Seattleite, the city’s soon-to-be “luxury lifestyle magazine and Web site for the Puget Sound region’s younger, affluent professionals” pretty much sums up everything that sucks about the publishing world right now.
Here is Seattleite’s recent job posting on Craiglist:
Date: Sunday, October 31, 2010, 9:53 AM
XXX has forwarded you this craigslist.org posting.
Please see below for more information.
Visit the posting at http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/wri/2034272913.html to contact the person who posted this.
Seattle Writers and Editors Wanted for New Publication and Web Site
Date: 2010-10-30, 3:13PM
Dying to be part of a hip and fashionably edgy in-the-know publication designed for the newest generation of Seattleites?
Introducing “Seattleite,” a luxury lifestyle magazine and Web site for the Puget Sound region’s younger, affluent professionals.
Stylish. Classy. Sophisticated. Well-traveled. Educated. Our readers aren’t your clichéd mid-90s flannel-wearing Seattle residents. They’re the new generation of urban dwellers at the social helm of our fair city. And it’s about time that a publication tailored to their needs.
We’re looking for writers and editors to be a part of our highly inspired team in the following categories: Food & Dining, Travel, Culture & Society, Style (fashion), Home & Design, Toys & Tech, and Events. If you have expertise in (or a resolute passion for) any of these categories, please send at least three writing samples (links to online work or PDFs of published articles), a 200-word or less bio about yourself, your resume and a brief explanation of what role you’d like to play – and why you should -- in the creation of “Seattleite” to email@example.com. (No published work yet? Don’t fret! Just whip up three articles, each 300 words or less, on the topic of your choosing – show us what you’re made of!) We’re aiming for a tone that is sophisticated yet subtly snarky, intelligent yet comical, high-brow but not off-putting…so take that and wow us!
The web site is currently slated to debut at the end of January, with the print publication to follow shortly after. So we're looking to build a team of writers and editors to help develop a foundation of content as soon as possible! Let us know what you've got!
This is a part-time job.
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
Original URL: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/wri/2034272913.html
Wow. It all sounds so fancy. Before I worked myself up into a possible new outlet tizzy, I thought it best to cut to the chase and talk pay rates, so I fired off this quick email:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Seattle Writers and Editors Wanted for New Publication and Web Site
From: Charyn Pfeuffer
Date: Sat, October 30, 2010 4:04 pm
Great to hear there will be a new local print addition. I have 10+ years experience as a food and travel writer and will gladly pass along clips, bio, etc. if the per word rate is reasonable. In the meantime, I've attached my resume for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back regarding the pay rate. Thanks in advance for your time.
Here’s the response I got from Seattleite’s Editor-in-Chief, Allison Robins Lind:
Thanks for your interest in contributing to Seattleite! I wanted to quickly get back to with a "full disclosure" email. I'm currently in "talks" with the publisher/founder of Seattleite to discuss pay rates. Because I come from a long-standing journalism background I understand (and appreciate) the need to get paid. Of course, this is a brand-new start-up publication and site -- meaning we're literally starting with nothing but a vision! At this point all I can get her to agree upon is that once we get an ad revenue rolling, we can "discuss a pay rate" for contributors. Until then we do, however, need to ask for unpaid work to help build editorial content as a way to bring in those ad dollars (chicken-and-egg theory in action...) Please take my word, for what it's worth, that I'm a loyal editor -- once I've established my solid, reliable team, I will FIGHT for an editorial budget for each of them. Sadly, until the money starts rolling in, my hands are tied... I've decided to take the "risk" as an initially unpaid Editor-in-Chief because I truly believe in the potential success of this publication and site...knowing that eventually I will see a paycheck! If you're at all interested in joining me in that risk, I'd be happy to talk further. Let me know your thoughts!
Allison Robins Lind
Seattleite magazine & Seattleite.com (coming soon!)
Right now, from wherever you are reading this, you can probably hear my laughter. So let me get this straight: Seattleite wants to create a publication geared toward the city’s young, glamorous market, but can’t even swing a Goodwill budget for its really great “vision.” Uh huh. That sounds like a fantastic idea.
When I last checked, lip service, “risks” and my favorite bartering tool du jour, links, don’t pay the bills. If a writer wants to work for free, that’s their prerogative. It’s not a school of thought I personally subscribe to, but I understand that people write for different reasons (read: some marry wealthy). I'm pretty darn proud of myself for financially supporting myself over the past 10+ years working full-time as a freelance writer. Because I’ve run my career as a business. I’ve been part of countless start-up print and online publications and have experienced the full gamut of growing pains, but providing unpaid work was never one of them.
I liken this request for free work to going grocery shopping without a wallet, but promising the check-out clerk that I’ll invite him or her over for a really kick ass meal once I’ve had some time to perfect some new recipes. Just give me an indefinite amount of time to get it right, and oh, and by the way, you can take my word on that even though you don’t know a single thing about me. Cross my heart and hope to die. Pinky swear. Blah, blah, blah...This scenario would never fly in the real world, yet it seems to be an increasingly acceptable request in our post-recession publishing world. I call bullsh*t. The job of a writer is like any other contractual agreement - a service is provided as requested, then it is paid for. End of story.
So my advice for writers interested in contributing to Seattleite is simple: Join hands and sing Kumbaya, because it seems like the magazine’s future success depends upon its team's Positive Mental Attitude. Oh, and sweet, sweet free work. I’m sure Allison is a really swell gal, but I really cannot take requests like this seriously, much less from someone with “a long-standing journalism background." Cue more laughter.
P.S. Not paying writers is definitely not "stylish," "classy" or "sophisticated." It's an editorial faux pas and a sham to run your magazine on the backs of hard-working writers while you dream of one day having ad revenues. Good luck with that, because if I had to play fortune teller, I'm guessing that is never gonna happen.