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Why mapping the state of freelance journalism in Europe is important


Why mapping the state of freelance journalism in Europe is important

Picture of Ana Maria Salinas
Ana Maria Salinas — Project Manager
February 22, 2022

The Freelance journalism in Europe survey aims to discover the current landscape of freelance journalism, its challenges and opportunities for empowerment

Freelance journalists across Europe play a vital role in producing quality and innovative journalism that promotes healthy democracies and public debate, informs societies on the world’s urgent dilemmas, and keeps those in power accountable. Meanwhile, the community is also challenged to guarantee their economic sustainability, make new connections and work in a highly competitive international environment.

The lack of information about the conditions and dynamics of freelance journalism in Europe is one of the main challenges to supporting the freelance community. With more data about how freelancers work and thrive, we will be able to better understand the mechanisms and design new strategies for supporting and protecting freelance journalists.

Because of this, and as part of the Freelance journalism Assembly, the European Journalism Centre foundation (EJC), with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is launching a survey that will map the current landscape of freelance journalism in Europe and identify challenges and opportunities for empowerment.

Freelance journalists based in Europe are invited to contribute to this initiative by filling in the survey, which will close on 23 March 2022, 23:59 CET.

About the Freelance journalism in Europe survey

What challenges do you face working as a freelance journalist? Do you combine other professional activities with being a freelance journalist? Are there any new or additional skills that would make you more effective as a freelance journalist?

The Freelance journalism in Europe survey aims to answer these and other questions to create awareness about the needs and priorities of the community and promote conversations around the solutions and initiatives that can positively impact the freelance ecosystem.

This mapping exercise is important for:

1. Highlighting the work and challenges of freelance journalists

It is known that freelancers face several challenges. From handling unstable cash flow and getting pitches accepted to facing threats to their physical and digital safety. The analysis of their working conditions will be a valuable source of information for other members of the news ecosystem to better understand, value and support freelance journalists.

2. Designing new initiatives to support and protect freelance journalism

Although some national and local reports aim to explore the profile of the members of the community, there is still a lack of information at the European level. Collecting accurate and updated information in terms of gender, age and work dynamics will allow different relevant actors to create appropriate support initiatives, mechanisms and strategies that can benefit freelancers and the journalism community.

3. Facilitating collaborative solutions

Finding effective solutions that can positively impact the freelance journalism ecosystem requires collective actions and collaborative initiatives. The resulting report will be an invitation to journalism funders, media outlets, organisations of freelance journalists, unions, NGO’s, academia and international organisations to discuss and join forces in creating new empowerment strategies.

New resources for freelance journalists

Created by the EJC in 2020, the Freelance Journalism Assembly has become the first initiative at the European level exclusively focused on the freelance community and its role in the news industry. To date, more than two thousand freelancers have joined the platform that seeks to provide the community with skills, tools and connections through events, training sessions, resources, mentorships and a community matchmaker. You can join the community here.

In 2021, the Freelance Journalism Assembly produced eight new guides to help freelance journalists report on the world’s most urgent challenges. In 2022, in line with the EJC’s commitment to offer free journalism resources and democratise the accessibility of information and tools, the eight Freelancer’s guides will be translated into French, Spanish and Arabic to reach freelancers around the world.

Additionally, two brand new development journalism handbooks will be launched focusing on the topics of pitching and entrepreneurship. Both handbooks will provide freelancers with tips from editors, practical tools and examples.

Stay tuned and sign up to our mailing list to be the first one to know when these resources will be available this spring.


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