Working as a freelance journalist is hard enough, but for a woman it’s even tougher.
That was the consensus of the panelists at a discussion on women in media Tuesday evening, hosted by the women’s group Broadsheet.
Buzzfeed Canada’s managing editor, Lauren Strapagiel moderated the panel discussion with four freelance journalists at Supermarket in Kensington Market.
“We started Broadsheet after the Jian Ghomeshi allegations came out,” Strapagiel told the audience at the beginning. The group was created for women to have a safe space to discuss their careers and offer advice.
Freelance writers ‘need to support each other’
It was an event by women, for women, encouraging women in media to stick together and empower one another in the industry.
Women are often pigeon-holed into writing about issues and topics that relate to them, speakers said.
“Women are often assigned service pieces or parenting articles, opposed to an investigative piece,” freelance journalist Diane Peters said.
Eternity Martis said she often feels like the token black woman in the newsroom. She is often assigned articles making her “the voice of the entire Black community,” she said.
For freelance writers, sending a pitch to a new editor is scary and can create a feeling of impostor syndrome.
Tech writer Takara Smal said she still feels like an impostor when writing for news publications.
“I feel like that all the time,” Smal said. “Often times it’s women rather than men who feel that.”
It all comes down to aggressiveness. Women don’t want to be seen as rude and will be less likely to fight for a story, than their male colleagues, speakers agreed.
Indigenous filmmaker, Candace Maracle learned how to quickly get over hearing the word “No” from editors.
“I’ve gotten pretty used to rejection,” Maracle said.
Freelance writers live assignment to assignment, focusing on the hope that their pitch will get accepted.
“When women in media talk to each other, we empower one another,” Strapagiel said.