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Fair price?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by huntsie, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Did a profile on a guy who took over a $35 million golf/entertainment business. Wrote it as a news story for my paper. Fair enough.
    This guy also happens to be a friend of mine. He wanted an expanded profile that he could take to put as a promotional piece in some trade magazine. I wrote it: 3,100 or so words. They had mentioned they would pay me for the piece, but we never agreed on a specific price.
    I told them to pay me what they think is fair.
    What should I have asked for? What's fair?
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    How much extra time was spent expanding the story? How long was it when it ran in your paper?

    I remember the good old days when $1 a word was not uncommon. Anything between $250 and $1,000 would not surprise me.
  3. jrw

    jrw Member

    Would agree that $250-$1,000 is probably what you'll get paid. But assuming this guy has deep pockets and he's a friend of yours ... maybe you get closer to $1 per word. I've been in a similar situation before where I helped a friend out and never discussed the final figure. I ended up getting a final number that was about half what I normally received.

    Moral of the story: I always make sure to get a final figure in writing before I waste my time.
  4. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    To clarify, it's the trade magazine paying for the piece, and not your rich friend, right? If so, I imagine they probably have some sort of scale that you'll get paid. I have no idea about your pedigree and past work obviously, but I'd want at least $300 for a long, well-done profile like that. It's about $50 for a 500 word gamer where I am, so 3,000 words is a pretty significant piece.
  5. TimmyP

    TimmyP Member

    Does your paper have any problems with this?

    I assume it's more than simply expanding on what you wrote for the paper, but even so, that can be dicey. I could see my former paper saying "Get what you can", or "That's a fireable offense if you don't get it approved beforehand", or anything in between.

    Just curious.
  6. LevinTBlack

    LevinTBlack Member

    This was my question. It's a conflict of interest. You shouldn't have written the story for the paper due to your friendship and now you did a full profile on the side? It's one of those black and white situations. Some papers are completely fine with it and some will fire you on the spot for it. I personally do everything I can to avoid situations like this but not everyone is so big on eliminating bias'.
  7. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    First, quit your day job. You can't write about people, and then take their money. (Or take their money and then write about them.)

    If he's paying you, quit your job.

    If he arranged for the trade publication to pay you, quit your job.

    If you want to be in PR, be in PR. If you want to be in journalism, be in journalism. But you can't do both.
  8. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Well, definitely quit doing side gigs if you're not going to get a price up front!
  9. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    What suburbs said.
  10. ringer

    ringer Member

    Total conflict of interest (both pieces). You should get zero. And I hope you disclosed to your editor that you knew the guy.

    Since you've already breached ethics... who assigned the 3,000+ word piece? Your friend? If so, then you should charge him an advertising rate. How many pages of the magazine did it take? Call the sales dept at the magazine to figure out what advertisers pay for the equivalent space, and there's your answer.
  11. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Just to clarify...I was told of the business deal and forwarded it to our assigning editor. After four or five days of inaction on it, I took it upon myself to do the story as a news story...it"s a major transaction for a luxury golf course and associated properties.
    When the owner saw the story, he asked me if I could do something more lengthy and in depth for them...a vanity piece, if you will. I met with him again and did a more in depth profile. I should also clarify...this guy is not a friend I socialize with or deal with on a regular basis...we know and respect each other and are friendly when we are in contact over the course of covering events. I have not accepted any money for this transaction whatsoever and I guess now, I won"t. And frankly, I can do without the lectures on ethics...I\ve been in this business for 30 years and never have my ethics or honesty been questioned.
  12. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    If your paper is OK with it, take money for the piece. Tell the ethics police here to go fuck themselves.

    In this business, especially now, you get what you can.
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