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Two platforms aiming to help freelancers and news editors connect and work together have teamed up today, as PayDesk announced it has acquired NewsFixed.

Their joint network of freelancers now includes around 2000 journalists in areas from the Middle East to Africa to Europe, and PayDesk co-founder Morgan Sowden said the platform is also looking to grow the number of non-breaking news stories its reporters cover.

"At the moment most of the demand is when something happens, for example like in Nepal where nobody really has a journalist that they can contact," he told

This isn't a job creation exercise, it's not about numbersMorgan Sowden, PayDesk
"Then they'll reach out to somebody like PayDesk and NewsFixed to get hold of a freelance and immediately cover that breaking news. And what we'd really like to do is to say no actually... there's a very broad range of journalism that we can cover."

PayDesk's media network primarily consists of broadcasters such as France 24 and CBS, pitching itself as a one stop shop for editors who can find freelancers, commission and pay them all through the same site.

Having launched in February, PayDesk charges media organisations a 25 per cent commission on each assignment, and expects them to pay the journalists the same day the job is completed.

Unlike similar platform Journohub, the service is free for freelancers, and every reporter on its books has to undergo a strict vetting process, having their references and previous work checked.

With the NewsFixed reporters on board, PayDesk is now also in talks with new media businesses who might not have the resources to send their own staff on assignments abroad.

But as breaking news is not the only type of journalism its 'employees' – the freelancers – have in their portfolios, Sowden hopes PayDesk can now also work with outlets looking to cover other events, like a technology conference or a red carpet event, for example.

"[But] this isn't a job creation exercise, it's not about numbers," he said, explaining PayDesk will not necessarily approve every journalists who signs up.

With quality over quantity in mind, PayDesk is aware that the more journalists there are in one particular place, the fewer assignments will be available.

PayDesk's ultimate goal, said Sowden, is to become the primary source of income for reporters who are using the platform.

"Our heart is with the freelancer, we care more about the freelancers than the clients almost because you know how hard it is to be a journalist, especially a freelance journalist," he said.

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