What’s on the iPod: Almost Famous by Eminem
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I need a few fewer weekends that leave me feeling more spent than the work week. Once again we had a slew of plans, parties, and interruptions to what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend. Friday night was blessedly quiet. We watched old movies and fell asleep early. I think. I can’t remember. There was just too much going on this weekend.
We had his work party Saturday, so that meant I needed to figure out what to wear. I had the top — just needed the pants. Luckily I’d seen some on sale, so the trip to the mall was quick and planned out in advance. Then home to make hors oeuvres, and then off to the party.
Sunday was rough. Since we were out late Saturday night, that hour time change hit me like a hangover. I dragged my carcass out of bed at 8, missed church entirely, but did manage some liquid energy from Starbucks. Then he and I headed to a few open houses before heading to the city for our meditation group. There went Sunday.
The entire weekend, I was dogged by an article I’d read at TheAtlantic.com. I’m a long-time subscriber of the magazine, so it was shocking to see this particular piece, shared with me by Gabriella (thank you!), in which the writer, an Atlantic staffer, describes his reasons why he’s not paying writers much, if anything, for digital content. His brief “I get where you’re coming from” attempt at siding with working writers before yanking the rug out from under us was insulting given the context of the article. The article in summary: “We have budgets and we can’t pay you for as much content as we need.”
Boo f*cking hoo.
The author, Alexis Madrigal, tries to convince us, using numbers and what he says are current Internet strategies, why his publication just isn’t in the business of paying much for content, when in fact they’ve done so in print form since the genesis of their magazine. He uses emotional ploys of his own starving-artist phase to win us over. However, those of us who have starved and found our way through it beyond getting a 9-to-5 weren’t exactly convinced. Less convincing still is the same old, reworked, overused bullshit saying just how much exposure we’ll get for working for free, especially for the likes of The Atlantic.
Did he just say that?
Yes sir, you too can have 80,000 unique hits on an article. Know what that means? You can pay off your car, your electric bill, your taxes….. because you know, hits are like cash. Apparently. Why else would anyone think it’s such a superb deal?
What sucks most is that he thinks this digital exposure is going to lead us directly to wealth and notoriety. Tell me — if every publication out there adopts a HuffPo business philosophy of pillaging via “exposure” where exactly are the paid jobs we’re to attract going to come from?
There’s a gaping chasm in your philosophy, Mr. Madrigal. What’s more, you haven’t said why it is you haven’t made the same compromise.
Here’s the real problem with Madrigal’s thought process. Right now, it’s the freelance writers getting screwed out of payment. Maybe for him and his employers, that’s an acceptable trade-off — they get excellent writing and the writer gets “exposure.” However, it’s not going to take long before these same employers are going to see that hey, Madrigal’s pulling in a rather decent salary. Why are we paying him when we could just get these freelancers to do it for nothing?
Ouch. Wouldn’t that hurt?
As long as The Atlantic pays its print writers a decent wage, I’ll continue the subscription. However, I won’t be visiting their online site until their policies (and attitudes) change to one of fairness. If a writer provides a service, that writer should be paid a suitable fee for said service. Until there’s a return to decency, I won’t give them another click of my mouse.
What are your thoughts?