Tag Archives: freelance

Rates for the job – will they drop even further?

Update: in writing this post I’ve come up with the idea of a subs’ workshop in digital skills – if you’re familiar with the rates argument, skip to the end of the post to find out more and let me know what you think of this potential skill-sharing idea.

Today on a London freelance subs group/forum I belong to, a row broke out about sub-editor day rates. A well-known music magazine posted a temporary contract, offering a rate of £110 a day. This was followed by general admonishment as the standard day rate is around £130 (and has been unhappily stuck at this level for about a decade).

Unusually, no one spoke up in favour of the contract/rate – normally there is at least one person arguing the defence.

The outraged subs, quite rightly, made sure not to blame the poster but wanted him to communicate that the rate was unacceptably low and suggested that their response be passed up the line to the budget-holders. They also called out for other subs in the group not to accept the rate.

But it is a slim hope.

There is no longer a strong union in journalism and there is no real solidarity over freelance rates.

The bottom line is that some out-of-work freelancer probably snapped up the low-paid contract soon after posting. After all, some work is better than none at all. Food on the table over morals, and all that.

The standard response to these low-rate employment deals is: ‘If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.’ Which is probably true although it’s cold comfort in a self-employed world.

Perhaps media companies are cynically testing the water with lower rates – after all, they are not in business to play fair. Or perhaps they are dealing their own budget pressures – a classic print music magazine is surely facing both falling circulation and shrinking ad revenues.

I’m not trying to sort out the rights and wrongs of today’s rates storm. I’m just wondering where it is all leading. I find myself asking:

Do the rules of supply and demand apply anymore in a world which is undergoing a publishing revolution and a “mass-amateurisation of everything” (Shirky). And is it ultimately inevitable that there is a downward price pressure on print subs’ day rates?

Like rising and falling share prices, there seems to be an upper and lower resistance level to subbing day rates. Today the lower level was breached at £110. But like falling shares in a financial crisis, I worry that this resistance may give way to further falls. We’re not in Kansas anymore.

I don’t know the answers.

Two of the reasons I moved into web editing from sub-editing were the slump in demand for freelance print subs circa 2008 and a rise in the number of awkward situations where I was competing with my long-time subbing friends for work.

I’m happy that traditional market forces are in play for digital content work. There are currently not enough skilled people to service the new world in which everyone is a publisher. (More on that in a post I edited for a content recruiter’s blog on content growth areas and talent shortages: Europe in crisis but digital jobs remain a bright spot.)

All I know is that, when I started freelance subbing in 1989, the rate on my local paper was £65 a day. This jumped up to £110 for consumer mags in 1992, and then plateaued for many years, before rising to £130 around 2000. It’s been stuck there as a base rate ever since.

And this is a freelance rate – with no employee benefits or holiday pay (unless you’re booked on a long contract).

It’s no wonder experienced subs are leaving the profession or are desperate to re-skill and find work in the digital arena.

To this end, I’ve been thinking that there is a workshop in this that I could run to help other freelance subs make the transition. I’ve been working in digital since 2000 and went full-time in 2009. To keep up with the skills, I now train myself each week (using cake – but that’s another story).

I’m also thinking long-term how great would it be to recreate the freelance subs’ community with a connected team of skilled, reliable and readily available freelance digital editors.

If we can find a venue in London (available on a weekend as I live outside of London), and can get a group of up to five subs together, would anyone be interested in attending a low-cost half-day digital skills workshop?

What would you like to know? What are your questions? [Please email me at fionacullinan at hotmail dot com with your details so I can start a list of interested people and find out what they want to learn about.]

It would be great to hear your thoughts.

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Going freelance: an editor’s guide to working for yourself

While this blog is predominantly for and about sub-editors in journalism, my second guest blogger is interesting because she applies her writing and editing skills in a much broader range of markets. Liz Broomfield set up LibroEditing, a proof-reading, editing and writing business in 2009. Here she passes on some hard-earned advice on going freelance to anyone thinking of taking the plunge.

Liz Broomfield.jpgTwo years ago, I decided to set up my own business offering (initially) proofreading and editing services based in the UK. While I’m not an expert on the business side, I have been through those beginning stages, the launch phase and how it works once you’ve started. Here’s what I’ve learnt…

1. BEFORE YOU START
There are quite a few things to ask yourself before you launch a freelance career, for example:

• Do I have useful skills people are prepared to pay for? If you’re already an editor, then yes, you may well have. I had done a fair bit of editing and writing in various jobs, but it didn’t strike me how many different things I could offer until I was running the business. I could have offered more from the start.

