According to DWPub it is. They’re the company that serves up several gazillion press releases a day tailored by subject matter to an enormous database of journalists – kind of like Press Association but without the editorial middle man. It’s surveyed commissioning editors and reckons that almost one in five of them say between 50-75% of their content is generated by freelance.
I can well believe it, having seen the state of small print magazines these days and the general trend for larger presses and newspapers to lay off staff in favour of freelances. What the report doesn’t mention, though, is average rates paid for freelance work – there’s lots of anecodotal evidence that these are falling through the floor (I’ve had to compromise with a couple of regular outlets recently). More work for freelances doesn’t necessarily mean there’s any more chance of making a living wage at it.