It’s about time for a Freelancer First agenda.
At Parachute, we know what it’s like to have pitches go unanswered, to edit drafts in complete isolation, to eke out a livelihood on a flimsy income. We know what it’s like to lose a full-time reporting job with benefits, and navigate the frustrating waters of the gig economy. We know all of this is only going to get worse.
Here’s the thing: It’s up to us to change that.
And we can.
With support from the Solutions Journalism Network, we at Parachute are enlisting talented journalists and photographers from across the United States — maybe those like you? — to help further a new on-the-ground media movement for freelancers by freelancers.
It’s why we’re calling for ideas in underreported states, counties and areas, and paying market rates for shoe-leather journalism. In our age of quick-to-post content, newsletter overload, digital over-aggregation and Substack “journalism”, we at Parachute believe that only carefully-produced (and delivered) writing and art will rescue our industry from absolute ruin.
We think so, too.
KINDS OF STORIES WE’RE LOOKING FOR:
- “The man feeding a remote Alaska town with a Costco card and a ship”, The Hustle
- “Fuel, Oxygen and Heat”, Mountain Outlaw
- “Grit and gridiron rescue a town”, CSMonitor
- “Rural Hospitals Are Dying. This One Saved Itself—And Its Community”, TIME
- “RIP Coal. Long Live Coal Country”, Grist
- “This Ohio Paint Production Experiment Creates Art — and Potentially Jobs — From Polluted Mine Sites”, 100 Days in Appalachia
- “A Nazi flag led this Western Mayberry to confront hate once again. Now Fruita aims to send a different message”, Colorado Sun
YOUR STORY IDEA:
- Abides to SJN’s solutions story qualifications. Think: Here’s a societal problem, yet here is someone doing something about it. We reject doom and gloom, yet cover all sides and matters with balanced energy.
- Is a narrative of a captivating character, group or movement. We’re looking for not just the unsung folks New York media has missed, but those who have dramatic, gripping tales worthy of repeat syndication.
- Is reported in-person from an American news desert (those red or yellow areas). We are particularly excited about climate-themed pitches in the following nine states: Texas, Georgia, Idaho, Alaska, Florida, Nebraska, Michigan, Utah and Colorado.
WHO YOU ARE, IDEALLY:
- A writer or photographer based in or near a U.S. news desert. Knowledge of that news desert helps.
- A fan of solutions-style journalism, and one who can write with flair, humor and color—without sounding too pretentious or overusing ten-dollar words.
- A concerned citizen who wants to reverse the downward spiral of local newspapers and shoe-leather reporting.
- A photographer who knows that originality and design matter, especially in our day of iStock over-reliance and iPhone photography. (You know who you are.)
HAVE A GOOD STORY? TELL US:
- Who your main character or group is, and why they’re interesting. Hook us with a colorful introductory paragraph. Convince us with a second paragraph connecting your character(s) to their mission, a particular regional issue, or an upcoming Parachute theme.
- Why is this a solution story? What’s the problem? What’s the response? What are the setbacks? Why isn’t anyone else doing something?
- Who you are. What is your relation to the story’s setting? What’s your experience as a journalist in your state? What are some similar clips you can show us?
OUR ‘FREELANCER FIRST’ AGENDA
Parachute vows to:
- Pay all hired freelancers upon final edits, not 30 or 60 days after a story’s run date. (Yep, that’s right.)
- Treat you like a staff reporter, not a temporary minion barked at through curt lines of email.
- Maintain regular check-ins with you and your story’s progress, via phone or Zoom, whatever is your preference.
Parachute will never:
- Publish your story without your final approval.
- Ghost you, or be ambiguous about your pitch’s approval or story’s run date.
- Reject a story idea based on anything other than our pitch qualifications and editorial expectations.
WHAT WE PAY
$500 for a story of at least 1,500 words.
$100 for a full photographer’s assignment.
READY TO PITCH?
Oh, hey champ.
Yeah, you. Stop Twitter-griping about “the state of our industry.” We want your best ideas how to start making it better. Not worse.
What do you look for in an editor? Do you want to feel like a staff reporter? Or do you just get paid good $$$ on time—and fairly?
Fill the message box with your absolute gems.
We got this.
Based proudly in sunny Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.