General Journalism


Older Men Younger Women

It rarely causes comment, even nowadays, when a younger woman marries an older man, even a much older man. Maybe there is half a minute of a slightly raised eyebrow and then the matter is forgotten.

But when an older woman dares to pair up with a...

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romantic novels Katie Fforde interview

The standard image of a fictional romantic heroine is of a beautiful, innocent virgin who, after many trials and tribulations, is finally rescued by the tall, dark, handsome and inevitably rich man of her dreams. 

That, at any rate, is how it used...

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Felicity Green Feature

Sometimes it only takes one artefact to change everything for ever.

So it was with The Gingham Dress. It didn’t sound much – a cheap throwaway little item featured in the Daily Mirror as a reader’s offer in 1963. Most newspaper offers are never...

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Call to arms

My Ranters piece on the ever-shrinking freelance fees has produced an impassioned response from many aggrieved writers who have witnessed the gradual disappearance of their income.

And it’s getting worse as ever more publications plead poverty and...

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The case of the disappearing byline

For most journalists, whether staff or freelance, their byline is their showcase, their shop window. It is how you get work, and how you get known; also, how you survive.

But now, along with all the other bad things happening to journalists,...

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Rant no 4 - Lazy Intros

The ever-growing army of both gentlemen and lady ranters is constantly complaining about the general lowering of standards in all aspects of journalism.

And usually with good reason.

This week, my rant is about lazy intros. In my day we were...

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Ranters Rant - Karl Sabbagh

The recent experience of writer Karl Sabbagh should give all self-employed hacks pause.

Sabbagh, a noted expert on Middle Eastern affairs, and half-Palestinian, wrote to features editors of eight national broadsheet newspapers, enclosing a piece he...

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Rant no 3

Will the bad treatment and arrogant exploitation of freelance writers never end? After all, just about every publication is more or less completely dependent on outside contributors these days.

But you would not think so, from the cavalier way we...

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New Rant

Whatever is happening to freelance fees?

When I worked as woman’s editor at The Times in 1986 – during that terrible Wapping year – we paid freelance contributors £250 for a piece of about 600 words. The average rate for 1000 words was £400.


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And still they come – stories of ridiculously tiny fees being offered by big companies to established and valued professionals.

Here is one sent to me just last week, from ace photographer Ian Bradshaw, now living in Pennyslvania. Bradders was contacted by Getty Images, a large photographic agency, in relation to a job for the Mail on Sunday’s YOU magazine. The job was in...

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