Jewish Currents Freelancer Agreement

In a series of meetings, the staff of Jewish Currents engaged in a conversation facilitated by the Freelance Solidarity Project of the National Writers Union about how to ensure that all of our freelance contributors—responsible for some of the most powerful work we have published—are treated with the respect they deserve and compensated equitably for their work. These principles and guidelines are a result of that conversation. In commissioning new work, Jewish Currents will share these guidelines with its freelancers alongside a formal contract; we are also making them publicly available below.

Terms of the Unilateral Announcement

This unilateral announcement will be in place for one year from the date of acceptance by both Jewish Currents and the National Writers Union. At the end of that year, Jewish Currents will re-evaluate the conditions outlined below and draft a new unilateral announcement with any necessary amendments offered by their freelancers and contract workers with the assistance of representatives from the NWU.

For the purposes of this announcement, a freelancer is defined as any media worker providing labor and/or services to Jewish Currents, including but not limited to writers, photographers, artists, translators, video and/or audio producers, among others. A contractor is any media worker contributing to Jewish Currents on a mutually agreed-upon ongoing basis. The negotiated rate is the full fee stated by the assigning or accepting member of the Jewish Currents editorial staff, as stated in any contracts or email correspondence related to the freelancers’ assignment or submission.

This unilateral announcement is the product of open discussion and collaboration between Jewish Currents and representatives from the NWU, and is intended to define the scope and terms of freelance labor in the course of producing Jewish Currents magazine. All editorial freelancers and contractors doing work for Jewish Currents shall be provided a link to the unilateral announcement and contact information for the managing editor upon pitch acceptance. The announcement will be publicly available on Jewish Currents’ website.

Editorial Process

Pitching, Assigning, Editing, and Publishing:

Jewish Currents shall maintain a commitment to promoting diversity and equity among its freelancers.

All pitching and submissions guidelines will be clearly detailed and made public on the Jewish Currents’s website.

An assignment from a Jewish Currents editor or a submission from a freelancer is considered accepted upon email confirmation from a Jewish Currents editor. Freelancers will be issued a contract as soon as possible following email correspondence, and the first installment of payment will be issued as per the stated rate schedule below.

Whenever possible, editors shall make a good faith effort not to go longer than three weeks without letting commissioned writers know the status of their commissioned piece.

When a freelancer proposes an idea for an article that has not previously come to the attention of Jewish Currents, the editors will not assign a story based on that proposal to someone else without permission from the proposer and payment of a mutually agreed-upon fee between the editor and original proposer. Jewish Currents will have a commitment from management and editors that freelance-generated ideas are not assigned to others on the editorial team.

In the event that a freelancer is not able to obtain a response from the assigning editor within a reasonable time frame to a question or a problem concerning the assignment, contract, or any other issue, the freelancer should contact managing editor or any member of Jewish Currents senior editorial staff. Jewish Currents will try to resolve the matter as promptly as possible and provide an initial response within five business days. All freelancers will be made aware, in writing, that this process is available to them upon acceptance of their first assignment.

Where appropriate (e.g. an investigative piece), when an assignment has originated with Jewish Currents, the publication will compensate the freelancer for any preliminary and/or exploratory research and/or work, including but not limited to background reporting and research.

Jewish Currents will provide the freelancer with a final version of their work before publication for final review. The freelancer will have the right to make changes of any nature, within reason, before printing commences and/or publication occurs. In the event that the freelancer and Jewish Currents cannot reach an agreement in good faith about a change in the work before publication, the freelancer retains the right to pull the work from publication.

Safety, Legal Protections, and Indemnity

Jewish Currents will indemnify and defend a freelancer against any third-party claim arising out of any article published, distributed, or assigned and any newsgathering related thereto unless such claims arise out of the freelancer’s breach of representation, warranty, or obligation under their contract. Such indemnification will include all losses, costs, and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, damages, and recoveries. Jewish Currents will do this if the freelancer agrees to cooperate with Jewish Currents and its parent and affiliated entities, and their members, shareholders, directors, officers, employees, representatives, and agents from and against any actions, claims, demands, liabilities, expenses, and costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees, arising out of any such third-party claim.

Jewish Currents will set clear safety and legal protections for freelancers, both abroad and at home, and publicize those procedures.

In the event a freelancer experiences physical and/or psychological harm, harassment, or abuse of any nature by staff of Jewish Currents in their course of work for Jewish Currents, the publication will resolve any dispute that arises from such harm, harassment, or abuse through the below stated NWU grievance procedure.

Grievance Procedure with the National Writers Union

Jewish Currents will make every effort to work out any freelance grievances on an informal basis.

If Jewish Currents cannot work out a freelancer’s grievances on an informal basis and if that freelancer designates a representative of the NWU to meet with the magazine in an attempt to work out the grievance on the freelancer’s behalf, the process shall be as follows:

  1. Before filing a grievance, the aggrieved freelancer and/or NWU representative will present the grievance to the freelancer’s assigning editor at Jewish Currents to try to resolve the matter without formal proceedings.

  2. If step (1) is unsuccessful, the NWU shall submit the grievance in writing to the editor-in-chief of Jewish Currents or their designated representative.

