It’s great that many prominent freelancers are sharing their #FreelancePies – we certainly need to open up the conversation about money. In this post I’m not going to disclose my total income, but I’ll show you what freelancing was like for me since I left my last stable job. I’m doing this to contribute to helping people who aspire for a career in writing to plan realistically. Also, I’m going to show this post to friends and anyone who holds some romanticised impression of freelance journalism. Obviously, my experience doesn’t represent an average freelance journalist in any country. It’s just, well, a slice of the industry.
Writer Justinas Žilinskas challenged his Facebook followers today by saying that, as we commemorate anniversaries of the Baltic Chain, the longest human chain recorded, we still hardly know anything that is happening in other Baltic countries. We hardly ever listen to Baltic music or know the names of other countries′ leaders. Some of his followers commented how they actually have a grasp of all things Baltic. A part of my job is to follow what happens around the Baltics, so I′ll use the opportunity to share some links (without much research, just some things that come to mind). Continue reading
I am starting to cooperate with the English version of Delfi, the largest news portal in Lithuania, – The Lithuania Tribune. Here I will paste links to my articles to keep them in one place.
Creativity and boredom in a Lithuanian town coping with globalisation (reporting on increasingly diverse student recruitment and youth unemployment in Alytus)
The capital of communication: Kaunas on January 13 (memories of Kaunas residents about the coup of January 13, 1991)
Supporters and critics of Poland clash in European Parliament (reporting from Strasbourg)
Refugee resettlement stalling: European Parliament debates binding obligations including Lithuania (reporting from Strasbourg)
Veolia claim against Lithuania offers case in point for EU trade liberalisation sceptics (reporting from Strasbourg)
With the aim to balance out very unequal distribution of articles about development cooperation between EU15 and EU13, Minority Rights Group took our group of ten to get first-hand experience reporting in Southeast Asia. What we learned, however, had to do more with our journalistic methods than with EU development aid and cooperation.
February marked the tenth year since I started working as a foreign desk journalist at a small but prominent Lithuanian newspaper (which no longer exists). During those years as a staff writer and later as a freelancer I entirely depended, like many colleagues from our region, on other organisations to fund any reporting missions abroad, or used personal travels for reporting. There was a time when Lithuanian media did not even have a permanent correspondent in Brussels. Already low budgets for reporting in Central and Eastern Europe have been further cropped since the economic crisis and austerity hit its media sector.
For this and other reasons the unique access to an enhanced-security village in Kaeng Krachan national park already provided fresh ideas for several stories. On the other hand, following many of the journalistic principles in a traditional community amidst tension (ethnic Karen living in the national park face increasing restrictions on their agricultural activity and foraging in the name of forest preservation) was challenging. For instance, it is always better to be alone with the source (and translator) in a safe space, but I had read in advance not to mess with the local hierarchies of Thailand’s mountain peoples, and did not dare to object when one of the village headmen invited himself to an interview with a local worker. Continue reading
The Equal Times published my article on press freedom in Thailand (also available in French and Spanish).
“I tell other colleagues, ‘Hey, you are a journalist. You should be brave!’” says Chutima Sidasathian, whom I had a chance to meet thanks to Minority Rights Group, the organizers of a training I attended in Bangkok and Kaeng Krachan national park. There were many more interesting things she said, but it would have inflated my article way beyond the word limit, and it her story has already been reported on, too. On the other hand, I couldn’t find any information about Rangsee Limpichotikul in English. He wrote about the case of Por Cha Lee Rakcharoen, a.k.a. Billy, who was detained last year and went missing ever since.
It is always inspiring to see
I interviewed journalists, journalist unions, read the Government Control Office website and a bunch of documents for this article: Independent journalism under increasing threat in Hungary – Equal Times.
It is always interesting to compare events. Last year the Baltic Pride, the annual march for LGBT rights, held in the Baltic capitals on a rotating basis, aroused many discussions in Lithuania, but when it takes place in the other Baltic capitals, we usually only see a photo or two. This year I had a chance to report from a similar demonstration in Budapest. The leading Lithuanian news portal Delfi published my article with photos.
I rarely post personal photos and stories online these days, but it’s fun to think about the end of my 20s, which were an era in itself, and to look back at all the different memories. As someone said, the best thing about being in your 30s now is that all your craziest experiences happened in the pre-Facebook era. So many parties, adventures and funny faces will, fortunately, never be documented and tagged.
10 years ago I was a young enthusiastic student in Vilnius, dreaming to be a diplomat in Japan by the time I reach, well, the point I’m at now. My 20th birthday was before the era of digital photography. At the time I had only visited Latvia and Estonia. But soon after there was a whirlwind of adventures on three continents. This is not meant as a birthday humblebrag – rather, it’s my reflection on how I decided to leave my comfort zone. Continue reading
Since summer 2013 the website of Atgimimas weekly, where I worked from 2005 to 2011, is down. For this reason many of the links do not work. I will look for possibilities to retrieve my articles from the archives of the weekly. Continue reading