This blog entry is in response to the week 3, Media 6 reading by Lobato and Thomas (2015). Centred around the informal media careers (i.e freelancing), the authors present through secondary sources and case studies, the positives yet largely the negatives of informal media work.
Prior to this text, I wasn’t overly familiar with the informal, freelance field, so it’s good to have a little more of an understanding of the opportunities that are out there. I didn’t know that there were “freelancer recruitment platforms such as Elance and oDesk”. For me, the idea of a freelancer was simply a person who jumped between jobs and clients at will, with greater flexibility but less stability. After the reading mentioned these US platforms, I researched to see if there were equivalent ones in Australia that were of interest to me. I stumbled across platforms such as copify, freelancer.com.au, and also this eye-opening blog entry, have you considered these freelance writing revenue streams?’
Considering that I enjoy writing, and that I consider myself a strong writer, I gleaned the reading as more of an opportunity-revealer, rather than a criticism of the line of work, which at many points was largely what it seemed like. A lot revolved around the precarity of the informal industry, and misleading or mistrustworthy processes that included;
“Cronyism, word-of-mouth recruiting, lack of transparency – within formal media industries.
The authors through the word ‘precarity’ around a lot, although admittedly I was unclear on its precise definition in this context… so I looked it up.
Precarity is a precarious existence, lacking in predictability, job security, material or psychological welfare. The social class defined by this condition has been termed the precariat.
However the drawbacks are then combatted with opinions from Cunningham (2013), who explores the positive side of informal media work;
“Creatives also have options and mobility due to their qualification levels and experience in project based work. “
“A very significant proportion of creative workers, including designers and multimedia artists, are located outside the creative industries”….
The above passage is exampled by my own current role within a non-profit community-support agency. Similarly, I’m lucky in the sense that I’ve secured fair, regular, paid, creative work, considering one of the negatives communicated: that “Young hopefuls in many fields (I’m a young hopeful!) are often obliged to do unpaid work experience for months at a time, with no guarantee – and in some cases, no prospects – of a job at the end”.
Regardless of the pros and cons presented, the question still remains,“Do content farms and freelances sites exploit writers and erode the working standards of the writing profession?’ In my opinion, yes it does, and yes it will. But let’s not generalise. There are always those who are fair, and there will always be those who exploit – regardless of profession. But at the moment, the idea of the “less routinised”, and the “permeable boundary between work, private life and leisure” link closely in line with my working ideals (mainly, because I am the total inverse of a morning person).