An occupational risk of freelancing: zero words on topic A

The European Commission socked Google with a €4.34 billion fine Wednesday over its treatment of Android device vendors, and I have had zero words published to my name about that blockbuster ruling.

It happens. When you’re not on staff and not in the newsroom as a major story breaks, you can get left aside as staff writers jump on that topic and editors scurry to get their copy posted. That collective rush to publish–and the glut of hot takes about whatever tech issue tops a day’s headlines–may then result in you not being able to sell anything about said storyline before everybody’s moved on to the next breaking topic.

So, yes, I have not opined at length over the EC’s judgment that Google abused its market power in requiring Android vendors to ship its Chrome browser and set its own search as the default if they wanted to bundle the Play Store. I haven’t even gone on radio or TV to spout off on Google getting this roughly $5 billion haircut, leaving only my initial, skeptical tweets as my comments.

I feel like I’ve put my tech-pundit status in jeopardy, especially considering the shameful lack of even unpaid broadcast exposure.

On the other hand, I should appreciate being able to think through this matter instead of having to file 800 words of first-few-hours analysis.

On the other other hand, my self-employed status also means I don’t have to crank out four posts in a day every time Apple commits news. And not being beholden to a single newsroom lets me self-assign less-obvious coverage, as long as I can find a willing client. That occupational flexibility may yet allow me to get back to Topic A in tech news this week, if I can just find the right angle to pitch to the right editor…

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4 thoughts on “An occupational risk of freelancing: zero words on topic A

  1. Rob, just a perspective from a long-time reader. It’s interesting to hear what it’s like to be working as a freelancer, but sometimes you communicate concern about not having written something on topic X yet, or about having only published one or two items in a given week. Such things don’t bother me in the slightest; they wouldn’t even occur to me … I enjoy your work whenever it comes out.

    • Thanks! The nature of how I get paid means I can’t ignore the cadence of my work–a week when I don’t file anything is a week when I didn’t make any money, and I also don’t want to fall into a pattern of telling myself that I’ll make up for a slow month next month. I blame the rest of this occasional occupational angst on being D.C.-based: If I have not voiced an opinion on a pressing policy issue, can it really be said that I exist? 🙂

  2. Thanks for the frank explanation of freelance facts. Very revealing to those of us who lived the 9 to 5 routine.

  3. Pingback: Weekly output: a privacy-optimized version of Android, wireless plans, Facebook forced breakup, cryptocurrency insecurity | Rob Pegoraro

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