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Freelance question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Hey Diaz!, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Hey Diaz!

    Hey Diaz! Member

    Stupid question here ...

    Paper A asked me to do a preseason feature on a kid. Paper B, which I suppose could be looked at as a competitor, wants me to do a story on the same player.

    Can I provide the same story that was published in Paper A? Or would I have to change the lead/modify some middle graphs/add a source or two to differentiate the pieces?

    I know papers have polices about this kind of thing, I'm just wondering if I need to be careful here. Or maybe I'm just worried about nothing.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    If you have to ask, you just might be in the wrong business.
  3. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    The real freakin question is why are two papers that could be looked at as competitors both freelancing out a story on the same kid? Have cutbacks gone so far that no one has any reporters left?
  4. Here me roar

    Here me roar Guest

    Is this a real question? Paper A owns the story. And your contract tells you that.
  5. slc10

    slc10 Member

    Could always use x items for one story and a different set for the other. Of course paper A did ask 1st.
  6. I've never signed an exclusive contract in perpetuity. The contracts I signed gave the first paper 24-48 hours of exclusivity, then I was free to sell my content to whomever else would buy it. Of course, there is the informal "don't string for the competition" clause that is spoken, but never put into any contracts I signed.
  7. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Filing both stories is a quick way to get both papers pissed off at you, regardless of how you divvy it out.
  8. Here me roar

    Here me roar Guest

    Don't know if you still freelance, but the stuff I do now, they own it. And there are no competitors here. It's theirs, and I don't even worry about it.
  9. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    In that case, you don't have to worry about it, so the question really is moot to you.

    To answer Diaz's question, I'd ask another one:

    Does Paper B know that you previously wrote a story on this same kid? And, does it know how recently?

    If so, I would reiterate to Paper B that you, well, previously wrote a story on this same kid for Paper A.

    Then, if Paper B still wants the story from you, and you decide you'd also like to do a story for Paper B, I would proceed to get fresh interviews, preferably with at least some new/different people, and try to get to know a kid with whom I'm already familiar even better.

    Find a new angle, a different story, to work -- even if it is about the same kid.
  10. Here me roar

    Here me roar Guest

    His first step should be to see what he agreed to when he started freelancing for Paper A.

    Mine paperwork has a 90-day clause where I can then re-distribute, but a clause that precludes EVER selling it to a competitor.

    Check your paperwork.
  11. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Paperwork? Someone actually DOES paperwork in newspaper freelance arrangements?

    But to the question at hand.... I would call Paper A and explain the situation. Because they were first in line, they should have priority. If they give you their blessing to also do a piece for Paper B, then go ahead. (Although I would at least take the time to change up the lead, angle, etc.) If they say no, forget it.
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