Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Does Your Employer Tell You You Can't -- Oh, Let's See -- Work as a Dog Groomer on Weekends?

Again from Lia

At the Yakima Herald-Republic, my editor in chief was in the midst of
revamping the rules for reporters side jobs, freelancing and other

Reporters were encouraged to volunteer in the community or be involved
in unpaid activities (coaching little league, tutoring kids, helping a
local church, etc) but paid activities were different.

When I arrived the only rules were you couldn't use the company's time
or resources for freelance jobs or outside jobs. Plus, you couldn't
work for competitors. Easy.

However, when the rules started to be rewritten the interim rule was
all side jobs and freelance had to be cleared through the editor in
chief to ensure that the work didn't conflict with your job as a
reporter. Our policy wasn't unique. Many newspapers the Ft. Worth
Star-Telegram and other large dailies subscribed to the policy.
This wasn't a big deal for me but some reporters took offense that
their time off the clock had to be cleared with the editor in chief.
So, given that reporters are underpaid and often want to live in
expensive urban playgrounds like San Francisco, Seattle and New York,
should reporters be able to pad their wages with outside projects if
all work is done outside of their day job?

I'd be interested to hear about the policies of other
writers/reporters in the forum to get a sense of how much flexibility
there is in these types of policies.


....J.Michael Robertson said...

The Honorable Nanette Asimov, of the SF Chronicle, says:

Not that they have ever made me aware of and, therefore, I conclude it doesn't exist. And since the freelance work clearance has some logic attached to it -- a no-compete clause, basically -- I would think that requiring any other kind of clearance would not be legal.

And JMR says: When someone starts using the word "legal," it gets interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hey all
hmmmm -- well, I think with this subject, there are the written rules and there are the unwritten.
I think it's expected at most dailies that freelance pieces shouldn't go to immediate competitors or cover a subject your paper would want first dibs on. Nonetheless, I think it's good practice to give your editor a heads up. I did that for a piece that was published in last week's Metro News, San Jose's alt. weekly. of course, the topic was latino punk rock and that's pretty far off the Herald's radar.
However, at my last paper, a gannette property, they allowed freelancing but the unspoken understanding by editors was that if you had time to freelance, you're not doing enough work in the office and it's usually an invitation for more assignments. that happened to me after doing another piece on latino punk rock.
then there's the sleuth's way. a friend of mine's father writes for a well-known and well-respected magazine that I won't name. part of his contract is that he won't freelance. so he doesn't -- under his name. he writes for other publications -- mostly trade or fluff stuff that rakes in the dough -- under a pseudonym. all for the money.
esto es mis dos centavos
george b. sanchez