More thoughts on freelance writing and “writing for exposure”

Earlier yesterday, I wrote a series of tweets about why online journalism’s push for writers to work “for exposure” is terrible and the reality of what life is like for someone who does it. (Thread starts here.)

Here are some more  (bitter) thoughts.

There’s something so very upsetting about the idea of online journalists (amateurs, newbies, and professionals alike) working “for exposure” as a rite of passage with no token payment or help with getting further along in their writing career.

Writing for exposure means that you get to spend hours, days, and even weeks of your time working to put out an article or essay that you aren’t getting paid for. This work comes on top of your day job or your education and can in fact take time away from things that bring you the money that you need to live off of.

And I think it’s wrong that journalism as an industry has conflated “earning your due” with “working for free”. Now it seems that freelancers that don’t want to or can’t write for free are “lazy”. They’re seen as trying to get over the established idea of building your brand and then building your bank account.

But here’s the thing:

When you work for exposure, the companies you’re writing for or that you want to write for aren’t seeing that you deserve to be paid for your writing. They’re not. What they’re seeing is someone that they don’t have to pay to create content for them and they won’t pay you unless they absolutely have to.Read More »