Saturday, March 9, 2013

Harlan Ellison – “Pay the Writer!”

What a sad state of affairs we have in our wonderful corporatist world.

We’ve seen the rise on the Internet of huge media outlets, with a parallel rise of the amateur writer on blogs (you are reading this, after all.) The amateurs are generally classed in two camps – those who blather about nothing (I do that a lot) and those who have true expertise to share (I do that a little.) For example, I regularly use an excellent site on Eclipse and Java development, for example as it always comes up near the top of Google searches.

(Note that I also buy books on the same topics because I like the take of the professional writers too. And fair is fair, the freebees should not take money away from the paid writers or form those who sweat for many months to put together a book for 15 bucks per copy and today’s average Kindle prices.)

Harlan’s rant is about Warner Brothers subcontracting a small output to package a DVD and them coming to him to reuse an interview he wrote for free, and he speaks with great passion about his discussion with the young lady who called him. It’s fun and interesting watching …

And here is another excellent rant by Nate Thayer, who was contacted by The Atlantic – a rather large and venerable media organization – to rework an article of his on North Korea for publication by the end of that week for free. When Nate told her that he works for a fee, she gave him the classic line “it’s good exposure”, which of course is bollocks. As Harlan points out on the video, professionals do not need “free” exposure. It has little monetary value. Note that she also commented that their usual rate for stories is a hundred bucks. A hundred bucks! How is a writer supposed to make any kind of living for that paltry sum? The answer is that the days of the writer making a living from news are mostly gone. Which is why the news is so poorly reported these days, of course.

Anyway, enjoy …