The annual Canadian Association of Journalists conference is less than a month away and this year’s event features some special programming for freelancers. According to CAJ Toronto president Brent Jolly, the CAJ has been working to bring more discussion about freelance journalism into this year’s conference, which is happening from May 3 to 5 at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Winnipeg.

On day one of the conference, CMG Freelance is sponsoring a one-hour session dedicated to freelancing. “Going solo: 411 boot camp for the freelance journalist” features freelancers Kalli Anderson, Alison Motluk, Justin Ling, and Sunny Dhillon. They’ll be offering advice on contract negotiation, improving your productivity, and other aspects of working as a freelancer. The session will be moderated by CMG Freelance president Don Genova.

On day two of the conference, a session sponsored by the Aga Khan Foundation will explore how journalists can tell meaningful stories even if they’re employed outside of a traditional newsroom. The session “Wanted: Your journalism skills for jobs outside the newsroom” will feature guests Rosemary Quipp, Victoria Ptashnick and Emily Cain.

There are freelancers involved in other conference panels as well, including Leah Hennel and Maryam Shah. And there will be opportunities for freelancers to get some one-on-one coaching with Ramon Escobar (CNN), Jana Pruden (Globe and Mail), and U.S.-based writing coach Chuck Haga.

Jolly said another session that will be of interest to freelancers is the journalism “Dragons Den.” Participants will have the chance to pitch ideas to senior news editors and producers for feedback. The editors and producers involved in that event will be announced soon.

The conference wraps up on Saturday night with a gala dinner and the annual CAJ awards presentations. Early bird registration rates are available before April 26. For more information or to register, check out the conference page on the CAJ website.

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