me to help generate a fortnightly, subscription e-newsletter for the members of his organisation, developed with the TrinityMirror shake-up of its regional titles in the Midlands, includes several conversations, comments and blog posts and also includes my recent trip to Spain.
All these things have been – and still are – jumbling around my head.
But one central thought continues to exercise me – what does the future hold for me as a freelance journalist based in the Midlands and looking to Birmingham as a central hub?
With so many redundancies being sought by TrinityMirror, potentially a large pool of journalistic talent is about to flood the market.
A cause for concern on an individual level, perhaps, but a comment on this blog in response to this post got me thinking and further chats, discussions and comments have got me wondering about the opportunities this could provide.
The comment from dp was:
As an outside observer, I’m wondering if a selection of those ex-employees will be looking to the web as independent publishers, writers and so on, perhaps in a collective manner. It wouldn’t be the first time a viable venture came out of a change of structure. So the question is, how might they make the transition?
The idea of a loose, web-based collective, rather than some sort of formal agency, appealed enormously and has been exercising my mind ever since.
Yesterday I met up with a former colleague who is considering going freelance and I mentioned the idea to her. She recounted a similar discussion with another journalist, also wondering whether his future lies in freelancing.
We both agreed that this type of informal, but solid network of self-employed talent – journalists, sub-editors, photographers, designers etc – could benefit us all and provide something new, exciting and different.
There are freelance directories and sites out there already. But a network of this type, based in and around Birmingham and looking to generate opportunities and awareness of the talent pool on a regional, national and international level would offer something different.
Between us we would cover most writing specialisms and issues, provide editing skills and experience, offer visual and image services.
Above all, we would be working together and helping each other rather than competing directly.
By creating a simple web presence we would also be able to showcase what all this talent has to offer with one link.
In turn that could develop into a news resource for others to consume. And rather than competing with other media outlets and organisations, it could and perhaps should complement what they do too.
The potential for this loose network certainly exists, whether the support does remains to be seen.
I’m unable to make today’s first-ever Social Media Cafe in Birmingham, organised by Joanna Geary, as that might have provided an opportunity to gather some more thoughts and reaction to the network idea – which is why I’ve written this instead.
The seed has also been planted with a few others and I’ll be interested to know what response, if any, it generates.