In a recent collaboration between Louisville Public Media, public radio’s Innovation Trail and WEKU, three-fifths of the stories were done by freelancers. The series examined the impacts of technological advances on the horse racing industry, and was shared, at no cost, with public radio stations in eight states. Eventually, portions of the series were also picked by “Here and Now,” WNYC and NPR. As a journalistic collaboration, it was great success, but, was it a success for our freelancers?
All three are dedicated journalists who are pleased their stories reached a wide audience. They are also people who need to eat. Each was paid a standard fee by WEKU and they were free to sell their content to other buyers. However, one could argue they had undercut themselves. Why should a news director buy a cow when she can get the milk for free?