He offers some good insights about the media business, including this nugget of truth from Ann Friedman.
The digital-first publications, even those with massive amounts of venture capital, have decent rationale for their pay rates. The print outfits, however…. “I actually think it would be possible for old-school print outlets to pay better if they wouldn’t over-assign or if they didn’t have super-fancy real estate in Midtown,” Friedman said. “The notion that media is both a struggling industry and a glamour profession is totally ridiculous. If you’re a struggling industry that’s worried about declining advertising revenues, fucking pack up, move to Brooklyn, and stop triple-assigning every issue.”
He also shared some of his freelance pay, which is illuminating both because it is all over the map and because some of it was not bad:
The Verge paid him $750 and $1,500
Penthouse paid $750 and $1500
ESPN’s Grantland paid him $250
SBNation’s Longform unit paid $1,750
and an airline magazine paid a little less than $1 a word.
He also ghostwrote a self-help guide for a magazine for $40 an hour and helped launch a web site for $10,000 and “a little bit of equity.”
Nice. This pretty much jives with my experience as a freelancer, except that as someone focused on the business world (and finance, to some extent), I have always been able to land some regular contracts. I think they’re crucial to making a living.