I am a freelance journalist by choice and have been for the past two and a half years.
As a freelancer, I am able to pick and choose which stories I investigate. I am also free to work for various publications and am glad to avoid inter-office politics, editorial censorship, and a regular work schedule.
It is imperative that I work for myself for several reasons: I have an elderly mother-in-law who requires special attention on her terms, not at the whims of my schedule; in January, I was injured in a car accident and must visit doctors and specialists during their business hours. Also, there is no restriction on my work because of advertising conflicts or budgetary issues if one publication isn’t interested, or can’t afford, a story, I sell it to another one.
Freelance investigative journalism is critical for a democracy. For proof, look no further than the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine where Gen. Stanley McCrystal was profiled by a freelance journalist.
Freelancers are able to tackle in-depth news stories that many newsrooms are no longer able to handle thanks to staffing shortages, never-ending deadlines, and budgetary woes.
If Congress adds the burden of additional administrative work to my business, I will not only lose time hunting facts, I will also be diverted from the very work that both makes me happy and pays my bills. I also fear I will lose some clients who will, instead, hire in-house writers. If that were to happen, I would, in turn, have to fire contract workers who now help me with administrative work, house cleaning, and pet sitting.
If, for some reason, I was no longer able to be self-employed at all … well, I simply can’t imagine that option.
Rhiannon Bowman’s company is The Word Trade.
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