ON YOUR OWN

The Perils of Freelancing

A chilling side-effect of the news industry's collapse is increasing danger for reporters. The New York Times points out that as international coverage by major news outlets has declined, small Web start ups and freelance reporters have risen to fill the gap. These small news outlets lack resources to extricate their reporters from international situations that go awry, as with Current TV's Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who have been sentenced to 12 years hard labor in North Korea. The Times points out that large, established news ventures have leverage with foreign governments, including diplomatic and military contacts and access to important channels of publication. Is it any surprise that The Committee to Protect Journalists found that, in 2008, 56 of the 125 jailed journalists worked for online media, and 45 of the total were freelancers?