AIR, PRNDI Announce Framework for Local Freelance Contributors

Jan 21, 2014

Public radio stations and independent producers will now have guidance for negotiating rates to support creation of local stories, thanks to the efforts of a task force created by AIR and PRNDI  last fall.

AIR has also developed a new contract template designed expressly for station and freelancers. Together, these new resources support stations seeking to tap public media’s talent pool to strengthen their local position, and the interests of freelancers looking to expand their opportunities to contribute to public media outlets and reach new listeners.

Many stations already rely on freelancers to add diversity, enhance their “sense of place,” fulfill grant requirements, or fill gaps in their schedules. A survey of newsrooms conducted as part of this initiative indicates the majority (85%) of respondents are working to strengthen the local identity of their stations. While, nearly half feel freelance content is important to their station and believe it will help their efforts to build local identity, most (71%) say their ability to acquire outside work is constrained by budget limitations.  The average freelance acquisition budget of the respondents to AIR’s survey is $12,500/year with most (89%) commissioning 3-14 minute news features. The average spent annually on national programming for these stations is $608,500.

The local rate schedule is modeled after the national standards first created by AIR in 2002 to set compensation based on the experience of a producer and the complexity of a story rather than a pay-per-minute fee.  The new schedule lays out a sliding scale fee to account for the range of newsroom diversity across the system.

The new contract template commissioned by AIR to accompany the rate schedule is designed to support negotiations of stations and producers as they set the terms and conditions for working together. AIR’s Guide to Fair Practices is another recommended resource available to all across the system. 

PRNDI and AIR will present a webinar on Monday, February 24th at 2pmET . 

Reserve a spot by registering at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/249855734

Please note that space is limited.  Do not register unless/until you can commit to attend.

The AIR/PRDNI task force was led by journalist Susanna Capelouto (Georgia Public Broadcasting and CNN).  San Francisco based Spencer W. Weisbroth, a business and non-profit attorney and AIR member with extensive experience working in public media, was commissioned by AIR to develop the contract template.  Advisors included independent producers Karen Michel, Lu Olkowski, Jay Allison, and Katie Davis, consultant Mike Marcotte, PRPD President Arthur Cohen, and station advisors Tanya Ott who serves as vice president of radio for Georgia Public Broadcasting, Sally Eisele, managing editor of public affairs for WBEZ, and Jim Gates, senior editor at KUOW and head of the station’s Program Venture Fund.  AIR Executive Director Sue Schardt and PRNDI President George Bodarky, news director of WFUV in New York, also consulted on the final framework.

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Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) is nonprofit professional association that exists to improve local news and information programming by serving public radio journalists. PRNDI educates, advocates, and organizes to promote high standards, ethical principles, and significant public service. PRNDI works to strengthen the skills, capacity, and professional position of news directors, and through them, strengthen public radio's local news and public affairs efforts in ways that are embraced by audiences, station leaders, networks, and supporters.

AIR is a vibrant international production network made up of 1000 public media journalists, documentarians, technicians, media entrepreneurs, and sound artists with a core expertise in independent audio production. The Boston-based organization identifies, cultivates, and deploys members to deepen understanding of and bring enlightenment to citizens worldwide. Its training programs and productions are defining and driving an expanding media landscape spanning digital/technology, broadcast, and street media platforms — challenging and inspiring other media-makers to join us at AIRmedia.org.

Links:

AIR/PRNDI Station-Freelance Acquisition Guide: http://airmedia.org/PageInfo.php?PageID=812

AIR Station-Freelance Contract Template: http://airmedia.org/PDFs/Producer-StationTemplate-FINAL.pdf

Guide to Fair Practices: http://airmedia.org/PageInfo.php?PageID=18

NPR rates: http://bit.ly/KDOYq4