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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What is a writer's work worth?

That is the question posed in a thought-provoking column by senior journalist Kelly McBride on Poynter. She wrote her piece after freelance journalist Nate Thayer wrote on his blog about how The Atlantic magazine tried to get him to write for free.

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".