I hope all is well and I'm sure you'll agree that we are getting in touch again with more good news. Please see below for new opportunities for freelance work in these tricky times. This is an incredible personal effort from the TriNorth team for the freelance community across the world. Please share tweets and make a noise about it when it goes live as its success will rely on the public buying into it. CWC sends it thanks and fully welcomes the move.
Alison Mitchell, CWC Chair 25th March 2020
STATEMENT – NEW SPORTS FREELANCER PROJECTS
In light of the ongoing situation, the people who work at TriNorth Communications, the sports media agency which produces The Blizzard, the Nightwatchman, Wisden Cricket Monthly and Gridiron magazines, have decided they would like to do their bit, however small, for the freelance community.
At TriNorth, we are all lucky enough to have full-time jobs. Like everybody else, we can’t guarantee for how long, but we are aware of the even more precarious nature of freelance life around the world at the moment and it did not take much persuading for our staff to agree to foregoing a significant element of their salaries for the next few months and possibly beyond so that we could set up a fund to support freelancers. We are all aware of the importance of freelancers to our products, of the friendships we have built with them, of the feeling of kinship we share with them.
We have therefore, slightly counter-intuitively in a world where everything seems to be scaling back, decided to introduce two new digital magazines, the Pinch Hitter, in association with the Nightwatchman, and The Squall, the unruly younger sibling to The Blizzard.
The former, which will appear approximately fortnightly starting from 3 April, will initially be funded by TriNorth’s salary sacrifices; the latter (planned at eight issues over 12 months starting in May) by the incredibly generous gestures from contributors to the Blizzard, led by editor Jonathan Wilson. Between them, the 65 writers who contributed pieces to, or spoke at events for, The Blizzard in the 2019-20 period, have waived over £5,500 and counting of fees, meaning we can start commissioning with confidence.
It will not be possible to fund the products in this way forever of course (the intention at this stage is for both products to have a lifespan of as long as the current situation lasts) and we will therefore also put both magazines on sale on a pay-what-you-can basis. The more support we can get for this from the freelance community in terms of promotion, the better. And we have today set up two bank accounts – one for each magazine – so that we can ensure all revenues generated will be reinvested into these magazines. If they turn into something that people want to keep going, and that benefit the freelance community, then we’d be delighted.
You’ll find more about the two products and how to pitch to contribute to them at the end of this statement.
We are aware that a package is on its way for freelancers and first signs are that it looks promising. But we are also aware that there are plenty of freelancers out there – writers, photographers, videographers, illustrators, podcasters – who will find the measures do not help them out of the hole they are in right now. And we know that these government measures, when they do come in, will be for those working in the UK. Our freelancers span the globe and not all are being offered such a package. Furthermore, we know that the current situation is not just about money. It is about doing your job, taking pride in turning a sentence, taking a great photo, telling a great story, getting that game-changing interview. Pride in your work, producing the finished product – the psychological impact is huge. Mental health is never to be treated lightly, but especially not now. We want to give freelancers a platform to strut their stuff, to play their shots.
As with anything we do, there will be a fairly rigorous quality control process involved – the content produced has to be good and the magazines have to be engaging for people to read.
So please send in your submissions, ideas and suggestions and hopefully we’ll be able to make a small difference. Our intention is to pay pretty much on submission, even if that submission is for three or four magazines down the line. This won’t always be possible but the more cash we can generate from the general public, the quicker we can pay, the more freelancers we can use, and the better the rates we can offer.
THE PINCH HITTER (from Phil Walker, Jo Harman and Matt Thacker)
An interactive magazine, with columns, features, photo essays, long-form Nightwatchman-style articles, videos, interviews, club cricket, women’s cricket, kids cricket, international cricket, office cricket, lockdown cricket, and general silliness.
The magazine’s identity will evolve over time and be influenced in part by the type of submissions we receive, but we’re not expecting the style and tone of it to deviate too much from TriNorth’s established publications. Initially of course, with no cricket to cover, the first few issues will be necessarily discursive, with a fair few dollops of nostalgia. But at the same time, we’re very keen to offer a way in for younger readers too, so any pitches aimed at that audience would be very welcome indeed!
You can pitch to Phil, Jo and Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rates will be around the usual mark for our cricket-related magazines but we’ll aim to increase them if we get significant revenue in from the pay-what-you-can channels.
There will be more detail about the kind of things we will be looking for up on the Nightwatchman website (www.thenightwatchman.net) as soon as we can but don’t let that stop you pitching your stuff to them!
THE SQUALL (from The Blizzard editor Jonathan Wilson)
The Squall will be (a lot) shorter than The Blizzard but (a lot) longer than The Flurry (our newsletter). It will be 11 pieces of between 500 and 2,500 words on a selected theme (so a total of 15-20,000 words). Our first issue (May; deadline 15 April) will be on the theme of The Right-Back. Feel free to interpret that as freely as you like. Pitch on individual right-backs, great or small; on the changing nature of the role; on best goals by right-backs; worst fouls by right-backs; right-backs in film or song; clubs who’ve had a run or great or terrible right-backs… be as creative as you can. If you’re a photographer, perhaps you have a series of pictures of one particular right-back, or maybe a series of different right-backs taking throw-ins? As ever with Blizzard products, be inventive and original, find details, devise theories, be funny, don’t be constrained by what we’ve seen before.