Weekly Wrap: Freelance & Creative News

Freelancers Getting $9.4 Million From Digital Lawsuit

Checks have been mailed to freelance writers in the landmark class-action lawsuit that’s often called “Freelance” but is formally known as In Re Literary Works in Electronic Databases.

The case, which has been in litigation for about 17 years, involves freelance writers who sued a group of publishers after a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruling made it official that publishers can’t redistribute freelancers’ works in electronic products without a contract.

Now, 2,494 writers are set to receive checks totaling $9,456,000. Plus, the defendants are also responsible for paying attorneys’ fees and costs of about $3.9 million and claims administration expenses of $889,000, reported Publisher’s Weekly.

Although the original settlement amount was for $18 million, we’re still going to toast to this as a victory.

Amazon Releases Small Business Report

Amazon released its first Small Impact Business Report, and it reveals that small and medium businesses are a major part of Amazon’s bankroll. There are over a million small and medium businesses selling on Amazon in the U.S. alone.

The data also show that half of all items purchased on Amazon come from small and medium-sized businesses. Those businesses have created over 900,000 jobs worldwide. And, of the small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon, over 20,000 surpassed $1 million in sales in 2017.

NY Times’ Subscribers and Ads Down

In the first quarter of 2018, the New York Times only added 139,000 digital subscribers compared to 348,000 during that time last year. NYT cut back on discounts and some subscribers didn’t renew, says Craig Huber of Huber Research.

The New York Post also reported that NYT‘s ad revenues fell, with the steepest declines witnessed in digital advertising. And, CEO Mark Thompson says the company expects more in digital ad revenue this quarter.

According to the article, the NYT is portraying optimism about its overall results for the year, but it’s really sad to watch this media outlets struggles. If you’re a freelance photographer or writer and you’ve been in the game for a while, you know that’s a publication that used to sit at the top of freelancers’ wish list.

Photographer To Bike Over 4,000 Miles

On May 1, Nevada-based photographer Jeff Ross kicked off a bike ride across the U.S. to celebrate his 60th birthday. The journey, which will span over 4,200 miles, began in Yorktown, VA and will end in Florence, OR around July 31.

Ross is photographing and documenting his journey. Follow along if you like. If not, still raise a toast to Jeff because that’s effen awesome! (Yes, this is our second drink already.)

Twitter Unmasks Passwords

Twitter is advising users to change their passwords because of a bug that caused the platform to store passwords in an “unmasked” form.

“Normally, sensitive personal data like passwords would be stored in hashed form using a mix of letters and numbers to protect the content of the password itself,” explains TechCrunch.

Twitters says there’s “no reason to believe password information ever left Twitter’s system,” meaning they want you to remain calm, feel safe and view changing your password solely as a precautionary measure.

Denver Post Editor Resigns

Chuck Plunkett was the Denver Post‘s editorial page editor until this week when he resigned. The paper didn’t publish an editorial he wrote criticizing its parent company, Alden Global Capital. “So I took a walk in the rain and wrote a letter of resignation,” he told the Denverite.

Plunkett and the editorial board had already published one critical editorial and eight opinion pieces about Alden, which is blamed for subjecting the paper to “years of brutal cuts.” But apparently Plunkett had more to say and since he couldn’t, he quit.

“It’s a tragedy what Alden Global Capital is doing to its newsrooms and what it’s doing to the Denver Post. It’s just… it’s an act of apostasy to our profession and I could no longer abide it,” he said.

Plunkett, you definitely get props for your cahunas. No doubt. But, readers, is this like going to someone’s party and wanting to post how awful it is on their Facebook page and when you can’t, you storm out? Or no?

No Nobel Prize For Literature in 2018

There will be no Nobel Prize for Literature awarded this year due to allegations against photographer Jean-Claude Arnault. He’s reportedly accused of harassment and assault by at least 18 women and groping Sweden’s crown princess, at an Academy event.

Arnault has “close ties” to the organization, which believes if they issue an award, the “decision will not be perceived as credible.” Next year, they are supposed to issue two rewards for literature, says Slate.

Journalist Wins Award, Facing Charges

Journalist Justin Brake won the 20th annual Press Freedom Award for coverage of the impact that the contentious Muskrat Falls hydro project had on Canada’s Indigenous people.

The award is presented by the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom in partnership with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO to a journalist or media organization that has done the most for media freedom in the preceding year, says The Globe and Mail.

But although that work earned Brake an award, he’s facing civil contempt charges and criminal charges of mischief and disobeying a court order because he allegedly entered the Muskrat Falls hydro project with protestors in 2016.

When you’re so passionate about your hustle that you’re willing to quit your job or face charges, that’s toast-worthy too. So, Plunkett and Brake, toast #3 is for you!

87 Years Later Zora Neale Hurston Book Is Published

Author Zora Neale Hurston published the highly acclaimed novel, Their Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937. But she completed a non-fiction book called Barracoon in 1931 that no one would publish. It tells the story of Cudjo Lewis, the last survivor of the last known slave ship from Africa, which landed illegally in the US in 1860.

Amistad, an imprint of Harper Collins, will release it on May 8, reported Quartz.

Self-Published Novel Attracts Movie Rights

Scott Bergstrom’s debut novel, The Cruelty, earned him a six-figure deal for North American rights and Paramount snatched up the film rights.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, Bergstrom’s self-published young adult thriller began generating buzz at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, which led to the attention of from Hollywood. Now, the thriller has sold to 16 territories.

Fiverr Launches Elevate For Freelancers

Fiverr introduced Elevate, a two-prong service to help freelancers better manage their business.

The first thing Elevate does is offer video courses on relevant topics, such as managing cash flow, running your business more efficiently, company formation, retirement and taxes. The second thing it does is offer discounts on services from “hand-selected” companies that can help you with those issues, a video on the Small Business Trends website explains.

What Else is New?

PageChaser.com is a “bookish” community with editorials, listicles recommending books, book-related news, author Q&As and an audio platform.


PhotoALBM.com, a “YouTube-like photo-sharing platform” for photographers and enthusiasts has launched. It’s reportedly driven by artificial intelligence, and therefore, is supposed to be “smart, well organized, fun, and easy to use” for those setting up a portfolio or navigating the site.

It seems like it’s free. If you try it, let us know if it lives up to its description.

Running From The Devil, a graphic memoir by Steven Kissing, is about his childhood hallucinations, which he thought were demonic possessions but they were actually seizures.

Schedule It

May 2-6:

Superfine! Art Fair is being held in New York’s Meatpacking District. It’s supposed to have 75 global exhibitors and over 2,000 “well-priced” works from 200 artists.

Sorry you’re hearing about this mid-way through the event. But it ain’t over and you can still catch events like art-paired happy hours and Girls Night Out on Saturday. Tickets range $12 to $85.

May 15:

Bundyville, a seven-part series about “the rise, fall and resurgence of the Bundy family, the armed uprisings they inspired and the fight over the future of the American West.” It’s hosted and reported by award-winning freelance journalist Leah Sottile.

You can find it on NPR One, Apple Podcasts or other podcast platforms. Accompanying feature stories will be on here on Longreads.

And that is your Weekly Wrap folks!

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‘Til next week!