production and reducing costs but then makes note of the media paradox where “The
number of media channels, forms, genres, devices, applications, and formats is
proliferating – more media gets produced every year” (Deuze, Elefante & Steward, 2010).
The reality of precarity is embodied in the Precarious Workers Brigade, a UK-based group
of workers in culture and education, calling attention to the exploitation of unpaid
internships and struggling to make a living in this current economic client
(http://www.precariousworkersbrigade.tumblr.com/) -- they are playfully disguised in their
portrait featured in the handbook (http://carrotworkers.wordpress.com/about/). In U.S.
media, there is even stiffer competition for unpaid internships and students need to prove
they are registered for an “internship course” just for the “opportunity” to work for free.
Rosalind Gill, author of “Life is a Pitch: Managing the Self in New Media Work,” discusses
the ongoing tension of “being a new ideal worker–subject whose entire existence is built
around work” (Gill at cited in Deuze et al., 2011). The examination of media workers willingly
taking on risk as a normative practice in the 1980’s with the expectation of reward still fuels
those working in the industry (Amman et, al., 2007; Neff, Wissinger & Zukin, 2005)
The Freelancer’s Union has become an advocate for the new workforce operating without
a safety net. The proliferation of content farms charging a minimal amount for web content
was a foreshadowing of not only rough times ahead for media folks but also an indicator
that a dramatic shift was happening in the rest of the workforce. An article in The
Economist in 2010, “Emperors and Beggars; The Rise of Content Farms”
(http://www.economist.com/node/16010291) was foreshadowing a murky road ahead for
the compression of media budgets. As the world is being flattened through technology
(Friedman, 2005), so are the media budgets.
We Need A Less Anonymous Portrait of Media Workers
In the article, “Going the Extra Mile: Emotional and Commercial Imperatives in New Media
Work,” Helen Kennedy (2009) suggests, “like Terranova and Gill, that the autonomous
creative/enslaved victim binary stereotypes of new media workers that predominate in the
literature are inadequate, and that more nuanced understandings of the character of new
media work are needed.” Kennedy states:
Consequently, much of the new media literature focusing on work and production
processes continues to be characterized by dualism: whether waged or unwaged,