The Weekly Wrap: Creative & Freelance News

New York Daily News Makes Cuts

This week, the New York Daily News announced the paper is slashing its news staff in half.

This is said to reduce the newsroom to about 45 people, and those who remain will be focusing breaking news about “crime, civil justice and public responsibility,” the Washington Post says a staff memo revealed.

As in other places, New York City has an ever-shrinking news industry, and at the current level, there’s barely enough reporters to cover the Bronx and Queens, much less the entire city, according to WaPo.

And although NYC is home to many of the country’s broadcast, cable, and digital news providers, their focus is primarily national and international news. That has some people worried about the deeper effects of fading local news.

Editor in chief Jim Rich was among those who found out he was losing his job at the News. He tweeted:

Elon Musk Causes Writer to Quit

A writer and Tesla critic on Seeking Alpha who goes by the name Montana Skeptic announced that he was going to stop writing for the site and deactivate his Twitter account after Elon Musk contacted his boss.

Apparently, Musk decided it was time for a man-to-man, but instead of having it with the writer, he went to the boss man. Montana Skeptic says Musk has never contacted him directly.

Musk reportedly told the boss that he would sue Montana Skeptic.

Montana Skeptic works for a family office, and according to his profile, he’s managing a portfolio that exceeds $1 billion. He says he isn’t sure how Musk found out who he was or exactly what was said in the conversation.

He says he would have no problem vigorously defending himself if Musk were to come after him legally. He says he doesn’t believe the Tesla CEO would have a valid claim, and the only reason he responded the way he did was to protect his employer and keep his job.

*I don’t know that Montana Skeptic is male but since his profile icon is Galileo Galiliei, I went with it.*


Photographer Rick Day Accused of Sexual Assault, Again

Last week, The Advocate reported that two male models were accusing photographer Rick Day of sexual assault. This week, The Advocate says models Michael and Zach Zakar, aka the Zakar Twins, claim they were assaulted too.

In the article last week, Pall said in 2007, when he 19, Day coerced him into taking erotic pictures. He said Day oiled him up, later masturbated him, and told him to ejaculate on his face. He says the experience “robbed” him as he was a virgin.

Braden alleges that Day also oiled him up for a shoot and later became physically aggressive, pinning him to a wall and touching his anus. He was 18 and also a virgin. Telling Day that was apparently what got him to calm down.

According to the Zakar twins, Day separated them during a 2016 photo shoot, exposed his penis, and tried to force them to perform oral sex. In 2017, the brothers released the video titled “The Harsh Truths of Modeling” and it tells the story of a sleazy photographer that they call “Dick Ray.” Now, they reveal that they were really talking about Rick Day.

If you want to hear, how it went down, go for it. (The story begins about 5:58.)

In messages confirmed by the Advocate, Day wrote to Zach and said he thought everything that happened was consensual. He cites an email the Zakar twins sent him after the photo shoot where they described it as an “absolute pleasure.”

“I remember you guys as sweet and as flirtatious as I was,” writes Day. “I am sorry I caused you guys any pain. I was not aware that that was how you left feeling.”

Alex Jones YouTube Channel Gets a Strike

Alex Jones’ Infowars YouTube channel received a strike for violating child endangerment and hate speech policies.

Four videos linked to the strike were removed from YouTube. Two reportedly had hate speech related to Muslims, one was transphobic, and the other showed a child pushed to the ground by a man and was titled “How to prevent liberalism, says TechCrunch.

With the strike, the Infowars channel is barred from live streaming for 90 days. According to YouTube’s policy, if a channel receives three strikes within three months, the channel will be deleted.

Photographer’s Work Sparks Outrage

Alessio Mamo, an award-winning Italian photographer, posted pictures from his “Dreaming of Food” series on the World Press Photo’s Instagram page. Although the images have received over 20,000 likes, many people were outraged.

The images were shot in rural villages in India. And the children who have their hands over their eyes are dreaming of food. According to Mamo, the fancy spread of fake food in front of them is meant to show contrast between a typical Western table with luxurious food in a poor context.

The idea behind the project, which was developed in 2011, was to discourage food waste.

According to NPR, Amitabh Behar, the CEO of Oxfam India says the “intent was right, to shock people into making the right choice of not wasting food.” But he still criticized the work as “mocking poverty.”

Mamo said that the people photographed were not hungry, sick and all freely participated. Still, some pushed back. Indian photojournalist Hairi Adivarekar said consent in the West and India is different. “This is poor journalism and even poorer humanity,” she commented.

“I’m glad the majority of your followers agree that this is wrong. Fuck this photographer and his fake food for pure exploitation, ” wrote @adamtphotos, an account belonging to Adam Trovao Photography.

Mamo published a long explanatory statement, (which you can read here) and says he has never published the work in a magazine or received any award or money for it. The only goal was to send a provocative message about wasting food.

“Maybe it did not work at all, maybe I did it in the wrong way, but I worked honestly and respectfully with all the people involved,” he wrote. “I’m always open to be criticised in my work, but I have never in my life felt hate like the comments directed at me in recent days.”

