Media 6 Readings – Week 3 (don’t expect wit any time soon)

This week’s reading is a look at the life of the creative, the worker in the more ‘creative’ jobs, like television, writing, online publishing, game development, content creation, etc. It focuses on the new work models, specifically the more informal work models with blurred lines between work, home, and leisure, in a variety of developing corporations, specifically those in ‘creative labour’ jobs. It looks in part at the positives of this, like the more relaxed routine and the informality between employees developing creative work, but has a major focus on the negatives that these kinds of models and careers can have. One of these negatives is the exploitation of employees or ‘associates’ and ‘contributors’ by employers. In these media fields, there is exploitation apparent across the entire spectrum of content creation. For freelancers, it is an apparent ‘race to the bottom’, with contracts being negotiated to those who will provide the, usually large, project at the cheapest, and large corporations employing freelancers at cent-a-word rates, or one-off sums for content that is usually not creative and sometimes borderline illegal, and very low rates thanks to a lack of unions, minimum wage, and other business laws not applying in the same way as they would for traditional, full time workers. For entrance level positions in companies, the exploitation occurs through internships, where people are brought in for unpaid work for months on end for the prospect of a position (which, at least in America, is illegal (Hickman, Blair, and Christie Thompson. “When Is It OK to Not Pay an Intern?” ProPublica. ProPublica Inc., 14 June 2013. Web)). The exploitation of full-time workers occurs thanks to unpaid overtime, forced flexible hours, and self-exploitation, in which employees force themselves to work longer and harder for less in the glamorised attempt at meeting and holding deadlines and employment.

The reading links very well to an article I read for my annotated bibliography called “When No Means No”, written by Benjamin Law (see here for that post), in which Law recounts his personal experiences with being a freelance creative, and the major strain he had to go through, a strain he put on himself sometimes so as to not die (exaggeration, but not by much). He also noted how much of the Australian workforce was working in unpaid overtime ($9471 a year) simply because it is hard to say no to the work that keeps you employed.

Annotated Bibliography (work in progress)

Arlington, Kim. “The Jobs That Didn’t Exist Last Time We Had A Census”. The Age. N.p., 2016. Web. 1 Aug. 2016.

This age article found online looks at how the 2016 census will reflect how the job landscape is changing. Thanks to the rise of new technologies, new applications for old technologies, and the computerization and redesign of previous industries and departments, new jobs that don’t fit into the old classic ideas of careers are being created. The article notes a US researcher predicting that “Sixty-five percent of children who entered primary school in 2011 will end up working in careers that have not yet been invented”. How this article in particular relates to the ideas of freelancing is the idea that freelance jobs and growth are becoming more prevalent, and that is the predicted route for most new jobs in creation as well as current industry positions. The article notes “Some analysts say up to 60 per cent of the workforce will be freelance or a contractor in the next five years, Peter Bradd, chairman of StartupAUS and CEO of entrepreneurial training company the Beanstalk Factory, said. The trend towards freelancing work and growth in shared work spaces was “allowing people to follow their passions and also create income on the side”.” The article also notes the negatives that this new trend brings, with a lot of old industries becoming more and more computerised, and how this, along with the previous mentioned points, is why there needs to be a focus on “the growing importance of workers with entrepreneurial, STEM, creative and social skills and the role of innovation hubs.” I feel most of this information can be trusted, coming from a generally reputable newspaper with an apparent variety of sources, although some of those quotes come from undisclosed sources and generic titles.


Law, Benjamin. “When No Means No”. The Age. N.p., 2016. Web. 1 Aug. 2016.

This article is written by Benjamin Law, a freelance media producer and writer. The piece outlined first about his early work, and how he was told to say yes to everything, detailing the difficulties of being a freelancer, and how “To survive, freelancers are overworked, overcommitted and owed thousands of dollars in unpaid invoices, which is a better option than the alternative, which is under-committed, underpaid and dead.” He laments over how others had jobs that had steady salaries and basic dignities. He then relates that to other Australians who can’t say no when it comes to their job, leading to “Full-time working Australians – on average – work six hours of unpaid overtime each week, worth an estimated $9471 a year,” quoting a Sydney Morning Herald article as a source for the statistic. While this article is good for setting down framework for the topic, and a good avenue for possible pathways in the building of this research project, it may not be the best as a source due to the predominantly anecdotal use of stories, and only a few links to statistics.


Ertel, Michael et al. “Adverse Psychosocial Working Conditions And Subjective Health In Freelance Media Workers”. Work & Stress 19.3 (2005): 293-299. Web.


Edstrom, Maria and Martina Ladendorf. “FREELANCE JOURNALISTS AS A FLEXIBLE WORKFORCE IN MEDIA INDUSTRIES”. Journalism Practice 6.5-6 (2012): 711-721. Web.