The Squall Arrives

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Here at The Blizzard, we know that the worldwide freelance community has been hit hard by the current pandemic. Governments are finding it difficult to come up with meaningful packages for this community and although there are some promising signs in the UK, we know that many freelancers will still be incredibly worried. Not just about loss of earnings, but about their life being put on hold – what they do, what they enjoy, what they live for, is no longer there. And that will doubtless have a huge psychological impact.

The Blizzard is what freelancers – be they writers, photographers or illustrators – make it. And so we want to help. Initially, we asked the 65 or so people who contributed to the last year of the Blizzard (issues 32-35 and associated events) if they could wherever possible waive some or all of their fees, which fell due around now. Those who are unable to do so have said so. And we will aim to pay them as quickly as possible.

But there are many who have been incredibly generous and we already have a fund of some £6,000 to finance a new project, The Squall.

Here’s what Jonathan Wilson has to say about it: “The Squall will be (a lot) shorter than The Blizzard but (a lot) longer than The Flurry (our newsletter). It will be 11 pieces of between 500 and 2500 words on a selected theme (so a total of 15-20,000 words). Our first issue (May; deadline 15 April) will be on the theme of The Right-Back. Feel free to interpret that as freely as you like. Pitch on individual right-backs, great or small; on the changing nature of the role; on best goals by right-backs; worst fouls by right-backs; right-backs in film or song; clubs who’ve had a run of great or terrible right-backs… be as creative as you can. If you’re a photographer, perhaps you have a series of pictures of one particular right-back, or maybe a series of different right-backs taking throw-ins? As ever with Blizzard products, be inventive and original, find details, devise theories, be funny, don’t be constrained by what we’ve seen before. At the moment as potential themes, we’re looking at: Brits Abroad; Kits; the Printed Word; Animals; Oedipus; Grounds; Sliding Doors; Short-Lived Tournaments and Reserves but that may change. If you’ve got a decent idea for them, let us know.”

The address for pitching to Jonathan is thesquall@trinorth.co.uk – get your pitches and then submissions in early. Our intention is to pay pretty much on submission, even if that submission is for three or four magazines down the line. This won’t always be possible but the more cash we can generate from the general public, the quicker we can pay, and the more freelancers we can use. We’ll start paying a flat rate of £105/1000 published words (rounded to nearest 500) on publication of each issue. If it’s possible to increase that over time, we will.

The company that produces The Blizzard, TriNorth Ltd, is initially providing design, management time and expertise free of charge, and Jonathan will edit The Squall on the same basis. Incidentally, TriNorth is also producing a fortnightly digital cricket magazine on the same basis and for the same reasons (find out more at www.thenightwatchman.net).

We are also setting The Squall up as a pay-what-you-can product. We hope that freelancers will spread the word about it and make this something that we can sustain at least until the worst of the crisis has passed, and longer if possible.

There will be an option to make a payment by PayPal micropayments once the first Squall hits, and people can also pay directly into The Squall’s account, being set up for the sole purpose of producing future issues (we will be publishing account statements to show all revenues are used for The Squall). We’ll provide details of that in due course as the banks are busy dealing with business interruption loans!

ALL of the waived fees and the money that goes into The Squall bank account or PayPal account from the general public will be used to continue producing it, paying freelancers worldwide to write brilliantly about what they love.

Lastly, there are a few helpful things for sports freelancers in need of support and advice. There are dedicated sites for the Sports Freelancer Collective at http://footballwriters.co.uk/news/sports-freelancer-collective/ and at https://www.sportsjournalists.co.uk/. And to join the Sports Freelancer Collective Facebook page go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/495051321162204/?ref=share.

And to join the FWA mailing list and receive updates, please email philippe.auclair.fwa@gmail.com

We hope you enjoy it!

Matt Thacker

TriNorth Ltd


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