WASHINGTON, DC. Day 13 of 40 — Janet Jarman (pictured here) is one of the freelance journalists featured in my upcoming documentary series, FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile. The global series is testament to the dedicated men and women who scour the earth — without the support or security that staff journalists typically enjoy — searching for truth.
Freelancing as a foreign correspondent is a choice made by courageous men and women seeking a lifestyle of freedom, exploration, meaning and purpose. They are print reporters, photojournalists and filmmakers. They carve out their livelihoods with fellowships and grants, with assignments from mainstream media, with teaching gigs and workshops.
But as Janet points out in my documentary, there are sacrifices for having chosen this lifestyle. As a freelance foreign correspondent myself, I can tell you of those sacrifices. The difficult living conditions. The uncertainty of working without a steady paycheck, without health or life insurance, in a distant land far away from the people and the places that I still call “home.”
I’ve lived in Latin America for 11 of the most formative years of my life. And I’ve been on assignment in distant lands at crucial times of the year. I can’t even count the holidays, the birthdays, the weddings, the funerals, that I’ve missed with my extended family. I was “missing” for much of the time that my family members grew up and got old. And I learned to treat Thanksgiving, Christmas and even my own birthdays no different from other days of the year because I was too busy, or too removed, to celebrate.
These are the choices and the consequences that freelancers make and must cope with. And this is not to mention the emotional and the psychological trauma that we have to cope with as a result of witnessing and documenting the misery and the violence that, for some of us, is just part of our “job.”
These are some of the issues that I explore in FREELANCERS.
Please take a look at the Indiegogo campaign, now in its 13th day of 40, launched and managed by the team I’ve built to fund post-production of the documentary. Freelance foreign correspondents, past and present, believe in truth. In facts. In science. If you do, too, please support our effort to tell the important story about these men and women searching for truth and explaining to us the world in which we live.
(Photo by Matt Cipollone)