cover image Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age

Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age

Nicole S. Cohen. McGill-Queen’s Univ. (CDC, U.S. dist.; Georgetown Terminal, Canadian dist.), $34.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-7735-4796-4

Cohen’s debut effectively studies how freelance journalism has changed, and been forced to change, with the advent of the digital age. Using the early days of the Canadian Freelance Union in 2007 as a soft launch point, Cohen examines the historical shifts and present conundrums that have changed freelance journalism from an (ideally) autonomous business model to one rife with underpaid labor, precarity and devaluation of work, and exploitation of society’s most vulnerable—when they’re involved at all. Her approach and theses are intersectionally feminist, and many of her arguments highlight and attack fundamental inequality in the distribution of corporate power: “The perspectives and voices in media are increasingly homogeneous, reflecting the interests of those already in power. In particular, women, people of color, aboriginal people, and working-class people are underrepresented in media industries as journalists, editors, executives, and managers, as well as sources and subjects.” Through interviews and statistical data, and with a healthy bibliography and notes, Cohen has crafted a surprisingly hopeful, decidedly thorough treatise on shifting power structures and business ethics in a field that’s constantly reinventing itself. (Nov.)