  3. If there is no resolution within two weeks of step (2), there shall be a conciliation conference including the NWU representative, the freelancer, if possible, and the editor or the editor’s designated representative. Jewish Currents shall provide a response to the grievance within three weeks of the conference.

  4. If the NWU and Jewish Currents cannot resolve the grievance, a board shall be convened consisting of one representative of the NWU, one of Jewish Currents, and one member acceptable to both parties. The third member shall receive no compensation from either side for participation in this board. A majority opinion by the board shall be accepted by all parties.

Freelancer Agreements

Jewish Currents will allow the NWU to review and suggest changes to its standard freelancer agreement. This process will be repeated once every three years from acceptance, unless otherwise agreed upon in writing.

If Jewish Currents considers making any edits or changes to its standard freelancer agreement, Jewish Currents will notify the NWU prior to implementing the edits or changes and meet with representatives to discuss.

Notification and Communication

Once a year, the NWU can request and will be provided with a list of names of all freelancers/contractors working for Jewish Currents.

Once a year, the NWU can request and will be provided with a comprehensive demographic survey of all freelancers/contractors working for Jewish Currents.

If any freelancer/contractor requests information about the NWU or to speak with an NWU representative, Jewish Currents will immediately notify the NWU.

Economic Proposals


Jewish Currents will set clear and equitable base rates for freelancers and publicize them, and commits to pay equity regarding disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

All freelancers can negotiate above the standards stated in this unilateral announcement if desired.

The existing standard rates are as follows:

  • Analysis and review pieces will be paid at minimum $400

  • News reports will be paid at minimum $500

  • Long conversations will be paid at minimum $300; short conversations (for the weekly newsletter) will be paid at minimum $150

  • In-depth web features will be paid at minimum $1,000

  • Print features will be paid at a rate of $1/word based on assigned word count

  • Jewish Currents will pay photographers a base 8-hour minimum day rate of $300, plus $50 for each photograph used in print. Any day of work that goes over 8 hours will be invoiced at time and a half. Time spent traveling will be paid as per the negotiated day rate.

  • Print issue cover photos will be paid no less than $400.

  • Jewish Currents will pay illustrators at minimum a $100 fee for spot illustrations and $150 for a full-page illustration. Three major revisions can be requested prior to receipt of the final artwork. Additional fees, negotiated between the illustrator and Jewish Currents, will be charged for any revisions requested after three sketches.

  • Jewish Currents will pay proofreaders and copy editors at minimum $30/hour.

  • Jewish Currents will pay fact-checkers at minimum $25/hour.

Jewish Currents commits to acting in full compliance with New York City’s “Freelance Isn’t Free” law.

All freelance contributors will be paid within 30 days of invoicing.

Graduated Fee Schedule

Jewish Currents will follow the below stated schedule for graduated payment:

  • 25% on delivery of a first draft of deliverable.

  • 75% on completion of the freelancer’s work, defined as work that requires no substantial revisions by the freelancer.

  • In the event an assignment is accepted or commissioned by an editor, and is approved for publication by both the freelancer and the editor, and doesn’t run, Jewish Currents will pay the freelancer 100% of the negotiated rate.

  • In the event an assignment is accepted or commissioned by an editor, and the freelancer has passed the first round of edits, and Jewish Currents ceases to be operational for any reason and/or under any circumstances, Jewish Currents will pay the freelancer 100% of the negotiated rate.

Reporting Costs & Incidental Expenses

Jewish Currents will set clear procedures for reimbursements of any/all expenses incurred in the editorial process.

  • Upon acceptance of an assignment/submission, the assigning editor will provide the freelancer with those procedures via email.

  • Freelancer will provide an estimate of associated expenses to the publication.

  • Jewish Currents will pay for any approved travel/accommodations booked for the purposes of fulfilling a freelancer’s accepted assignment in full and in advance of the scheduled trip.

  • Any approved incidental expenses incurred in the process of the work done by the freelancer will be reimbursed as per Jewish Currents’s stated policy, within 30 days of freelancer submitting documentation as per Jewish Currents’s reimbursement process.

Intellectual Property

Jewish Currents agrees that each accepted submission or assignment is the sole property of the freelancer.

  • The sale of the submission entitles Jewish Currents to first North American serial rights only.

  • If Jewish Currents has the opportunity to sell or lease the submission to another publication (for the purposes of, but not limited to, a medium such as an anthology, retrospective, or similar printed and/or digital collection) the freelancer must be immediately informed by a member of Jewish Currents, and retains the decision to make the sale or approve the leasing rights. Jewish Currents will negotiate a shared net income received from any such syndication with the freelancer.

  • The freelancer retains the right to republish the work after 90 days of the date of publication in a book, anthology, collection, or similar product, with original credits and acknowledgements given to Jewish Currents, or earlier by mutual agreement.

  • In the event that an accepted assignment is killed by Jewish Currents at any stage of the editorial process after the freelancer’s first submission, the intellectual property is released back to the freelancer.

Contributors on Contract

  • If a freelancer contributes to Jewish Currents on an ongoing basis, they can negotiate with the publication to receive a W-2 contract for a mutually agreed-upon duration of time.

  • Jewish Currents will publicize clear rates and working procedures for regular contractors and establish a process for contractor raises.

Jewish Currents commits to follow the standard legal definition of “just cause” in the event a contract is terminated before the end of the agreed-upon duration.