It has been an interesting week or so since I blogged about the possible creation of a new network of freelancing media types.

The idea was initially planted following the announcement of the radical shake-up at TrinityMirror’s titles in the Midlands and the prospect of 60+ experienced, skilled journalists – writers, subs, photographers and graphic artists – needing to find work in the region.

Rather than setting up a formal agency, a couple of us chatted about setting up an informal and loose network.

Quite how it would work is unclear, but there is interest in the opportunities it might generate.

Although the original post is still comment free, I also emailed about a dozen people at the same time and have received a dozen very positive and enthusiastic responses. Some of them have also contacted others, who also seem enthused by the potential of the idea of a new freelancing network.

As the situation at the TM titles is still a bit fuzzy, with many unsure about what their future holds, a lot of those who have responded are a bit guarded about going public at this stage. But there seems sufficient interest to start talking about organising a get-together of anyone interested in joining.

All those who have responded agree that a web-based network offers potential to develop in many different directions. Although there will inevitably be competition for work, sharing skills and experiences and offering recommendations for projects that come across your radar which might well suit others, does appeal to most.

And as many of us are still coming to terms with new technology and new ways of working, then a loose network offering guidance on the various issues we will all be facing also makes sense.

Some of the comments, so far, include:

…the idea of a web-based collective seems like it could go in all manner of directions and succeed at some or all of them….

…all sounds interesting. I’m not going to pretend I can second guess how you see this working, but my first reaction is it’d be cool to recommend each other rather than just compete; though I can’t see how we wouldn’t also be competing against each other…

…there would be strength in numbers. I’m not sure any of us would want to set up a formal agency, but a chance to network on-line and off-line regularly would appeal…

…one of my worries about freelancing is feeling isolated and not having the newsroom environment to bounce ideas off, get some advice on a particular story, or simply switch off and talk crap for half an hour. I haven’t got a clue about most of these changes that are happening, so being able to sit down and talk to others who do understand would be brilliant…

That idea of maintaining a newsroom-style link and environment is something that I do find appealing.

Over the last two years the main thing I’ve missed is the newsroom atmosphere. Although it has changed considerably in the 20 years I’ve been a journalist, the opportunity to “bounce ideas around” and “gather advice on a story” or simply “talk crap” shouldn’t be underestimated.

Creating that sort of environment, both physically and virtually, could be one of the biggest initial draws to this type of network.

So the next stage is to think about setting up an informal gathering.

I’ll be emailing everyone who has responded so far and asking them to contact others who might be interested.

It is still very early days, but networking about networking to set up a new network for freelancers seems to have gone well so far.

One response »

  1. Ursula says:

    Paul, I think it’s a brilliant idea (sorry, I didn’t throw my usual pound’s unworthy in before). If you ever need words – make that a waterfall – a critical eye and more being pedantic than is humanly stomachable (good word, don’t you think?) you know where to find me.

    Netted, knotted and virtually yours,
    U

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