A note to our media colleagues from John Melick

Dear media colleagues,

Over the last several years, the art, culture and design media has experienced a financial roller coaster ride as many in our sectors have diverted parts of their ad budgets to digital content as the expectations of audiences have shifted. With some sense of stability only recently emerging, the COVID-19 crisis could not come at a worse time, amplifying the uncertainties in an already precarious existence, especially for the freelance writers we regularly work with to keep our clients’ projects visible.

The irony, of course, is that we need the media more than ever to make sense of the world and keep us in touch. As we all work from home, the range of media we work with maintain a sense of connection to our communities by providing access to news about those who have temporarily closed their physical spaces, the artists whose long-planned shows have been postponed, the design projects now stalled but to be realized, and perhaps most inspiringly, the ways our creative economy is staying present and engaging online.

While we trust the situation is temporary, we know that few writers are in a position to absorb reduced paychecks and canceled freelance work for long. And while most outlets have managed so far to provide us with the same quality of journalism at the same frequency—with editors working from home via email, Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and telephone interviews—we also anticipate that the coming months will be a rough patch for them, and consequently for us at Blue, as we too work remotely, endeavoring to represent our loyal clients.

In the spirit of supporting our media colleagues, particularly those who freelance, below is a selection of resources now available for these writers, staff writers and others in the media business who are working harder than ever to keep on top of their work until some form of normal returns.

We will provide further updates (other ideas welcome) when we identify new resources, but in the meantime, here you go:

The American Society of Journalists and Authors provides writers emergency grants

The Pen Writers’ Emergency Fund

Freelancers Union will take applications from freelancers for up to $1,000 financial relief for living expenses beginning April 2nd

Authors League Fund for freelance journalists, playwrights and poets with health cost needs

International Women’s Media Foundation is offering an emergency grant to women specifically covering COVID-19

The CARES ACT has expanded the range of workers who qualify for unemployment to include the self-employed and may offer other forms of relief. NPR has published a helpful breakdown of options for individuals and small businesses as well. NYT has also published a helpful breakdown of options for individuals and small businesses.

Please feel free to reach out to me at john@bluemedium.com, my partner Michelle DiLello (michelle@bluemedium.com) who leads our architecture and design division, or Andy Cushman (acushman@bluemedium.com) who heads our visual arts team, if we can assist you with brainstorming ideas, story development, leads to sources or any other support. We are also encouraging the clients who can continue advertising to do so and in some cases will put them in touch with freelance writers to assist them with their digital content.

We look forward to continuing our work with you and wish you and your loved ones a safe journey through this mess we are in together.

All the very best,

John Melick
Blue Medium, Inc.