On Being a Journalist in 2014

flaunt-logo-bigRegarding the state of journalism today, may I present this email exchange between myself, and an editor from Flaunt Magazine:

—-

Hi Andrew —

Thank you for your kind, albeit short-notice proposal to have me write 600 words for the Art & Technology issue of Flaunt Magazine. What a shame your generosity failed to include paying me.

I’m an adult, and have been working as a professional journalist for over ten years. I’m not seeking an internship. Thus, I shall pass on your offer of a “springboard for future (paying) gigs” with a magazine that feels that the quality of the writing within its pages is worth $0.

May I remind you that you sought me out, noting that you were a “big fan” of my work. Why, then, would you assume that I’d be willing to write anything, particularly something so incredibly last-minute, for PRECISELY ZERO MONEY? What on earth would possibly compel me to spend the bulk of my day researching this artist in order to conduct a phone interview with her at 9am tomorrow morning, and then compose a 600 word story for your magazine—were it not for financial remuneration?

I’m fascinated that you find it such an honor to write for your magazine, simply because it is “internationally distributed” and “award winning;” and yet, you cannot afford to pay the people who write the copy in said magazine. What sorts of awards have you garnered? The coveted, Best Magazine at Duping Poor Writers Into Working for Free award?

How is it that you spend so much money on production that you don’t have money leftover to pay writers, but then magically DO have money (I dare ask how little) once they’re no longer “first time” contributors?

If you needed samples of my work, surely you could have found them on my web site, on the New York Times* web site, or in any of the other numerous publications for which I have written over the past decade.

Best of luck finding some poor writer to exploit, for free.

-Dan Crane

*Internationally distributed and award winning!

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On Nov 17, 2014, at 10:37 AM, andrew stark <xxxx@flauntmagazine.com> wrote:
Hi, Dan –

This Jill piece will run about 600 words. This is our Art & Technology Issue, which is one of our biggest and most popular issues of the year, to be featured at this year’s Art Basel Miami.

And Jill, although a reasonably short piece, will be one of our cover features.

Now the unfortunate fine print: FLAUNT is an entirely independent magazine, so most of our budget goes into production. That said, we typically don’t have enough to pay first-time contributors, but see this as a springboard for future (paying) gigs. However, FLAUNT is internationally distributed and award-winning, and widely regarded for its editorial and artwork, and I still hope you consider contributing.

Please let me know your thoughts, and I look forward to hearing back.
Thanks so much!

Andrew

A N D R E W S T A R K
P: +1 323 836 1046
xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com
F L A U N T M A G A Z I N E
P: +1 323 836 1000 | F: +1 323 836 0102
1422 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

—-

From: Daniel Crane
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:03:01 -0800
To: Admin <xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com>
Subject: Re: FLAUNT/Feature

Hi Andrew,

I could probably swing that, though I suppose it depends on how long of a piece it would be for?

Also, can I ask what your rate is?

Thanks!
D

Sent from my iPhone

—-

On Nov 17, 2014, at 9:48 AM, andrew stark <xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com> wrote:

Hi, Dan –
Any interest in a phone interview with artist Jill Magid tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. PST?

I know it’s short notice, but that’s often the case with magazines.

Please let me know.

Thanks so much!

Andrew

A N D R E W S T A R K
P: +1 323 836 1046
xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com
F L A U N T M A G A Z I N E
P: +1 323 836 1000 | F: +1 323 836 0102
1422 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

—-

From: Dan Crane
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:11:10 -0800
To: Admin <xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com>
Subject: Re: FLAUNT/Feature

Hey there – Just checking back in on this…any updates?
Thanks!
D
_______________________
http://www.dancrane.com
@dancranehere

—-

On Nov 11, 2014, at 6:46 PM, andrew stark <xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com> wrote:

Hey!

Will keep you updated as details roll in.

Thanks!
Andrew

Sent from my iPhone

—-

On Nov 11, 2014, at 6:38 PM, “Dan Crane” wrote:

Hey Andrew –

Good to hear from you. My schedule’s a little tight right now, so it sort of depends on where/when and number of words?

Let me know and hopefully we can work something out!

Thanks,
D
_______________________
http://www.dancrane.com
@dancranehere

—-

On Nov 11, 2014, at 3:25 PM, andrew stark <xxxx@flauntmagazine.com> wrote:

Hey, Dan –

Big fan of your work.

I’m an editor at FLAUNT Magazine, an international award-winning arts and culture publication based in Los Angeles.

Any interest in interviewing designer Brian Lichtenberg for our upcoming issue?

Let me know, and we can hash out the details.

Thanks, man!
Andrew

A N D R E W S T A R K
P: +1 323 836 1046
xxxx@flauntmagazine.com
F L A U N T M A G A Z I N E
P: +1 323 836 1000 | F: +1 323 836 0102
1422 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

One comment

  1. Heather

    Thank you for this, made my day. I’ve run into this same scenario many times, expected to write for free, as though it’s some privilege just to be published. Unfortunate thing, so many journalists will write for free for clippings that it bamboozles the system for those of us who’ve earned our keep.

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