Survey on conditions for media freelancers

September 25 2019

The proportion of freelancers is on the rise in several countries, but there is little research-based knowledge about working conditions for journalists, photographers and critics who are without regular employment. Along with NJ Frilans, the Press Photographers’ Club, Norway and the Norwegian Critics’ Association, Fritt Ord has taken an initiative to explore the challenges facing freelancers and temps.

The project is being carried out by media researchers Birgit Røe Mathisen at Nord University and Anders Graver Knudsen at OsloMet. Among other issues, they will examine trends in wages and fees, customer relations and other working conditions related to the freelancer’s role. Questions about potential ethical dilemmas are also included.

A survey consisting of about 60 questions was distributed to members of the three organisations on Wednesday, 22 May.

“We have little research-based knowledge about working conditions for freelancers. This is actually the first time such a comprehensive survey has been conducted on conditions for freelancers in Norway. The more replies we get, of course, the more robust our knowledge base will be”, remarks Birgit Røe Mathisen to

The Fritt Ord Foundation has focussed on media and journalism as one of its core areas for quite some time. For the Foundation, it is important to help encourage and strengthen Norwegian journalism. The Foundation has set aside up to MNOK 25 per year for journalism projects, including 10 annual grants for freelance critics. The initiatives are intended to give freelancers and staff journalists opportunities to spend more time and resources on demanding projects of importance to society at large. The initiatives are in response to the pressures that plague high-quality journalism.

The results of the freelance survey will be announced at a joint national conference on freelancers’ conditions at Fritt Ord, 25 September 2019.