That was a question I got the other day as I heard some colleagues telling me about their freelancing projects. "But aren't they cutting back their budgets?" someone asked.
"Oh, no. They've gotten bigger because they cut all their staff," the colleague said.
It was interesting because "Time Out New York" had this article about how to escape uncertainty and a dead-end job, by freelancing. I think it just adds to the uncertainty, but it is money coming in when you may have none.
So, what to believe? That publications are allocating more money for freelance, or paring it down because of the economy?
In my opinion, most of the freelancing will tend to be done by former workers who already have a relationship with the publication. While some writers/editors may have some animosity and not work for their old boss, there will be some work for others outside of the inner circle.
Is now the best time to be a freelancer? Probably not, but there are also many opportunities provided you market yourself and network wisely -- including with other writers. Referrals help, especially if they can't take on a project.