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A Freelancers Guide to Protections: Personal, Professional, and Financial

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

Women identified freelancers and independent journalists are among the most vulnerable when it comes to how we work. Freelancers aren’t often aware of employment laws that could protect us, media outlets and production companies rarely provide us with a contact in Human Resources and we definitely don’t accrue paid sick leave or have access to employee health insurance or staff retirement accounts.

The Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) and the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) present A Freelancers Guide to Protections: Personal, Professional, and Financial Considerations. This one-hour panel discussion on freelancer protections will be followed by breakout room conversations led by our panelists. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, founder of Troll Busters, will moderate a conversation with Jéneen Perkins, a financial consultant specializing in self-employment and small business finances, and AIR Managing Director Amanda Hickman who leads AIR’s Code of Fair Practices initiatives. The conversation will focus on the unique vulnerability that women face while navigating careers in journalism that often put us in the public eye.


The Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) brings together working journalists, journalism educators and researchers from across the country to share resources, support, training and information about issues that affect women in our field. We meet in person and online in an atmosphere of mutual support and enthusiastic interest in one another’s differing experiences and journalistic dreams.


AIR identifies, cultivates, and connects mission-driven story makers from across the U.S. and the world. We are committed to expanding the ecosystem where producers can do their best work. The 1,400+ journalists, podcasters, story editors, audio producers, documentarians, engineers, sound designers and media entrepreneurs who energize AIR’s creative community span 46 states and 30 countries worldwide. AIR’s training and mentoring programs enrich and expand an ecosystem where independents can do their best work, advocate for their needs and build thriving careers in audio.

Women* means all women-identified individuals, including women of color, trans women, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals. 


Dr. Michelle Ferrier Headshot

Dr. Michelle Ferrier

Award-winning journalist and Founder of Troll Busters
Dr. Michelle Ferrier is the founder of Troll Busters, a just-in-time rescue service for writers and journalists experiencing online harassment. She is the executive director of the Media Innovation Collaboratory, a pre-accelerator for student innovation and startup media enterprises. Ferrier was named one of the top 20 journalism innovation educators in 2018. She is a digital content architect with more than 30 years of experience in media entrepreneurship and new media technologies and in building new curricular pathways in digital media, media innovation and entrepreneurship, engaged journalism and virtual work. Dr. Ferrier is an award-winning columnist and author, most recently around her online harassment research. She is the principal investigator and author of the 2018 report Attacks and Harassment: The Impact on Female Reporters and their Work, published by TrollBusters and the International Women’s Media Foundation. She is featured in the Committee to Protect Journalists 2016 edition of Attacks on the Press, where she wrote “Progression of Hate,” a chapter that tells her own story of hate mail attacks and the birth of as a solution to new forms of harassment. Ferrier has presented before the United Nations on World Press Freedom Day, as a keynote speaker at the Online News Association and as a panelist at the News Impact Summit hosted by the European Journalism Centre on the growing dangers for women journalists online. Ferrier is the former president of Journalism That Matters and the creator of the Create or Die series of startup gatherings for media innovation in underserved and underrepresented communities. She is the principal investigator for the Media Deserts Project (, which uses big data, machine learning and geographic information system technologies to examine places in the United States where fresh news and information are lacking.
Photograph of AIR's Managing Director Amanda Hickman

Amanda Hickman

Managing Director at the Association of Independents in Radio
Amanda Hickman is Managing Director of AIR, where she leads our work on fair practice, contracts and rates. Amanda has a long history working at the intersection of journalism and civic engagement, as well as working with journalists and newsrooms to foster creative approaches to storytelling, data analysis and forging new relationships with audiences. Amanda is also a member of the Unicode consortium and a mentor and editor with Emojination. She takes great pride in bringing 🧷🧵 and 🧶 to keyboards everywhere.
Jéneen Perkins Headshot

Jéneen Perkins

Financial Counsellor
Jéneen Perkins has studied financial concepts for money, credit standards, and taxation since 2002, and continues educational pursuits to "stay fresh” in the industry. Jéneen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Cardinal Stritch and Master’s Degree in Accounting from Keller Graduate School of Management. In August of 2011, she launched Eclat Enterprises, LLC an accounting firm centered around small businesses and the self-employed. She also has experience as a business mentor, corporate accountant and an independent tax preparer.


Will this panel be recorded?

The first hour of this panel will be recorded. The second half of the discussion will occur in break out rooms and will not be recorded.

Is this event open to the public?

At this time, the event is limited to members of JAWS and members of AIR.

Do I need to be a woman-identified to attend this event?

All women-identified, trans, and non-binary individuals are invited to attend this event.

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