The inspiration for The Frontline Freelance Register (FFR) came out of a meeting in March 2013 between freelancer Emma Beals and Vaughan Smith, the founder of the Frontline Club.
The Frontline Club is a London-based charity and a gathering place for journalists and their friends that was built out of the British freelance news agency Frontline News Television. Frontline News TV pioneered the use of small format cameras in news gathering in the 1990’s and helped launch The Rory Peck Trust, Rory Peck being one of the agency’s founding cameramen.
Emma was looking for a sponsor to launch a freelance support group, run by freelancers, to find that Vaughan was already planning a representative body for them. He felt that freelancers lacked a collective voice in the news industry and wanted to build an organisation that could give up-and-coming freelancers a kite mark that would be recognised by their clients.
The Frontline Freelance Register (FFR) was launched by The Frontline Club Charitable Trust on 7 June 2013 with an initial freelance board consisting of Anna Teresea Day, Aris Roussinos, Ayman Oghanna, Balint Szlanko, Ed Giles, Emma Beals, Mani and Vaughan Smith.
FFR is funded and supported by The Frontline Club, whose trustees assume legal responsibility for it. Its freelance representation is delivered by a board elected by FFR registrants every 2 years. Today this volunteer board are Amanda Sperber (Chair), Robert Adams (Secretary), Laura Dixon, Cinzia D’Ambrosi, Valentina Sinis, Vaughan Smith and Hadani Ditmars.
As a representative association, created for and run by freelancers, FFR is open to international freelance journalists who are exposed to risk in their work and who adhere to its Code of Conduct. Enabled by The Frontline Club, FFR provides its members with a sense of community while championing their safety and professional practice.
FFR was one of the ACOS Alliance’s founding organizations and was instrumental in inspiring and shaping it in 2014. The first draft of the ACOS Alliance’s Freelance Journalist Safety Principles was provided by FFR which in turn had its roots in Frontline News Television’s code of conduct.
In 2016, FFR launched a Minimum Standard for Hostile Environment Training for Freelancers as an initiative to promote standardization within the news industry as a means to reduce the excessive cost to freelancers of this essential training. Today, The Frontline Club is delivering free theater-specific hostile environment and medical training to freelancers and Ukrainian journalists in Lviv to promote FFR.
The Frontline Club issues press cards to qualifying FFR registrants.
FFR for members by members
Safety and professional practice
Board of representatives elected by the members.
The FFR conducts surveys with its members to find out the state of freelancing. New survey is in for 2022.