• Is there a market for my particular skills, and can I access it? Do you have contacts or colleagues who can help you find freelance work? Think about specialist skills you might have; for example, I have experience working for the UK office of an American company, so I’m able to offer localisation services changing US into UK English and vice versa.

• Can I work from home in isolation? Are you a self-starter who can motivate yourself? If you need people around you, co-working spaces might be an option.

• Can the rest of my life take it? This is really important if you’re thinking of starting your own business while still working. I’ve done that, and there have been times when I’ve had so much of my own work that I’ve had to put off friends, tell my partner he can sit quietly in the corner of my study if he wants to spend time with me, and give up reading for pleasure. Can your social and family life take this?

2. GETTING SET UP
Once you’ve decided to set up on your own, consider the following:

• Online presence. Buy a suitable domain name and set up a web page and email addresses using it. You’ll look more professional and it’s a place to market your work.

• Keeping records. Go on the HMRC course “Becoming self-employed” (or find information in your local library). This will tell you what records to keep so you can do your tax return.

• Register as self-employed. You have to register with HMRC within a certain period after you start working and being paid for it. Phone them up or look on the website – I have found their staff to be really nice and helpful.

• Certificate of Small Earnings Exception. This allows you to earn a certain amount before paying National Insurance and tax so it can be worth registering for this if your freelance income is likely to be minimal at first.

• Business cards. At first you can use somewhere inexpensive like Vistaprint but it’s important to have something to give out to potential clients.

3. ONCE YOU’RE WORKING FOR YOURSELF
If you’ve made it this far, here are my tips for staying on track.

• Prioritising your time is key. Make sure you have time for work, other people and yourself. If you work all hours, you’ll run yourself into the ground. And if you are likely to end up doing lots of little projects…

• Organise your work. I set up a Gantt chart on a spreadsheet – clients down, dates along; then colour in dates that projects are booked in for, when they arrive, when you’ve invoiced, when they’ve been paid.

• Efficient invoicing. Make sure you invoice clients right away after you’ve done the job. Or before, if you work that way round. There’s software you can buy, or you can just set up a Word template.

• Use good tools. Make sure you have up-to-date and legitimate versions of the software you need: Word, InDesign, etc. If you will be editing PDFs, there are free downloads of software that will let you annotate them. If you do transcriptions, again, you can find free software.

• Work for your clients, not yourself. My student customers need me to show edits using Word’s ‘track changes’ function, which enables them to make the decisions on what to change and also means I’m not writing their work for them. Not all clients want this; others just want me to rewrite and send it back to them. Offer them choices but be prepared to make recommendations, too.

• Be flexible and open. I started off as an editor and proofreader. Now I’m also a transcriber, copy typist, writer and localiser. More income streams equals more work.

• Network widely. Try to connect with your peers in the business and other freelancers who work from home, as well as businesspeople in your area. Twitter and Facebook are your friends for finding out what’s going on and networking gets you out of the house and meeting people.

• Know when to outsource. If a task is going to take longer in terms of hours and cost more in terms of work you have to turn down, outsource it. Could someone else transcribe your interview recordings or research, or do your bookkeeping each month, for example?

I hope you find this advice useful. It’s certainly helped me find my way into a happy and rewarding new career, and as someone who didn’t think she was a natural entrepreneur, going freelance has given me more confidence and a wider skill set.

Liz Broomfield runs LibroEditing, a proof-reading, editing and writing business based in Birmingham, UK. For more information see www.libroediting.com or email her at liz@libroediting.com – she also offers transcription and typing services.

ends

RIP Sub-editing: Does email have a hyphen and does anyone care? – pt 3

Well, the end is nigh – both for this RIP Sub-editing series and for my sub-editing career. It is fond farewell time. In this final post, the technology changes again but this time it is taking no prisoners and I ask myself, ‘Do I miss my old job?’ For those on a catch-up, here is RIP subbing part one and RIP subbing part two.

It’s just a series of tubes
In 1995 I went into something called an internet café. It was on Cleveland St in London, and there were computers set up all around the windows. I ‘dialled up’ the internet though I had no idea what that actually meant. Little did I know then that the internet is just a series of tubes! 😉

Google didn’t exist but Hotmail did. Hello email!

