Thursday, October 01, 2009

dealing with the boycott

If you haven't heard yet, the Canadian Writers Group and the Professional Writers Association of Canada are urging all freelancers to boycott Transcontinental over the company's refusal to make amendments to its master contract.

My heart goes out to all the editors at the Transcon publications who will have to hunt harder for contributors, or have to take on extra work to meet their deadlines. It's a horrible position to be in. Editors are the writers' connection to a magazine, and often the writers' biggest advocates, and unfortunately they are the ones who will hurt most from this action.

Transcon editors, how do you plan to cope? Do you think it will affect you much? Have you had any writers speak to you about the boycott yet? Have there been discussions in the office to develop a strategy? Will you be taking on more work yourself?

Non-Transcon editors, chime in too: how would you cope?


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you might like to save a little empathy for those of us who don't pull a regular paycheque, too, Corinna.

Walk a mile or two.

Corinna vanGerwen said...

I assume you mean the writers? Nowhere in my post did I express any opinion on the boycott or the groups or writers taking part. In fact, I myself haven't signed the Transcon contract yet (I have the luxury of being able to delay my decision on whether or not to because, as you say, I pull a regular paycheque).

The editors are at the frontlines of dealing with the boycott, representing a company that is offering up a contract that they themselves may not agree with. I am curious to find out about the very real practicality of dealing with a boycott, how will the editors get their work done, especially when they may be working "against" the side they actually support.

This is a blog for editors. I am tryig to bring the voice of ediors to a discussion that has been between publishers and writers.

Former Transcon editor said...

I had the same reaction, Corinna - not to detract from the writers' boycott, but I know that what it will inevitably mean is more work for the editors.
While it's true that they're "pulling regular paycheques," those editors are also expected to create a (usually) monthly product - and if they can't find writers to produce content, I'm guessing the publishers and executives will think nothing of asking the editors to write it all themselves. That's a lose-lose situation for all of the creative types.

Ellie said...

I'm an editor, but I'm not sure I agree that editors will be the ones hurt most from this action. At least we still have work and will get paid. Writers who choose to boycott will have no money coming in (if they write solely for Transcon) and in the end, might get nothing out of it (if the boycott backfires).

Now, I'm not at Transcon, but if this happened to my magazine, the editors would almost certainly have to write everything in-house. And/or maybe we'd use crappy writers who aren't part of the boycott and edit the hell out of them--basically use them as researchers.

I'm skeptical that the boycott will work, but I hope it does. Writers are treated like commodities and it's not right.

Corinna vanGerwen said...

True, Ellie, I may have overstated things when I said "hurt the most."