Freelance pubradio people have been smacked hard recently, with the cancellation of freelance friendly shows, and NPR’s slashing of freelance acquisition budgets at their remaining series. Seems same trend towards “the free in freelance” is happening to writers, LA Times “Freelance writings unfortunate new model“:
Trails.com will pay $15 for articles about the outdoors. Livestrong.com wants 500-word pieces on health for $30, or less. In this mix, the 16 cents a word offered by Green Business Quarterly ends up sounding almost bounteous, amounting to more than $100 per submission.
Other publishers pitch the grand opportunities they provide to “extend your personal brand” or to “showcase your work, influence others.” That means working for nothing, just like the sailing magazine that offers its next editor-writer not a single doubloon but, instead, the opportunity to “participate in regattas all over the country.”
What’s sailing away, a decade into the 21st century, is the common conception that writing is a profession — or at least a skilled craft that should come not only with psychic rewards but with something resembling a living wage.