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Get Involved

There are lots of way to help, whether you are a writer, editor, reader, or just someone who cares about the cultural sector. As a starting point, why not follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook group.

For Writers

  • Don’t sign the contract, and don’t work for Transcontinental publications. You can read a list of them here.
  • Encourage your fellow writers to do the same.
  • Contact any editors you work with at Transcontinental and explain, in a professional manner, that this contract takes far too many rights without offering adequate compensation. Ask if they can help push for their organization to come to the table and work with writers to develop a contract that works for everyone.
  • Ask friends and family to not buy Transcontinental publications.
  • Write your local MP to tell them that you don’t support giving federal magazine funding to a company that refuses to treat Canadian writers fairly.
  • Send us an email explaining why you choose to not write for Transcontinental. We might publish it on the site.
  • Write or blog about the campaign.
  • Follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook group, and help spread the word.

For Supporters

  • Cancel your Transcontinental subscriptions, or stop buying their newspapers and magazines. Ask friends and family to do the same.
  • Write or blog about the campaign.
  • Follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook group, and help spread the word.
  • Write your local MP to tell them that you don’t support giving federal magazine funding to a company that refuses to treat Canadian writers fairly.
9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2009 5:11 pm

    Brilliant idea. Thank you all for undertaking this monumental task. All TC subscriptions canceled in support and I’ll be asking friends and family to support me as a writer and all of you as well by boycotting these publications.

  2. Frank Martinez permalink
    November 7, 2009 1:28 pm

    Too bad this site won’t allow comments that are contrary to their singular mission and reveal simple truths that illustrate how narrow minded and insignificant this whole issue really is…

    • November 7, 2009 1:31 pm

      As you can see, Frank, your comment is on the site. So what else would you like to say?

      • Frank Martinez permalink
        November 8, 2009 10:18 pm

        Already said it in a comment on one of the posts on the blog, but I guess that one didn’t make it though the screening process. It’s a shame though because it has some fantastic points about how this boycott significantly reduces a freelance writers possible income/exposure opportunities, how other companies are likely to follow suit once they see that Transcon has weathered the storm, and how this actually frees up editors of the various publications to hunt for undiscovered and fresh talent to help raise the bar of quality.

        Lets take for example, Freelance Writer A who writes 50% of the time for Transcontinental, and 50% of other publications. Income is good, exposure is good, and now suddenly this new contract arrives. By not signing the contract, IMMEDIATELY income drops by 50% and exposure by national brands drops significantly. Ok, sure exposure drops but it can be made up in the long run, right? But what about income? Do writers honestly believe that because they are boycotting a specific publisher that everyone else will come flocking to your doorstep to help fill in the missing 50%? I’m pretty sure that they won’t and likely shouldn’t because it’s quite clear that you WILL bite the hand that feeds you. But to not actually be affected by brushing away 50% of your income, that would indicate that you are constantly turning down 50% extra work from publishers and editors who are always requesting you write something. Keep in mind that we are talking about freelance writers, in Canada – nobody is houding you to write because you’re too busy hounding publishers and editors with lame content ideas which is one of the true reasons why the content currently being produced is pure drivel – but I digress.

        Now lets say that by absolute miracle, Transcon reverts back to a previous contract to make you happy (note ‘miracle’ because that is about what it will take), how many bridges did you burn and how many editors did you leave hanging when you suddenly left? I’m not saying that you don’t have an opinion and that you don’t get to voice it however you deem fit – what I am saying is that keep in mind how incredibly incestuous this industry actually is… Editors come and go from Transcon about as much as they do from all the other major publications. What happens when one moves from Transcon to one of the publications you’ve been writing for since the boycott started, and remembers how far off the deep end you went, the bind you put them in, and the online campaign to demonize a company they worked for?

        So now you’ve lost income, you’ve lost exposure, and you’ve potentially burned bridges for future income and exposure. Yes, it’s tough when a large corporation decides to change the playing field and I do understand the frustration. Yet at the same time I cannot help but look down the road a bit when Transcon has weathered the demonizing, is still producing content, and sales/traffic are up. How long do you honestly believe it will be before other publications start to modify their contracts once they have witnessed that a few whiny writers, a blog, and some press releases can’t bring down a +$500 million company? And why would you think that you can? Don’t get me wrong, I’m always up to see what the underdogs are capable of, but the challenge here is that you have no leverage. Ok, so you withhold your writing services… Um, how many people graduated in the last year or two who could actually put together something that with a bit of editorial guidance would be just as good or better? Sure, say there aren’t many (for the sake of argument), but how many does Transcon actually need? If you’re able to find a replacement writer who produces great content, is easy to work with, has no problem with increased exposure, and DIDN’T call you names online – wouldn’t you hire them? There is no leverage to your side of the issue.

