There have been a number of attempts to understand the scope of “the gig economy.” But things are complicated. For one, there’s no real standard terminology: what one study calls “the gig economy,” another refers to as “nonstandard employment,” and a third uses “alternative work.”
If you’re a freelance writer, the majority of your editors are probably male and the majority of your colleagues are probably female. That’s not just an anecdotal generalization.
The American Society of News Editors (ASNE)’s latest report showed that, on average, women make up only 37 percent of newsroom staffs and hold only 35 percent of supervisor roles. Yet women account for approximately 73 percent of journalism grads and constitute about 70 percent of enrollees in MFA programs in the U.S, according to a report from the Women’s Media Center.
As traditional salaried writing careers become rarer, both former newsroom staffers and journalistic greenhorns alike are diving in to the world of freelancing. For some it’s by choice, but for up to two-thirds, it’s circumstance.
For women, pushed to the margins of the media industry, freelancing is often the only way forward—and, not surprisingly, wages have come to reflect the gender gap.
When I first contacted Jan Pape, the skepticism in his voice was palpable.
A farmer of domesticated American mink (Neovison vison) since 2001, he’s used to having his work sensationalized in the public sphere with some regularity. So asking to come to his farm with a Nikon in hand meant I had to build a modicum of trust.