So who’s paying for me to cover 2013? 2013 logo: click for conference websiteIt’s exactly one week until I’m meant to be in Canberra for 2013, but ZDNet Australia and TechRepublic don’t have the budget to send me. So who wants to pay for it?

Last year I wrote six articles and produced four daily podcasts. I don’t think it’s too immodest of me to say that they were well-received, and that I should cover this year’s event as well.

So, who’s going to cough up the dosh? I’ll need to have the air fares and accommodation covered, along with various minor expenses, and of course I’ll need to be paid as well. Much as I support and respect the free and open source software (FOSS) community, this media stuff is what I do to pay my bills.

I reckon there’s three ways we can do this.

  1. Another media company pays me to cover the event as a freelancer in the traditional way.
  2. I cover the event independently. I could perhaps create the Corrupted Nerds masthead for this (I wrote about that on Friday), though that seems better as the title for a security-related thing. I’d need to arrange advertisers and sponsors in the usual way, and time is short.
  3. I cover the event independently, but crowdsource the funding through Pozible or someone. This is supposed to be the future, so perhaps we could try it?

How much are we looking at? About $5000.

A flight from Sydney to Canberra on Sunday and back a few days after the conference ends — because I need to finish making media objects first, then fly, and if I’m in Canberra I’d do some other things while I was there (about $240). Transport to and from the airports (about $150) and to and from the conference venues ($250). Accommodation for the duration of the conference, ‘cos I’d cover the rest out of my own budget (between $1100 and $1400). Call it $2000.

As for what I’m paid, well, that’s flexible. Last year the podcasts and articles came to just under $3000 including GST. While that may sound relative high for one week of work, bear in mind that I was up at 5am and working until after midnight most days, and working into the weekend. I think I pulled an all-nighter in there somewhere. So you’re pretty much rooted for days afterwards. And freelancers provide their own equipment, and in theory things like paying for future holidays (what?), insurance (come again?) and so on.

Obviously we’d have to decide the exact format of the media objects — whether they’re written stories or live blogs or podcasts or photographs or whatever, or of course a mix thereof. The conference organisers will presumably post the raw recordings of the presentations, but the journalistic approach is to seek out the newsworthy stuff, to analyse and comment upon whats being presented and how it’s being received.

So all up, it’s about $5000. My task for Monday morning is to decide which method to focus on. Which do you think might be best?

6 Replies to “So who’s paying for me to cover 2013?”

  1. I should probably have mentioned that accommodation and flights can probably be sorted as sponsorship. And the price for making media is negotiable, depending on what we decide to produce and within what timeframe.

    @grum:Yeah good luck with that. That extra dollar buys a whole lot more… something. Besides, we aren’t quite interchangeable. Yet.

  2. I’ve had a few conversations about this during the course of the day. Here’s a quick summary.

    Time is short, but a crowdsourcing campaign could well work. And, since the price for making the media objects depends on what’s actually going to be produced, it’s more important to lock down the travel and accommodation, and the fundraising for the media production can extend into next week.

    The first key decision we need to make is where the stories, podcasts etc should be published, and today’s grand realisation was that they needn’t necessarily all go to the same place. I’m still thinking through how that might work

    There was even the suggestion that, in the spirit of Linux and the rest of the FOSS movement, that the media be released under an open license of some sort. Further thought will be needed for that too.

    And finally, a sweet irony. When I asked the editor of another technology news masthead whether they’d be interested in my coverage, they replied: “F#ck it Stil if you’d told me four days ago you could have saved me a bucket of money,” because they’re pulling in a stringer from elsewhere. Ah, bad timing, the story of my life!

  3. A lot of conversations and a lot of thinking about this topic have happened in the last 48 hours, but I’ll mention just three key points at this stage.

    One, while there isn’t a masthead that wants to pay for comprehensive coverage of — or at least that hasn’t already assigned someone to the task — I’ve realised that if my accommodation and travel to Canberra are covered then I can just pitch individual stories to editors at this stage.

    Two, the costings were based on my experience last year, when I produced a daily podcast as well as writing stories. I really don’t need to work at such intensity.

    Three, yesterday an Interesting Thing happened which has changed the focus of for me somewhat. The Interesting Thing is Very Interesting Indeed. But I can’t tell you about it just yet.

  4. Linux – come to SLUG at Google Friday night at 6pm and ask around. That’s the building opposite the Sydney Casino on the 5th floor I think. This is hosted usually by Tim Ansell who runs the Election Leaflets website.

    I was once a board member and have a SLUG email address as result.

    SLUG = Sydney Linux User Group which has been operating since the early 1990s.

    Entry is free and the refreshments are courtesy of Google.


  5. Tim Ansell of Linux Australia, the Sydney Linux User Group and also of Google spoke at length last night on GStreamer – which is an open source command line utility for piping audio and video using plugins to add delete various effects.

    The command is “gst” which has nothing to do with the Goods and Services Tax.

    Mr Ansell explained that he’ll be presenting this as the Canberra conference. He is also standing for elections at the Linux Australia AGM.

    There are allegedly also GUI’s for GStreamer.

    That’s my review. $3.95 🙂


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