McBride says the internet has totally messed up a simple pay scale. She explains:
Back in the day, freelancers got paid roughly by the word. Sometimes it was as low as 10 cents a word. Everyone was shooting for $1 a word, and some people got more than that. Hotshots might get $10,000-$20,000 for a fabulous magazine piece. There was a lot of variation, but there was also a standard rate that people were shooting for.
Now, trying to pin down how much a writer should be paid is an impossible task. It’s simply unknowable.
Read the column in its entirety here: "Most everyone gets asked to write for free, only some people say yes".
And read the blog post that started the whole debate here: "A Day in the Life of a Freelance Journalist—2013".