News / 25.02.2011

Working at half pay

Many freelance journalists are dissatisfied with the fee level in Keskisuomalainen, paying only 200 euros for a day’s work instead of over 400 euros recommended by the journalists union. Deputy Chief Editor Inkeri Pasanen in an interview said that she considers the fee level fair.

“Fees are always negotiated before hand with writers. If someone is dissatisfied then the person has to honestly say it. It is not worth starting a story if one has a prior feeling that the fee is small”, she said.

As a newspaper Keskisuomalainen is doing well financially. Wouldn’t the paper have sufficient money to pay the recommended fee in the sector?

“I really wish that all those who are dissatisfied would come personally for a discussion at the office”, says Pasanen.

Even though Keskisuomalainen sells the stories of freelance journalists onwards to other newspapers in Central Finland, Pasanen says in spite of that freelancers should not be paid extra.

“We don’t always know whether a story would be published in other newspapers. The same copyrights apply to our journalists as well as freelancers. The fee is agreed between the one who commissions the story and the freelancer, it is always a question of agreement. There cannot be any fixed salary table to be followed”, she says.

It is also not possible to increase the fee based on whether a story has been elsewhere because it is difficult to administer. “Should the fee of a freelance be reduced in a corresponding situation if the story is not published elsewhere?”, Pasanen asks.

When it was pointed out to Pasanen that the sector has clearly agreed fees for work done, she says, “You have your own model. We use freelancers on very different basis, so we always agree on fees differently”.

On short term contract

In October last year, Inkeri Pasanen wrote in a column that short-term contracts should not be accepted without justification. When asked if there were people in Keskisuomalainen on short-term contracts, she answered no. “We are very particular on this but we have many short-term contract workers due to the fact that there are for family reasons, several people on study leave as well as 12 members of staff with shortened working days on their own choice”.

When it was pointed out that one worker in Keskisuomalainen was on continuous short-term contract for five years and whether that was justified, Pasanen said:

“No but in a big media house it sometimes happens that the same person have several continuous short-term contracts the basis of which changes. If the person is a good worker then we use him or her repeatedly. It is not perhaps wrong to offer someone a continuation of his or her contract if the person is good and competent”.

When asked whether the fact that a person is competent is not then a good reason to make his position permanent?

 “The train of events has been necessary because there has been a reason. I don’t see anything wrong with using the same person at the different times to relief two different people on maternity holiday”, says Pasanen.

 If after five years of repeated short-term contracts a journalists doesn’t get a permanent position, then she or he can leave on her own accord to look for work elsewhere in media, says Pasanen.


Translated and edited by Linus Atarah

Original story:

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