I’ve been disclosing my connections to subjects as they’ve come up but a lot of that content is buried within old podcasts. It’s a good idea to have a permanent document on the site, easy to find, share and reference, that lays all of this out. I don’t think that posting this relieves me of my responsibility to disclose conflicts or possible conflicts within the content they pertain to. It’s in addition to that.
Also, as more contributors publish with CANADALAND, we’ll throw up their disclosures here too.
FREELANCE JOURNALISM AND WRITING
As a rule, journalists are not supposed to take money from the people or companies they cover.
As a journalist who covers the media, I’ve taken money from just about everybody I cover.
In my fifteen years of freelancing before launching CANADALAND, I’d been paid by Saturday Night Magazine, Gadfly Magazine, The National Post, VICE, The Globe and Mail, the CBC, TVO, Toronto Life, and Macleans. I also did some TV development work for eOne. There were other small contracts that I can’t remember off-hand. I’ll dig these up and disclose them all as soon as possible.
When CANADALAND launched on October 7, 2013, I was still under contract with Macleans and writing a tech column for Toronto Life. Bell Media paid me to produce those CANADALAND videos through their Bell Local initiative.
CANADALAND was a money-losing proposition until the Patreon campaign launched on October 7, 2014. I got by on my freelancer income that first year, along with my speaking fees. Once the crowdfunding succeeded and CANADALAND became my full-time job, I stopped taking money from anyone I cover, with two exceptions:
The Toronto Star paid me for my work on the Jian Ghomeshi investigation (late Oct, 2014).
The Huffington Post pays me for my work on the Jian Ghomeshi allegation tracker (Nov, 2014- April, 2015)
I don’t care what Rosie DiManno says, paid speaking is awesome. I just don’t do it for those who I cover, and if I end up covering someone I’ve spoken for in the past, I’ll disclose it on the show and here.
As I disclosed a year ago on CANADALAND, I’ve been doing paid speaking for years, and I couldn’t have kept afloat all this time without it. Just about every freelancer I know has some kind of cash gig they do to make ends meet- teaching, corporate writing, paid speaking, etc. It bugs me a bit when lifelong media staffers with union protection and benefits proudly proclaim that they never take a penny from anyone. Easy for them to say, as they are guaranteed to make a living. The rest of us must wrestle with possible conflicts and strike a balance as a matter of necessity. That’s why I’ve always preached disclosure, rather than abstention, as the golden rule.
Clients don’t want us speakers to blab about what they pay us, but you can see from my public agency page that my standard rate is $5000 per event. This is absurd, I realize (absurdly wonderful). Crazier still, it’s actually on the low-end of what paid speakers get. Depending on the client and circumstance, I sometimes speak for a lot less than this or a little bit more.
I do a lot of unpaid speaking too, but why would I put that on a disclosure page, except to try and convince you that I’m not a greedy whore (or perhaps that I’m a charitable and nice guy in addition to being a greedy whore)?
Anyhow, here are all the paid speaking gigs I’ve done since CANADALAND became my full-time job, on Oct.15 2014. It’s going to take some time to go through my old stuff and post the rest, and I’ll do so as I can, but these are the paid events I’ve accepted since becoming a full-time media critic:
*This is the one that would raise my eyebrow if I were investigating myself. Yes, Jesse Brown took money from RBC, just like Amanda Lang! It is true. And I didn’t even do anything to get the money, since they cancelled after a deadline had passed. I have no idea why they did, nor do I have any ill-will towards RBC (after all, they paid me to do nothing). I had no trouble accepting this gig, since I cover media, not banks, and I had no idea at the time that RBC would be involved in a CANADALAND investigation. Once the Lang/RBC thing popped up, I recused myself and gave the story to Sean Craig.
I volunteer for Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and have volunteered for PEN Canada.
I am a co-founder and co-owner of the cartooning app Bitstrips (makers of Bitmoji).
PREVIOUS MEDIA WORK
Associate producer at CBC
Member of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression