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Pay Question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by NINE, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. NINE

    NINE New Member

    I've got a quick question.

    Believe it or not, I've never done freelance work. But I was recently offered a freelancing job to write for a new website, and I just want to ask about the payment they are offering. They've offered a pay scale based on words..... all based around the idea of $100 for a 1,000 word piece. They said average pieces will run about 1,000 words (800-1200) and will require 2-3 sources to be interviewed/quoted. They would pay $100 for such a piece.

    How is that in comparison to "industry standard"? In your experience, is that an average pay? I just wanted to check....

    Thank you all so much.
  2. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    I typically charge $50 for a typical gamer, but assuming these are feature-style pieces you'd be putting out, I think you're in the ballpark. Seems to be fair compensation.
  3. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Standard is a hard thing to quantify, of course, but 10 cents a word is lousy for freelancing -- especially given the sourcing they want. I'd like to see that kind of legwork come in at 25 cents a word at the very, very least.

    But I'll be curious to read what others think.
  4. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    That's dirt cheap by a few hundred dollars. I'd be embarrassed to offer that kind of assignment to someone and offer that pay.
  5. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Depends on the depth of the stories, but it doesn't sound so bad to me, for a Web site anyways. Personally, I've had freelance assignmenrs range from $30 to $75, typically less than 1000 words and 2 voices.
  6. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Seems OK to me, provided that you're doing mostly profile work, you have a decent amount of experience in the field and they're giving you assignments as opposed to you having to provide your own. If it's investigative / news work though, it does seem a little light.
  7. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    If you can knock out 1,000 words and talk to two or three people without leaving your desk, $100 is almost fair. I freelance for three outlets regularly. Two pay around $50 for a game story, which is actually a little low for the amount of time I invest in getting to the game early, sending in score updates throughout and then writing the story.

    Third place, however, pays $300 a story. Some are pretty easy where I make a couple of calls and write 500 words. Others are a lot more complicated, with several sources I interview in person and then write 1,000 to 2,000 words. Yeah, those should pay more, but those easy ones should actually pay less, so it all evens out. It's pretty good money when I have two or three stories a month, and I write at least one a month and have for several years. I'm good with it.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I think it really depends on the situation. For someone just getting into the business writing for a Patch.com site, that $100 is more than fair. For someone with 20 years in the industry and a personal brand and a few thousand Twitter followers and all that who is writing for Slate or Salon.com, $300-$500 would be more reasonable to expect.

    The subject matter and reporting level are also up for debate. And, more over, I'd be more inclined to take a story for a cheaper price if I knew it could lead to more, better-paying gigs with that publication in the future. If it's a one-time thing, I'd probably see if I could squeeze every dime out for that one story.
  9. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    For as much legwork as it sounds like they want you to do, it sounds like they're being cheap. However, I work at a place that would probably try to pay you even less for the same story.
  10. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Yes, this was my other thought. When one of my buddies was in college, he got hired to do a freelance piece on irregularities in the budget office in a town for a local small daily. He gave them 2,000 words that probably could have won an award, had it been eligible for it (freelancers can't nominate their own work to the panel). The paper paid him $75 for his efforts.

    If you're a freelancer though, you don't really have much leverage, unfortunately.
  11. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Not necessarily. It's a business transaction like anything else, and writers too often are just "happy to get the work" and don't blink at the price. The guy on the other side of the phone is running a business too, trying to get maximum product at minimal cost. How do you know he can't pay you more? If he values your work, perhaps he can. But you gotta ask, and ask early.
  12. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Please tell me where I write a 1,000 word feature for $300-$400. I'm not being sarcastic, I'd really like to know. I'm sure SI and GQ pay at least that much, but even features I've done for big, national sites haven't paid that well, so if there are places the average poster on this board could work for pay like that I'd be pleasantly surprised.
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