Horror stories from Vice freelancers

Vice, the media powerhouse said to be worth upwards of $5bn and "sloshing with cash" thanks to annual revenues in the $900m range, treats its freelancers badly, according to Columbia Journalism Review. Work goes unpaid, payment is late when it comes, assignments are rescinded, and freelancers seem generally expected to work like salaried staff, pitching in on tasks related to their work without further compensation.

Yardena Schwartz:

Over the course of nearly a dozen emails and phone calls, that same producer asked Barzegar to coordinate the filming of police and counter-terror units, filming inside a prison, gaining access to a de-radicalization program, and interviewing a former ISIS recruit in the Paris suburbs, among other requests. Again, every time Barzegar asked about her pay rate, her question was tactfully avoided.

Maya Vidon and Karine Barzegar are both seasoned French journalists. Their work regularly appears in French print and television outlets. Vidon has extensive experience as a Paris fixer for various English-language news organizations, including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Globe & Mail, Vanity Fair, and Al Jazeera. Karine has worked as a fixer, reporter, and producer for the AP, BBC, CBS News, Channel 4, and the Chicago Tribune, among other news organizations.

In their combined 40 years of freelance journalism, they said they never encountered the kind of treatment they experienced with Vice.

"Not edgy," writes Karen Wirsig, a Vice union organizer. "Just shitty."