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Paid by the word

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by audreyld, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. audreyld

    audreyld Guest

    Quick question, folks.

    When you get paid by the word, what determines the final word count? Is it how many I submit, or how many get published?
  2. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    How many get published, unless it's a preset limit. It depends on the paper and/or company.
  3. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Never been in this position. How tempting is it to not use any words over five letters?
  4. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    And no contractions.
  5. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Ask RokSki.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    The company I do freelance communications for pays per word submitted. However, most papers that do it pay by published word...
  7. CentralIllinoisan

    CentralIllinoisan Active Member

    Apparently. :D
  8. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I'd give them about 10 inches of the following before I even got to the score:

    So I said to myself 'Buck,' I call myself Buck on account of that's my name, Buck, I said, 'Buck, the Gazette has hired you to freelance the Murray's Bar & Grille Wombats against the Nails By Claire Yellow Menace in the city league softball championship, and by gum you had best get yourself over to the ball field.'
    Now, for those of you not in the know, 'freelance' is a fancy term newspaper folk use to refer to the practice of hiring people such as yours truly at what turns out to be a below-minimum-wage hourly rate to report on things, such as recreational league softball and such.
    So, having gotten this choice assignment, I headed over to Crazy Homeless People Park, where the softball fields are. It's over at West Tarnation Road and Bumblescrew Avenue. You've probably seen it, although if you are not headed to Crazy Homeless People Park, I don't reckon there's much call to be out in that section of town.
    I've often wondered why they put the town's largest park, and most of its softball fields, in such an inconvenient location. I mean, you would think they would put the softball fields in a more central location, if you catch my drift. There are a lot folks who play softball around these parts, and many of them are darn fine softball players.
    We've all heard the tales of Leopold Chubnick, who once hit 27 home runs for the Police Department's legendary Fascist Bullyboys team. And don't forget Dazzling Danny Wufner, who recorded 18 consecutive strikeouts, all on third-strike passed balls, over two games.
    So there I was pulling into the parking lot at Crazy Homeless People Park on a perfect Friday night for softball — a hot July night with a barely perceptible wind out of the northwest at 2 mph. It was 102 degrees with 98 percent humidity. The PM10 pollution was so high you could taste the grit in your mouth, and the ozone level had choked an old man to death while he waited for a bus that afternoon.
    The tens of people in attendance knew they were in for a treat because the Wombats had shown up wearing their seldom-seen green uniforms, and some of the Menace players were offering pregame pedicures at $10 a pop — doing a little freelancing of their own, I reckon.
  9. audreyld

    audreyld Guest

    My instructions were to give them between 450-500 words, but I was wondering what happens if they run out of space and chop it to 300, or combine my two stories into one, or other such silliness.

    Thanks for the info.
  10. lono

    lono Active Member

    If they've instructed to do 450-500 words, that's what they should pay you for, period.

    If you do a great story and they slice the story because the news hole changed, that's not your fault.
  11. joe

    joe Active Member

    500 words disappears in a heartbeat.
  12. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    If it is a magazine assignment, the pay will usually be determined before you give them copy. Just ask. Stick to their approximate word count. But it is based on how much they have budgeted, not the exact number of words you come to them with. So, for example, they might be offering $1 a word for 500 words, even though they told you to come in at 400 to 500 words, in which case they will be paying you $500, even if you come in at 476 words. The word count is a way to get you to write something that fits their page map and space they have allocated. The pay should be set in advance, and it's OK to ask to be sure.

    Also, I am moving this to the journalism board where it might fit a little better..
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