Thursday, June 30, 2005

blogging vs freelancing

This will be cross-posted to Shiloh Musings.

On an email list the topic of freelance writing vs our blogging and getting our posts/articles into all sorts of publications, just for fun. Or just so people will know what we think, etc.

The note that follows is from a freelance writer.

Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 08:25:17 EDT
Subject: Re: Second Job / Volunteering

I just came back from a press association conference where a handful of
freelancers learned that we are an endangered species hovering on the
edge of extinction because editors no longer want to pay for our
stories--cause all those people out there want to write for free. (Many
of them just express their personal opinions and glory in the ink.)
Here's the reality: It essentially means that those people who are
writing for newspapers for free are stealing the food and rent money
away from the professionals who have been working hard to make a living
at it for at least 25 years. Now, instead of story assignments, we get
editors calling us in emergencies to fill their bar/bat/wedding
celebration section at $30-50 a pop. No one pays to sniff out
investigative stories (like the rabbi and child abuse story that was
squelched until an editor moved to town and heard about it).
Each year there are less and less column inches left for freelancers to
fill. And we are talking Jewish freelancers for Jewish media here. Not
the "real" world. No freelancer purely freelances anymore because it's
becoming impossible to eat, let alone pay for medical coverage, which is
$25,000 a year for two middle aged people.
And that fact doesn't make retirement likely for any of the Jewish
freelancers I know who write for Jewish papers--and are working twice as
hard to make the same amount of money they made five years ago.
So those of you who write for free--be aware, you could be ruining other
people's lives. Some of those people, and I met them, are over 70 years
old and without the income...well, you can guess the rest.


Esther said...

While I feel for this person, times change. Writers need to adapt to stay alive, or should we not move ahead with the times? Should we not have had a mail system put in because it would put the people who rode the pony express out of business? I'm a writer. I've never liked the freelancer life so I'm adjusting, learning new skills (like PR, marketing)... but I'm not going to blame bloggers or anyone else for my unemployed status. I'm going to's the key to survival.

Batya said...

Not easy. That's why I chickened out and never competed as freelance.

Esther said...

I hear ya. But staff positions are getting harder and harder to nail down. A freelancer's life is killer... and not for me.

Batya said...