Sport freelance rate back to 1989 levels, says SJA

Freelance sports reporters are being paid the same now for covering football rugby and matches as they were in 1989, according to the Sports Journalists’ Association.

The SJA, which is compiling a ‘rate for the job’database, said News International’s recent freelance rate cuts mean a match report fee was back to the same level as 20 years ago.

Secretary Steven Downes wrote: ‘At News International titles, for – say – covering a football or rugby match on a Saturday, a reporter can now expect to be paid the same fee that they would have received in 1989.

‘Is there any other profession where people are expected to work at rates as if the 1990s had never happened?

‘NI is by no means the worst – they still meet a reporter’s travel and other expenses, and they also pay promptly. Some of the horror stories that have come my way recently from long-standing contributors to other papers would be laughable if they did not demonstrate quite how badly our work is being devalued.

‘Such as the £20 offer from one national title towards the £60 cost of a return rail ticket to get to a game: ‘What do you want me to do, just go one-third of the way there?'”

This year, Press Gazette has reported freelance rate cuts at The Times and Sunday Times, The Sun, and The Guardian.

So far, the SJA’s rate for the job database includes, among others, £80 for a 200-word contribution to Charles Sale’s sports diary in the Daily Mail, and £150 for a 650-word feature for Reuters.

To contribute to the database, email stevenwdownes@btinternet.com, with “rate for the job” in the subject field.

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