“There’s no guidebook for this” : black freelancers and digital technologies




Eubanks, Patrick Warren

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Freelancing has become increasingly common in a variety of industries due to the continued economic restructuring of post-industrial capitalism. While writing has traditionally been a precarious profession characterized by low pay and intermittent work, once secure forms of employment, such as newspaper work, have experienced a precipitous decline within the past few decades. As the number of writers engaged in standard employment contracts has sharply decreased, an increasing number of individuals must engage in freelance work to earn a living as writers. While all freelance writers face precarity at the hands of digital media outlets due to exploitative and unstable labor and business practices, black freelancers experience distinct forms of precarity, such as a lack of access to professional networks and mentors. This report aims to identify the ways in which digital technologies allow black freelancers to insulate themselves from the risks inherent to the digital media ecosystem, ending with recommendations for education systems, digital media organizations and freelancers seeking to promote equity in digital publishing


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