Apart from being able to email chief subs with a CV, the nature of subbing changed little in the 1990s. The World Wide Web was over there, work was over here. But it was coming. And in the summer of 2000, my own work life went online.

The journalists are revolting
Personally I was quite keen to join the online revolution, thanks to Matthew Broderick (see why in part one). So I applied for online work.

After a brief spell as Commissioning Editor with Moonpig.com during the dot.com bubble, I realised my heart lay in producing editorial content not commercial greeting cards. (Though really I can’t understand why I’m not personally thanked in How They Started In Tough Times. I’m sure my two months there in May/June 2000 was crucial!)

My first online subbing job was at Freeserve women’s channel – then called icircle.com (now part of Orange). Only I was called a web producer not a sub. It was great. The Web was a modern-day leveller with web editors and producer seen as equally valuable. No more bitchy magazine or newspaper hierarchy.

The software was clunky, though. CHAS, Spectrum and other weirdly named content management systems became the bane of my work life. Work was all about ‘wanking the computer’ rather than mad editing skillz. The database set-up meant endless copying and pasting into little boxes – aka shelf-stacking. It really was dull, dull work.

But the ‘Publish’ button at the bottom was nothing less than astounding – no printing presses or repro houses, just one click and there it was up on site. Unfortunately, working a CMS was not only a bore but a health risk – and my RSI returned.

For fluff’s sake: the rise of client publishing
So I went back to less-frenetic, more refined print in 2002 (while also having fun with Facebook’s predecessors of Friendster and MySpace in my spare time). Print software was faster and more intuitive, and the work was more creative than web-style plain titles, metatag lists and easy-scan copy structure.

Even then, it was 100% employment as a freelance sub. But the best paid work started coming from client publishers through an explosion in contract publishing. Their rates beat even the biggest consumer glossies, so work changed again. Subbing now had to factor in client changes, and arguments arose over their bad grammar and vague, fluffy marketing blurbs.

In 2003/4, InDesign arrived on magazines, kicking QuarkXpress (mostly) into the software dustbin of history.

I got a website – and you don’t have one!
In 2005, web software was also getting smarter. So I got a website, created in DreamWeaver by a friend who was a graphic designer.

It seemed so slick, featuring a world map that readers could click on and interact with to see examples of my travel writing. It seemed to get me more work, too. No more emailed CV to post or download, I just sent a link and introductory paragraph to the chief sub over email. Why trawl through pages of a stiff CV when you can quickly scan a friendly online resumé?

Little did I know that static personal websites were going to be passé within just two years.

Ditch the website, get a blog!
It was around this time that I started getting more writing work. Subbing still made up the bulk of the work but no longer the whole of it. Over time, more creative was needed by the clients, which meant more writing. The subbing-writing balance shifted with the client’s needs.

Meanwhile, Web 2.0 was getting into full swing. In 2007 I wrote three personal blogs – all one-offs and with small, definite audiences in mind. But digital was hotting up as free blog platforms like Blogspot and WordPress broke down the tech barriers to set-up.

Pardon my personal digital explosion
And so, in the downtime of the magazine subs desk, I started blogging. The two blogs I started in 2008 were free WordPress templates, designed to reach a wider audience: there was this one for sub-editors and a travel dress codes blog at What To Wear Where.

I also started several Nings (themed social networks), just y’know because it was there and it was easy, and was asked to kick off  a wiki online style guide for sub-editors via a tweet from the head of Journalism.co.uk on Twitter.

I joined everything from Google Reader to Delicious bookmarks to Guardian Soulmates. I became a DJ on my own Blip.fm radio station. I uploaded photos to Flickr and went on real-life Flickr meets, blending the virtual world into the real one. I live-tweeted a Birmingham council event on Twitter – I couldn’t believe I was being paid to update the news in real time.

You mean you’ll pay me to Tweet?
All this online activity was leading somewhere. I’d work in print by day then go home and play online all night. So it was a relief when, in January 2009, I became a full-time web editor and could do the fun stuff from 9-5, rather than the other way round. I landed the job in that most modern Web 2.0 way: via a friend in a pub messaging a photo and a testimonial on his new iPhone to the head of digital’s iPhone at Seven Squared.

