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(en) Poland, WORKERS' INITIATIVE: Journalists and journalists on an equal basis - a new commission of the OZZ IP [machine translation]

Date Thu, 31 May 2018 08:23:28 +0300

Founding meeting of the Commission of Journalists and Journalists of the OZZ IP (May 2018)
In May 2018, the environmental commission for journalists and journalists at the Employee Initiative began its activities. It consists of collaborators of online portals and newspapers from all over Poland, including major dailies and weeklies. ---- The commission was established by journalists and journalists, who are not employed in full-time jobs for the most part. Most of the texts in national newspapers are outsourced to external authors who make their living from money earned for written texts. The terms of cooperation vary significantly, however, depending on the editorial board, usually placing the author in a disadvantageous position.
The amounts paid for the text, i.e. the so-called poems, have been systematically lowered for years. This is a common practice in most editorial offices. Journalists preparing their materials for several weeks earn a few hundred zlotys on them. They are billed for each text with a contract for a work. Employers do not pay pension contributions. Journalists do not even have health insurance available for people on contracts - orders. Very few editorial offices are open to accepting employees on a full-time basis. What's worse, the method of paying out the lines is unclear. Before publishing, the author rarely knows how his text will be valued. Employers do not make clear rules about remuneration public. It so happens that two authors working for the same editorial office receive two completely different amounts for their texts.

But the lines are not the only problem. The practice of paying for material only at the time of publication is also common in editorial offices. In the case of weekly magazines, the waiting time for publication can be several months or even more than half a year. At that time the author does not get a penny for his work. Editors are reluctant to pay advances for texts that are already ready.

To write a longer journalist's text, the author is forced to travel to Poland, Europe or the world. In such cases, even reimbursement of travel or accommodation costs is not obvious. Costs going to hundreds or thousands of zlotys are transferred to journalists.

An additional problem for the authors are the rights to texts. Many articles are reproduced - be it in subsequent special editions, or web portals. For reprints of his own texts, the author does not get any money. The problem also arises when the journalist decides to publish a book with his texts written for newspapers. There is a situation where a journalist has to pay the editorial office for regaining property rights for his own work. This dubious rule is common in any large publishing house.

Journalists and journalists want to civilize the rules of cooperation with the editorial offices. At the beginning, they intend to prepare a code of good practices - a set of rules that will go to the desks of the editor-in-chief. This is the boundary conditions of the agreement, which is to facilitate cooperation between both parties.

The environmental commission also accepts journalists employed full time in editorial offices. Forensic journalists struggle with similar problems. Their salary usually consists of a modest basis and a poem worked out in a given month. Lowering rates for texts hits both journalists - freelancers and full-time authors. And also - indirectly - in the whole society. Lowering the authors' earnings causes a gradual decrease in the value of journalistic materials. A tired, churned journalist has little time for an in-depth investigation or in-depth analysis of the problem. At stake are not just earnings. It is also about the future of journalism.

Contact to the environmental commission of journalists and journalists: komisjadziennikarska[@]gmail.com

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