external “Freelancing on the Battlefield: What Price are We Paying for Our News?”

— Tala Basheer ElIssa at International Political Forum

Freelance journalism is becoming increasingly prominent in conflict news reporting. [...] only 4 percent of journalists who were killed in the year 2000 were freelancers, while the number dramatically rose to 27 percent by 2012. There are two main reasons for the increase. Firstly, the introduction of cheap modern technologies and social media has tempted journalists to work independently, freeing themselves from any imposed requirements. Secondly, news organizations are encouraging freelancing because they are deemed to be more convenient and cheaper alternatives to staffers. News sources don’t have the same responsibilities towards freelancers as they do to staffers: you can’t order your reporter to risk their life for a story, but freelancers can make that choice first and pitch the story second.

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  • bob cooley

    Great piece, especially for someone so young in their career.

    The risks posed by inexperienced freelancers (conflict tourists) outweigh the small amount of coverage created by them in these zones – An inexperienced freelancer has a much higher likelihood of getting themselves, or others killed in the field. And it makes a more hostile environment for staffers and experience conflict photographers and journalists.