If you haven’t read Nate Thayer’s blog post, A Day in the Life of a Freelance Journalist—2013, you should.
For those who don’t know (as myself prior to reading this), Nate Thayer “is an award winning freelance investigative journalist and correspondent with 25 years of foreign reporting experience, with a focus on Asia, and a specialization in modern Cambodian political history, a noted expertize on the Khmer Rouge, and a current focus on North Korea.”
They wanted to “repurpose” the article.
Simple enough, right?
After Nate had agreed to the offer, this was the response from The Atlantic:
“We unfortunately can’t pay you for it, but we do reach 13 million readers a month.“
Understand that a few years back, the Atlantic had offered Nate a staff job that required him to write six articles a year for a retainer of $125,000. Fast forward to today, and The Atlantic’s rate for original, reported stories is $100, but The Atlantic had ran out of freelance money for the month.
Nate paints a grim picture of journalism in 2013. Well, he really doesn’t. It’s the conversation that occurs via email between him and The Atlantic that paints the picture.
I do understand The Atlantic’s claim of getting exposure. Freelance writing and guest posting is a great way to get your name out there, but it can’t end there. Audience is everything–for both writers and blogs. At some point, something has got to give. Big blogs and websites can’t continue to bring in ad revenue while the content–why people read their blog in the first place–is barely paid for.
This is why we pay our authors at ChurchMag. Do we pay a lot? It depends on your definition I suppose (up to $15). We are in no way near the size of The Atlantic, but most of our authors are happy enough to have an awesome audience and make a few bucks on the side.
Will we ever pay our authors more? Yes.
The model I’ve set forth for ChurchMag insures that as the revenue grows, so do our author payouts. ChurchMag is a “cash cow” to no one. In fact, I am the lowest paid author–and I own ChurchMag!
If you’re interested in writing for us, we would love to hear from you.
The State of Online Publishing
Considering all of this, it makes me wonder about the state of online publishing. On one hand, anyone can publish an ebook, start a blog, and get noticed (Build a platform? Find a tribe?); which is awesome!
At the same time, there is so much content being published, inflation if you will, the value of writing has decreased.
Has the online publishing bubble popped?