In headlines now / 28.12.2017

Google to finance development of Union project

Helsinki (28.12.2017 - Heikki Jokinen) Cooperative Mediakunta received 50,000 euro from the Google fund to develop its business model for the billing work for freelance journalists and media professionals. The Union of Journalists in Finland set up the cooperative Mediakunta in January 2017 to help its members who are working on a gig-basis. The cooperative takes care of billing, pays taxes and other statutory contributions. The idea was to allow Union members to fully focus on what they do best, journalism and media work. So far some 150 Union members have joined the cooperative. Among them are both full time freelancers and those who are employed somewhere else, unemployed or retired and doing some occasional gig work. The collective power of the cooperative has also in many cases helped to increase the level of payment for journalistic work. As this kind of cooperative is something new for the trade unions in Finland, the Union of Journalists in Finland have developed its own tools for billing, web services and administration. In December the Digital News Initiative decided to support this development work to the tune of 50,000 euro. The Initiative is financed by Google and it has 150 million euro to use for digital journalism innovations in Europe. "The financing given by Google is a recognition of our new kind of thinking and fits in with their goals to support newsmedia in the digital era", says Mediakunta Executive Director Maiju Mitrunen at a press release. "Through developing our cooperative they are supporting directly those who are working in the branch." Mitrunen believes that in a couple of years Mediakunta could be sharing its experiences which other countries, too. Read also: Unions are looking for new ways to work: a media cooperative and a music club (08.02.2017)

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