Well, technically I dodged the bullet, because my services were rendered and paid for a while ago. But since I have freelanced for the LA Times before, I received a lovely notification in the mail yesterday informing me that my sometimes-employer had gone dodgy on me, and had claimed bankruptcy; and that, if I had not yet been paid for my work, there was a fair chance I might never be.
Now, that doesn’t impact my bottom line a bit as I’ve been too busy with the day job to freelance lately; but my heart breaks for the freelancers who may never see sizable paychecks they worked hard for.
A lot of people claim this is a necessary adjustment for the Times, and in fact I’m one of them: papers need to get leaner, meaner, savvier and more nimble to compete in today’s mediascape. But those changes could have been accomplished under steady and thoughtful guidance. Instead, we have hamhanded half-measures, quick-fixes and half-assing, and it’s not only the Times and Times employees getting screwed: it’s the city at large, and it’s the little folks like you & me who were counting on that $300 check to pay the car payment this month.
[EDIT] I remember there being some discussion about this on a freelancer mailing list I’m on, and someone indicated payments had been resurrected, per this mediabistro article here. Now that this mailing post-dates that announcement, I will assume payments are back off the table. Does anyone know for sure?