[Aside: I rarely get work the traditional way anymore, ie, through chief sub contacts and subbing colleagues. Mostly they come from Twitter connections and social networking or by meeting up at social media events.]

The big question: Do I miss subbing?
To be honest, although I love copy editing work, I love online content more. So I have to say no, I don’t really miss it. I do miss the subs desk and the people on it.

But sub-editing itself feels kind of one-dimensional now. A singular task of production whereas ‘whatever my new job title is’ involves creating content including text, audio, visual, writing, editing, social media marketing, SEO, brainstorming new ideas and experimenting with new tools.

In some ways I wanted to write down and pay homage to my many years as a non-techie print sub because they are now pretty much over and I feel nostalgia for them. In 2010 my subbing days feel a very long way away.

How easy is it to transfer skills to online?
Well, it’s an ongoing process, a learning curve and quite a career swerve. After years of knowing exactly what I’m doing, it’s kind of freeing to go back to basics, and be able to play and make mistakes and learn new stuff again.

It also feels good to be in a medium that is expanding rather than in print media, which is contracting. There is a positive vibe that is no longer there for me in print and the future seems more certain here as budgets move online. It is also busier than ever. And once again something of an RSI risk.

Tech is changing so fast, how to keep up?
Well, right now, I’m on a train pulling into New Orleans [note: or I was when I was writing this], on a railroad trip to SXSW Interactive festival – the world’s premier web conference – in Austin, Texas.

In the next week, I’ll undergo a five-day download of information and expertise from the world’s leading digital thinkers and practitioners. Next stop for me in keeping up my skills is moving towards content strategy as well as content creation. Curation also interests me. And video work. And possibly passing on this knowledge to others.

But enough already. At 2,500-plus words here, I’m sure no one’s even got this far so it’s time for me either to wind up or ask a sub-editor to cut the crap out of this behemoth. If anyone has any questions about how to make the jump to online, or anything about subbing itself, then feel free to get in contact.

Future posts will undoubtedly be shorter, less rambling, less punny, more SEO-friendly… in other words, normal online service will resume shortly.

R.I.P Sub-editing 1987-2008

RIP Sub-editing: the rise of technology – pt 2

Continuing on from yesterday’s intro on a farewell to my former life in sub-editing, here’s a bit about who sub-editors are, what they do (did?) and how they do (did) them… with a particular look at the changing tools of the trade. But first a picture of my old kit, dredged out of the attic for your viewing pleasure.

typewriter typescale wheel proofmarks

A colon of sub-editors (or should that be a semi-colon?)
Most people don’t seem to know the copy editing role even exists beyond perhaps a cursory proofread. ‘What! You mean the press actually checks things?’ But I kid you not. Checking, revising, headling, captioning, styling and generally sorting out copy was my full-time job for around 20 years.

I’m assuming most of the people reading this blog are subs. But just in case, for those who don’t know what sub-editing or copy editing is, it essentially involves all those tasks that take place between the writer’s raw copy and the final publishing.

Most are corrections, amends or refinements of copy, some tasks involve fact-checking or legal queries. With online work there is the addition of SEO, metadata, hyperlinking, categorising, tagging and chunking copy.

Sub-editing is also called subbing in the UK and copy-editing in the US. Which makes for annoying SEO – in this blog anyway.

proofing marks

British Standard proofing marks - proofreading is sort of like sub-editing on galleys or page proofs. © Periodical Training Council training material

Dirigible submarines
For online work, I’m using the term ‘digi sub’, probably also because it crosses dirigible and submarine in my head. But mainly because it’s a faster, easier way to indicate a sub-editor with digital skills.

The trouble is, the universal language of job titles hasn’t caught up with technology. Maybe the job role doesn’t even exist anyway.

Traditional sub-editing (and proofreading, see pic left), for me anyway, has all but disappeared, shrunk into a task within a wider set of tasks, disappearing under the weight of new roles, new technologies and job titles like web editor, producer, content person, content strategist, email editor, SEO writer, etc.

It’s no wonder I have trouble answering the ‘what do you do’ question these days.

This next section makes me feel old
Since I started subbing in 1987, technology has advanced rapidly. I’ve gone from subbing on paper through the revolution of desk-top publishing and onto the Web. Feel free to skip the nostalgia trip… but the following were once the tools of my trade.