        I love the comments from new freelance writers thanking you for opening their eyes to the issues and that now they will think twice, blah blah blah.. Did you show them the list of significant Canadian publications in multiple mediums that THEY WILL NOT BE WRITING FOR? How long do you think their boycott will last when they see any level of increase of ‘seasoned’ writers now fighting for the scraps of all the other publications yet there is new opportunity (read: money) available for some great national publications?Reality check – all the other publications aren’t going to suddenly throw open their doors to you and offer you $5 per word now that you’re not writing for Transcon. Heck, if you’re any good and had they been able to provide you with more money/opportunity – they would have already! Making back that lost 50% (from the example above) is going to be tough enough, and if your boycott (by yet another miracle) succeeds – everyone from the very new to the very seasoned will be fighting for the same FINITE amount of work because publications only allow so much money for content in their budgets.

        There simply aren’t enough of you to boycott, and there are too many other freelance writers who would love the opportunity to write for any of the publications that Transcon produces. There is simply no leverage to make the radical change you would like to see, and the longer this goes on, the more seasoned the other freelance writers become who are writing for Transcon, the stronger their relationships become with the editors, and sadly, the less anyone else actually cares anymore. Everyone will simply look back and say “Yeah, it was seen by some as a bad deal, yet all the other publications have now followed suit, I have to rebuild all the relationships I had, and frankly I have bills due at the end of the month. I love what I do, but I’d also like to get paid for it.”.

        But hey, that’s just my non-freelance writer $0.02 worth, right? I’m just glad I can’t be replaced by a blogger. 😉

    • November 10, 2009 8:31 pm

      I’m the owner of that site. Care to tell me why it should be avoided in a public forum?

  3. David Hayes permalink
    November 19, 2009 12:08 am

    I gather Frank Martinez is counseling freelance writers to suck it up. That’s the status quo default attitude. Freelance writers did it for several decades & as a result nothing changed. I don’t believe the answer is to cave without a fight. Sure, Transcon publications will continue to find copy. With luck, much of it inferior to the work they used to get from their stable of pros. And those pros will have to carve out some alternative, possibly even non-journalistic work, to make up that income. Better that, though, than spend a lifetime being merrily bullied by a major corporation. I’m idealistic, or naive, enough to feel we may force at least some change by these actions. If not, we’ll find other work & have some pride. One can look back to the early pioneers who joined trade unions & risked union goons busting their heads because the principle was sound.

  4. 'ang t. huff permalink
    November 27, 2009 11:46 am

    Frank Martinez is an anagram for Transcontinental’s Director of Freelance Relations, Krram I.T. Fannez.

  5. Sera P. Hic permalink
    January 1, 2010 11:38 pm

    Greetings, Friends

    Good comrades — hey! A New Year greeting.
    Let’s toast oh-nine’s unprec’dented meeting
    Of minds and purpose, in good cause
    To defeat the egregious clause
    That would our copyright strip away
    With no compensat’ry hike in pay.
    United in our opposition
    To Trans-C’s Scrooge-ish position,
    We salute those writers brave enough
    To speak their minds, like dear ‘ang t. huff.
    Kim Pittaway, we’ll long remember
    Your bold stand last November.
    Rona Maynard, thanks so much
    For coming through in the clutch!
    Friend D.B. Scott, we owe you big
    For your Respect and Remun. gig.
    Ann Douglas, we commend you, too
    For your decision to eschew
    The Canadian Living interview
    And to the boycott remain true.
    To David Hayes, a New Year blessing
    For his astuteness in addressing
    The root of our collective woe
    And urging no more status quo.
    Tanya! Mike! Derek Finkle!
    Let fortune smile and shine and twinkle
    Upon you all for your decision
    To demand a full recission
    Of contract terms so unforgiving
    They threatened our quite slender living,
    And put us ever in the thrall
    Of giant Transcontinental.
    Writers All., Newf’n Labrador,
    We positively you adore
    For inspiring freelancers in the ‘Times.
    Anne McDermid, these stutt’ring rhymes
    Accept as proof of gratitude
    For your supportive attitude.
    Cooke Agency! Fed. of BC Writers!
    Who’d have thunk you’d be such fighters!
    Journos indépendants du Québec,
    You stuck out your collective neck!
    Canadian Authors Association,
    Quebec Writers Federation,
    Plaudits for your très justes mots:
    We love to hear you say, “Mais non!”
    Westwood Creative! Sask. Writers Guild!
    On your foundation we will build
    Our hopes of better terms to come
    And thank you for not staying mum!
    And to all eds who secretly
    Regard our cause with sympathy,
    A heartfelt and resounding cheer
    And our best wishes for the year.
    Hip hip! For all who’ve ta’en the stance
    That it should pay better to freelance,
    And writers’ rights must be respected
    If their best work and will’s expected.

    We’re out of rhymes, the meter’s lagging,
    But our resolve is yet unflagging.
    We’ll stick together, stay on track
    And learn to watch our colleague’s back.
    In two-oh-ten, we’ll raise our standard ‑
    Win back our rights, Remy unpander’d.
    We’ll look back on our current plight
    As a necessary fight
    To win a better style of living.
    And once it’s won, we’ll be forgiving ‑
    But never forgetful of the need
    To stay on guard ‘gainst corporate greed.
    So to you, Frank Martinez,
    Along with all like-minded weenies,
    Our warm regards, no hard feelings.
    We’ll take it out in future dealings!

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