Online only, so far

Refer to central accounts and always ask for a disturbance free

FROM zero(oine) to hero(oine) - more small tales of freelances fighting that good fight not to work for free... We gather some necessarily anonymous stories.

Freelance A gets asked to appear on BBC1's One Show as an "expert". He inquires of the director about the fee and get thes response "unfortunately we don't pay contributors". Helpfully, the director advises Freelance A that his "exposure would be more valuable than money".

Freelance A's stout contribution to our war of attrition against such claims was to just say no. However, others pitched into the freelance email group exchange that followed to say they'd had different experiences of different bits of the Beeb - one size does not fit all in the Corporation.

Freelance B, for example, was invited to do an expert pundit spot on Radio 6 Live. "The initial offer of nothing did not attract," says she, telling the booker she wouldn't work for nothing.

Central accounts!

Immediately an offer of 50 quid came back. The not inexperienced Freelance B "then referred them to central accounts to see the level of fees I had been paid for a variety of BBC national and regional transmissions over the years".

This is a wheeze new to all onlookers in terms of the reference to "central accounts" - very Beeb (though bringing up previous fees, if advantageous, is a normal strategem of course).

A few days later, without further conversation, the proffered £50 became £100 and Freelance B accepted. She points out that she has also established mileage at 45p-per as a normal part of her transactions with the corporation.

Most freelances who occasionally chat on the radio agreed £50 or £100 is generally what can be squeezed out via a brief but firm negotiation. However, Freelance C then pitched in with a recent personal best he'd achieved for a bit of talking headery, namely £200 plus travel exes.

So to close this pro-wheelerdealing, don't give 'em something for nothing burst of anecdotary, here's Freelance D asked to talk on a Channel 4 doc. Offer: zero. So no go. "Well, we don't normally pay contributors but if we do it's £100." "How about £200?" Further increase refused, job refused by Freelance D, but negotiation had occurred. Always worth a whirl, never did any harm.

Disturbance fee

Also via an NUJ network we get news of a colleague asked to do a Newsnight pundit spot. He asks for a fee and they say "we don't pay - but we can offer you a disturbance fee". It's 75 quid, he takes it, though guffawing about the terminology.

Similarly, a little while ago says another colleague, except this was Sky News and they immediately offered £150. A while back I got £200 from them for standing and blathering in a field for about 15 minutes. Both were chauffeured from home to studio and back which made them feel good although you can't spend it (I was already in the field - it was Glastonbury).

Just anecdotes pour encourager les autres.