In 1986 I remember running around the many floors of the Elephant and Castle skyscraper that housed the London College of Printing (now Communication), trying to find a hugely heavy and ancient Imperial Corona 55 typewriter to produce an article to deadline on.

Val Clark, the fearsome feature-writing tutor, was a scary hack, famous for her slicked-back power ponytail and crimson lips. She wanted 200 words in 20 minutes – and she didn’t give a fig about providing you with the ‘technology’ to produce them. No excuses. No obstacles. If you failed, you missed the deadline and therefore were no journalist. Her best lesson was tenacity!

We learnt shorthand at 100 words a minute using a pen and reporter’s notebook.

I had a rubbish mini tape recorder that sped up progressively until my interviewees sounded like they were Pinky & Perky. I also had a Silver Reed typewriter (which I still have – see pic!) – my pride and joy – that cost £79.99 from WH Smith in 1987, and a wodge of carbon copy paper.

page scheme

Scheme of a layout from my Periodical Journalism training notes © Periodical Training Council.

Sub-editing and proofreading were carried out using red pen and printer’s proofing marks – brief hieroglyphic instructions that the printers used to amend copy. A typescale and photo wheel (aka ‘Reproduction computer’ – which always tickled me as it was essentially two bits of plastic stuck together) completed the kit if you were doing layout too, which I was. All of these can be seen along with my trusty (dusty) typewriter in the picture at the top of the post.

Oh look! A page! On the screen!
Around 1988, computers were creeping into the magazine and newspaper production process. You produced your own galleys of body copy. How exciting! Seeing actual print pasted onto the layout (the design was still done by pencil and typescale ruler).

PageMaker and QuarkXpress page layout software arrived around 1990 and, with them, design by mouse. No more casting off characters or guess work for the sub; a headline was now WYSIWYG and a little red X icon signalled overmatter to cut

As time and software moved on, those with Quark skills got the work, while PageMaker subs began to languish. I learnt the lesson – you had to keep up with technology.

Desktop publishing = copy fiddling = repetitive strain injury
Discovering kerning and tracking was a satisfying moment. How neat we could now make the copy look – without squeezing a line beyond ‘-3’, of course (whatever that meant).

All the tweaking and endless opportunities for correction, as well as the lack of knowledge about ergonomics and how to sit and compute for 8 hours, gave me the modern version of Scrivener’s Palsy: RSI, repetitive strain injury. I was 22 and unable to work for a year.

Still, it was a boom time for subs. Throughout the 90s, there seemed to be new mag and newspaper launches every other month. The software was further refined and delineated: subs needed Word and Quark; designers Quark, PhotoShop and Illustrator.

Next (bear with me, it’s an epic but I promise LOLcats): The internet arrives and changes everything.

LOLcat

LOLcats changes evryfing. © Kitty de Medici/Flickr

RIP Sub-editing 1987-2008 – pt 1

Everyone has an indulgent, epic blog post in them and this is mine: a look back and a farewell to my 21 years of sub-editing.

I started this blog when the print industry was starting to really fall apart 18 months ago. I wanted to put down some of the funny things that happen on the subs desk, some of the issues that we had to deal with.

Instead it quickly turned into a personal transit lounge for crossing over to digital work. How did this happen? This is that story…

matthew broderick

Image: © @tnarik/Flickr

Thankyou Matthew Broderick!

My love of computers can be traced back to a teenage crush on Matthew Broderick who nerded his way though both Thermo-Nuclear War in War Games and bunking off school in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

This led me into the school computer room in the 80s, internet cafés in the 90s, a job with Freeserve in 2000, Friendster in 2002, blogging in 2008, and web editing in 2009.

In between all of this, the one constant was my work as a sub-editor. Demand was high and more often than not I was booked for weeks or months ahead of time. They were golden days for The Freelance Sub.

Even through the recession of the early 90s, there was work – albeit in the unhealthy, correction-heavy world of TV listings.

You’ll always need correct spelling (maybe)
But things got seriously shaky during the recession of 2008/9 as the increasing impact of the internet on advertising revenues finally seemed to wake newspapers up to their crumbling revenue model. Entire sub-editing departments were sacked, outsourced or cut back (Telegraph, City AM to name but two) as print budgets dried up.

Meanwhile, the diligent fact-checking sub-editor was also facing a new Web-first world where correct spelling, fact-checking, pun headlines and copy-fitting were becoming increasingly redundant, post-moderated or deprioritised.