CNN Reporter Pisses Trump Off, Gets Barred From Event

CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins was reportedly barred from a Rose Garden event Wednesday for asking questions President Trump didn’t like.

Earlier in the day she asked questions about Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen and Russian President Vladimir Putin. She was later disinvited to the evening event.

That night, Brett Bair of Fox News read an a statement from CNN. And among other things, it said, “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better.”

Baier also made it clear that Fox is standing with CNN. And if you can’t believe what you’re hearing, you can watch it go down.

Sudanese Journalist Could Face Death

Journalist and campaigner for human rights Wini Omer is facing charges of prostitution and violating public morals. The prostitution charges can carry a lengthy sentence.

At a hearing Tuesday, she was informed that she may also be slapped with charges of spying against the government and communications against the state, which could bring the death penalty

Omer was arrested in February when police burst into a meeting with her, another woman and two men. Most mixed social gathering is prohibited under the country’s public order act, says The Guardian.

Omer says her case is a message to activists. It’s an attempt to say, “You should be mindful and careful and not to cross the boundaries, we are watching you. And by the law, we can arrest you. They are trying to make us behave, she said.”

Research Reveals Rife Gender Bias In Booker Prize Shortlists

The Man Booker Prize has been awarded annually for works of fiction since 1969. IBM’s India Research Lab looked at works shortlisted for the award over that 50-year period, which included 275 works, and found pervasive gender bias.

The research revealed a trend of stereotypes related to items such as occupations, introductions, and actions.

For example, a Quartz chart, the revealed that the three most common occupations for men were:

  • 1) Doctor/physician/surgeon/psychologist
  • 2) Professor /scientist
  • 3) Business/ director

The top three occupations for women:

  • 1) Teacher/lecturer
  • 2) Nurse
  • 3) Whore or hooker

Male characters are mentioned twice as much as their female counterparts, and since they’re generally more pivotal to a story’s plot they get more attention in story descriptions.

Whereas men were most often associated verbs like “affirms, foresees and encounters,” the verbs most linked to women were “falls, loves, believes, worships, and fears.”

Quartz says 31 men and 16 women have won the award.

Disabled Boy Writes Book With His Eyes

Jonathan Bryan suffers from severe cerebral. He can’t physically write, and he can’t talk, according to CNN. But, the 12-year-old has written a book titled Eye Can Write, a memoir about his life with the disease

Bryan wrote the book with his eyes using an E-Tran frame, which is also what he uses to communicate. The transparent board allows him to select letters with his eyes and the the viewer can follow along as he spells.

It took Bryan a year to complete Eye Can Write. He says he wanted to do it for people like him. “I am a voice for the voiceless,” he told CNN.

The Briefs


Google is rolling out Smart Compose for Gmail. The feature autocompletes sentences for you. It’s most useful for greetings, addresses and finishing relatively standard phrases. But over time, the system learns more about how you write and what you write, getting to know things such as people’s names, your favorite phrases and your jargon, reported TechCrunch.

Upwork reportedly filed to go public on the down-low. The platform links freelancers and clients, and although there are no specifics on what that will change for freelancers, Inc. says when you get more shareholders involved and the focus is on profit taking, that usually means things will never be exactly the same.

Turkey blocked Google’s entire Blogger platform on Tuesday because of a typo. A court issued an order intending to block one blog but in the ruling there was a “@” instead of a “.” in the URL, leading to the mix-up

The error was corrected and service resumed within hours. But Twitter users reported that the blog that was supposed to be blocked was still available as of July 26.

Creative jobs are less likely to be lost to automation, according to Israeli historian and author Yuval Harari, whose fans include Barack Obama and Bill Gates.

A lot of jobs will disappear, especially the more monotonous or repetitive ones,” Harari told CNBC earlier this month. But, “jobs that require a higher degree of creativity will be safer — at least in the short term,” he said.

Freelance writer and editor Alex Fasulo published the e-book Freelancing on Fiverr: How I Made 6-Figures in Less Than 6-Months, a self-help guide for mastering the Fiverr platform. Fasulo was featured in a CNBC article about her financial success and she says it earned her recognition that prompted this book, says STL News.

Save The Date

July 30:

Indian journalist and commentator Karen Thaper’s latest book The Devil’s Advocate: The Untold Truth is expected to be released.

The memoir features Thaper’s “incisive style” and covers stories ranging from his childhood to encounters with individuals he’s met in the course of his career. (You can pre-order the book with the link above.)

Aug. 2-5:

Adidas will set up a temporary creative studio in Brooklyn called Factory 55.

There will be public workshops and open lab sessions led by local artists, musicians and designers. Highsnobiety says there will be seminars including zine and poster making, a neighborhood photography session, a “how-to” tutorial on silk-screening T-shirts, and more. Plus, there will be retail space for creatives with something to sell.

Here’s more info if you want to attend.


Mad magazine will launch on Snapchat with daily dose of content that includes GIFs, memes, slide shows, and interactive lists, reported Variety.

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