Rascal's Universal Freelancer Agreement

This is an open, universal freelancer agreement, stated publicly in lieu of individual contracts. We consider this legally and ethically binding. Much of the wording for this open freelancer agreement came from the Defector Freelancer Policies. Read more about writing for Rascal, including how to pitch Rascal, here.

Rascal is an entity operating in New York, as such we commit to acting in full compliance with the policies laid out in the Freelance Isn’t Free Act: “Under the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, a freelance worker is any individual hired or retained as an independent contractor by a hiring party to provide services for compensation.” This page also outlines the ways in which Freelancers can seek restitution if Rascal fails to comply with the act in any way.


For the purposes of Rascal, all parties agree that “Freelancer” is defined as any media worker providing labor and/or services to Rascal News, including but not limited to writers, photographers, artists, video and/or audio producers, among others. All parties agree that “the publication” refers to Rascal News

Rascal currently does not have a contract for freelance work, but if the freelancer wants a contract beyond this universal agreement we will draw one up. 


Currently, our standard rate is $300 per piece. We hope to increase this rate as we become more sustainable. We accept pitches that begin at 1,200 words, and are open to high word count pieces. We are additionally open to negotiating the standard rate up for larger and deeply reported pieces. Reporting costs and incidental expenses will be negotiated when the pitch is accepted.

To facilitate payment, we will request invoices from freelancers after the final draft has been turned in so that if any unexpected adjustments come up, the freelancer can retain the right to renegotiate the rate before publication. Rascal will never pay below the rates initially agreed upon.  In compliance with the Freedom Isn’t Free Act, all freelance contributors will be paid within 30 days of invoicing. 

In the event that an assignment of an editorial nature (including but not limited to text, photo, design, video, or audio) is accepted or commissioned but cannot run in Rascal as anticipated, Rascal will pay 50% of the initial pay rate (called a “kill fee”). If a piece goes through a single round of edits (a round in this case is considered a Rascal editor offering edits and the freelancer making changes based on those edits) Rascal will pay 75% of the initial pay rate and will relinquish all rights to publishing the work. Additionally, if this occurs, and an accepted assignment is not published by Rascal at any stage of the editorial process after the freelancer’s first submission, the intellectual property is released back to the freelancer.

Intellectual and Property Rights

Rascal agrees that each accepted article is the sole property of the freelancer. The sale of the article for publication entitles Rascal to first North American serial rights. If Rascal has the opportunity to sell or lease the submission to another publication (for the purposes of, but not limited to, a medium such as an anthology, retrospective, or similar printed and/or digital collection) Rascal will make their best faith effort to notify the freelancer immediately with at least two notices in writing, preferably by email. Once the freelancer has been reached, a mutual decision to make the sale or approve the leasing rights will be reached between them. If the freelancer does not respond within fifteen days of the second email or by a deadline clearly stated in the emails, Rascal has the right to make a decision on the freelancer’s behalf. 

The freelancer retains the right to republish the work after 90 days of the date of publication in a book, anthology, collection, or similar product, with original credits and acknowledgements given to Rascal. The freelancer does not have the right to republish in another website, magazine, or similar publication. The freelancer may republish their work on a personal website or newsletter 48 hours after the time of original publication, with credits and acknowledgements given to Rascal, including a link to the original publication on Rascal

If the freelancer has the opportunity to sell, lease, reissue, or otherwise use the material first published by Rascal in another medium, including but not limited to film, audio, or television production, they retain the right to do so as per their own discretion and with original credits and acknowledgements given to Rascal

Pitching, Assigning, Editing, and Publishing Process

Rascal maintains a commitment to promoting diversity and equity among its freelancers.

All pitching and submissions guidelines will be clearly detailed and made public on the Rascal site via the open freelancer agreement. Contact information for the editorial team will be made public, and pitches will all be directed through a single email: pitches@rascal.news

An assignment from a Rascal editor, or a submission from a freelancer, is considered accepted upon email confirmation from the editor on the story. There might be a period of time where Rascal works with the freelancer to refine their pitch to suit Rascal’s remit and needs. 

Freelancers will be directed to this agreement as soon as possible following email correspondence. After an assignment has been accepted, editors shall formally notify the freelancer of the acceptance or rejection of subsequent drafts/submissions within two weeks. Rascal reserves the right to ask for up to three rounds of edits. 

When a freelancer proposes an idea for an article that has not previously come to the attention of Rascal, the editors will not assign a story based on that proposal to someone else without permission from the proposer and payment of a mutually agreed-upon fee between the editor and original proposer. However, this does not apply to ideas that are in Rascal’s general domain, and often pitches will be similar to stories that Rascal is already working on. Rascal will act in good faith to notify the freelancer of conflicts as soon as possible.

Rascal will provide the freelancer a final version of their work before publication for final review, as it will be seen on the site. The freelancer will have the right to make changes of any nature, within reason, before printing commences and/or publication occurs. 

In the event that the freelancer and the Rascal editorial collective cannot reach an agreement in good faith about a change in the editorial work before publication, the freelancer retains the right to remove their name from said work. 

Rascal reserves the right to make any final, minor copy edits before printing during the proofing process. Rascal commits to making no substantive edits to a freelancer’s work without first notifying the freelancer of the change and confirming their approval in writing.

Other notes 

Rascal will provide a one-year Party-member subscription to all freelancers with work on the site. 

Rascal will make every effort to work out any freelancer grievances on an informal basis.

Any edits to this open agreement will be recorded below as a changelog.