Still, I hung on to my safe, traditional sub-editing role for as long as I could. And in the downtime of the monthly magazine subs desk, I started a blog.

You would blog too if it happened to you
Little did I know that blogging was going to change everything.

For one thing, I started social networking with people beyond my Myspace/Facebook pool of friends and family. For another, I met my lovely partner Pete Ashton who was teaching me to blog at his weekly blog surgeries held in a Birmingham coffee shop.

My relationship with Web 2.0 was also taking off. The progression went something like this: a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account, a Flickr account and a Tumblr. Then came the ‘IRL’ meet ups with my new virtual friends and signing up for Web unconferences.

It was a whole ’nother world, one that you only had access to if you were engaged with it. Socially and with half an eye on the future, it made sense and felt right. Online felt expansive while print now felt reductive.

Twitter became my personal recommendation engine. It pushed interesting and new ideas at me through links and blog posts. It was thanks to Twitter that I decided to send myself to South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, held in March each year. Nothing else had changed their life / career / outlook as much as going to SXSW.

Digital skills: I can haz them?
As my print work dried up, I started to get small jobs from my engagement with an online network that was just a few weeks old. One memorable job came from discovering a Twitter contact was in my local Coop. We tweeted. We met in the wine aisle. He offered me work writing on a new website. As you do.

Digital skills combined with old-school editorial experience were in demand. I landed a contract with a digital agency and soon found myself working on blogs, wikis, ezines and SEO features. It was liking starting all over again.

Suddenly sub-editing was something I had to outsource to other subs because I was too busy doing something called ‘web editing’ or ‘social media copywriting’ or whatever the task of the day was. Only there weren’t any digital subs out there so suddenly I found myself having to teach the little that I knew to print subs.

For a while now I’ve been giddy with how much my work life has shifted in just two years. The last 12 months in particular have involved a complete reinvention of my career. Am I even a journalist anymore? Mostly I would say no, although I still use the skills of the trade. Sub-editing still happens, but the skills have had to be revised and expanded, and the amount of time to sub has been slashed. At least the online medium is, by its instant-publish nature, more forgiving of a typo.

Next… part two: sub-editing and the rise of technology

Freelancing in the nude?

Cronewynd/Flickr

Nice tablecloth. Pic: Cronewynd/Flickr

Was bemused to listen to the awful Freelance National Anthem – but think the endline is wrong. Freelance writers have the the joy of working in pyjamas. Working ‘in the buff’ is just plain wrong. Or am I being naive?

What do you wear when working from home? And, less contentiously, what time do you get dressed?

Maybe the writer just couldn’t find a rhyme for pyjamas…

Pay-as-you-go subbing – or whatever it’s called these days

So… yet more subs are being made redundant at both Trinity Regional Mirror and Express Group. Cue a raft of justification pieces on how these skills are not defunct but needed more than ever, and how outlets are making the same old ‘classic error’ – cheers New Statesman! But alas…

…thanks to the lovely internet, history may not be about to repeat itself. In fact, thanks to the fecking internet, me and my fellow subs may actual be becoming a dying breed.

Still there is a seachange of remediation at work here that cannot be ignored, in the same way that scroll writers couldn’t ignore the printing press, much as I’m sure they tried. Traditional models of organisation for publishing aren’t working (as profitably) as before, hence the layoffs and the cutting of the budget. But the skills aren’t redundant – they are just shifting. For me, as predominantly a magazine sub, the entire focus is shifting. I’m now combining writing, subbing, repurposing and conceptualising, whereas before, these were all discrete tasks. In fact, my freelance work used to be 90% sub-editing, 10% freelance writing. This has just about done a complete reversal in recent years, thanks to the internet and a multi-tasking environment. I suspect the task of subbing will remain but the title of sub will disappear.

In which case… rather than being hired to sit in an office on a subs desk doing an eight-hour shift for a publisher on a casual contract, perhaps homeworking is at last becoming an option. So I’m going to test the water and offer pay-as-you-go subbing, and if there are any takers, I’ll be offering top-ups from my wi-fi beach hut in Barbados. I mean if you need the copy cutting, the checks doing, the headlines writing, the legal once-over et al and the deadline is looming but you’ve sacked all your ‘subs’ and don’t have enough online/print multi-taskers on site then… who ya gonna call?