Stories about freelance writers not getting paid for their work are becoming all too frequent of late. This time around the magazine in question is BlackBook. Freelance writer Nicole Brydson writes at the blog Brooklyn the Borough that the magazine, which hired her to pen a NYC shopping guide at a rate of $20 per item, for a total of 200 listings, initially stalled on the final payment of $1440, and is now apparently attempting to back out altogether claiming Brydson didn’t meet her deadline. Says Brydson:
My deadline was August 1, 2008. After some administrative issues with the website ensued, I was unable to upload my items onto the BlackBook website until early September.
My editor over this time was unresponsive, and took his time editing and placing my work on the site. In the end, 172 of 200 listings were completed by December, and before I could upload the final 28, my login was disabled and my contract was terminated.
Brydson has posted copies of her email exchanges with BlackBook editor Chris Mohney, and tells us she also has email exchanges with the editor she was working with, dated three weeks after her deadline, acknowledging the tech difficulties with the site. We emailed Mohney who declined to comment for this post.
Brydson sums up: “Now, I could go into the specifics of an absentee editor; the irony of a luxury publication built on the backs of low wage writer slaves; the fact that writing a shopping guide is valued more than actual journalism by virtue of the price it commands for a writer, should they actually get paid; and even my previous experience of waiting eight months for a BlackBook check. But really, like every other human in the working world, I just want to get paid for my work.”
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