Brooklyn Startup Will Insure Freelance Journalists In War Zones

Storyhunter, a Brooklyn-based startup aimed to connect freelance foreign correspondents with news organizations around the globe, launched the beta version of its site on Tuesday, according to the Columbia Journalism Review.

While the company's main focus is to simply bring vetted freelancers and news outlets together to create compelling content, Storyhunter will also provide insurance for their reporters in conflict zones.

"The sad truth is that, for $20 or $30 a day, all freelancers who are actively doing projects for media companies can be insured,” Storyhunter co-founder and CEO Jaron Gilinsky said in an interview with CJR. “But that’s not being done. We’re more than happy to pay $20 or $30 a day for a person who’s risking their neck for one of our stories.”

The dangers war correspondents face without the full backing of a major new outlet has been a hot issue since the killings of American freelancers James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria this summer. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 49 percent of the 72 journalists killed in Syria have been freelance and 100 percent of their murderers have walked free.

In September, Agence France-Presse announced it would no longer publish stories from freelancers in Syria, stating that they could not accept work from those who "travel to places where [they themselves] would not venture."

"Freelancers have paid a high price in the Syrian conflict. High enough," AFP's Michèle Léridon wrote. "We will not encourage people to take that kind of risk."

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