jun 25

A Week In The Life of Navel-Gazing

NYC puked all over itself this week over this question: Should you write for free? (My answer, which is meaningless without a wordy explanation, but nonetheless: No, except for limited circumstances.) For anyone who cares, I'll fulfill my duty as link rounder upper: Simon Dumeno in Ad Age probably got the ball rolling, but Foster Kamer at Gawker picked it up and pissed off everyone, most of all Rachelle Hruska (whose Guest of a Guest had a Styles profile last weekend) who gave the best smack-down you've seen in a while, even though Maura Johnston dissented/quibbled, but meanwhile Emily Gould was forcefully explaining why she writes for free, and by that time everyone with a Tumblr had something to say about everything from The Awl to HuffPo. The end.


Curating for free.

posted by katiebakes at 12:44 PM on June 25, 2009

you calling that a "smackdown" is the most predictably off-the-mark, populist-learning assessment there is. i've got nothing to add to that except "damn, sam, i love a rex when he rains."

posted by fek at 12:46 PM on June 25, 2009

And I like the way you say "populist-leaning" as an insult.

posted by Rex at 12:49 PM on June 25, 2009

in other news, i'm gifting everyone who's written anything about this with a copy of "the anarchist cookbook" and a kelly clarkson CD.

posted by fek at 12:51 PM on June 25, 2009

I think it's funny that the person who railed against the trend of unpaid editorial contributions calls the nuanced defense of it "populist leaning."

And I know you don't want me fact-checking your Ryan Adams ref...

(Sorry, Fek.)

posted by Rachel Sklar at 2:15 PM on June 25, 2009

No. Unless you're just starting out. Related: I need an intern.

posted by mat at 2:15 PM on June 25, 2009

sklargatz - let's get one thing straight: "railed" wouldn't be the term to describe what i did, which, more than anything else, is "identified." as it's been made pretty evident by several, uh, parties involved in this thing, there're worse things to die out than "journalism." like charlie's angels. or people getting their shit ghostwritten. or, as rachel would have it, sufficient "fact checking" (AKA, walking the press line).

posted by fek at 2:28 PM on June 25, 2009

oh, yeah: more importantly, his stance of supporting unpaid contributions isn't the "populist" part. it's the stance supporting pretty girls. WOAH. actually, it's the stance calling it a smackdown because hruska's got bigger, uh, guns than i do in regards to reach. mah bad.

posted by fek at 2:30 PM on June 25, 2009

C'mon, that's bullshit. I'm the one who publicly criticizes GofG for banality and has a tepid relationship with Rachelle. If anything, the reverse of your accusation is true.

(For whatever record this accounts for: I think GofG is a brilliant business move, but find it editorially gross, which is probably also why it's brilliant...)

So it's really a suckerpunch to say that I'm "taking her side" because she's... pretty? Really? That's your response? Keep it up.

posted by Rex at 2:36 PM on June 25, 2009

oh, i was kidding, and i told you that earlier. "bigger, uh, guns than i do in regards to reach" was a shot at who's got more fans, not looks. we all well know by now that my jeans (apple-bottom fit) are no match for her fur-lined boots.

posted by fek at 3:09 PM on June 25, 2009

Man that whole thing was so tedious, especially to those of us who write who have jobs. Just accept it's like photography, and that you'll never make a living off of it. Go get a job, and then, magically, writing becomes far more rewarding that it was when you were whining about making a living off of it.

posted by RIck Webb at 8:46 PM on June 25, 2009

Do any of you people actually exist? Or is this some kind of not-so-intersting performance art?

posted by Theo at 11:51 PM on June 25, 2009

Sounds like a similar discussion I just had about "spec work" in agency culture. I don't do it anymore, or haven't in quite a long time. You do spec work, because you have no credibility, with the hope you can build that cred. over time. I know it erodes the value of what everyone creates. This is the "American Dream". Build your empire on the backs of the hungry and naive. No thanks.

posted by taulpaul at 12:42 AM on June 26, 2009

On a side note: Rex, can you send me that $10 check for my 5 comments here from last month? I'm going to cash it at the UNBank, so it's really like $8.25. Thanks!

posted by taulpaul at 12:51 AM on June 26, 2009

Rick's comparison to photography is interesting here....

posted by Rex at 8:42 AM on June 26, 2009

I'm writing for cash, at three different gigs, one of which is full time, seven days a week, sans college degree. I wrote for free at one point supporting profitable (or: previously profitable) enterprises. Anybody who says it can't be done right now is full of shit; it's just incredibly hard to (and takes, more than anything, a decent deal of luck).

posted by fek at 2:58 PM on June 26, 2009

"Rick's comparison to photography is interesting here...."

Like how iStockPhoto kills Getty stock image, which will both be killed by getting a free image use from a CC licensed Flickr Photo?

posted by www.taulpaul.com at 5:39 PM on June 26, 2009

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