TVNewser FishbowlDC AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Freelancers Still Seeking Payment From Surface Magazine

surface.pngThere as least one freelancer that is not giving up on getting paid for a story he wrote for Surface magazine earlier this year.

Our tipster said he is still owed $500 for an article he wrote for Surface‘s January 2009 issue. Since then, the New York-based style and design magazine was purchased by Quadra Media, which also owns tattoo magazine Inked and other media entities. According to Folio, Quadra is run by Nylon owner Don Hellinger and Christopher Shannon.

According to our source and this Gawker article, Quadra was owed money by Surface so it foreclosed on the magazine earlier this year. This effectively erased the former magazine owner’s debts, so those freelancers who were not paid prior to the foreclosure will never see their payments. Or so they have been told by the company.


In addition to our original source, we have heard from two other Surface contributors who said they are still owned a few hundred dollars for work done for the magazine at the end of last year. A group of writers had previously banded together to seek payment from the former owner, Richard Klein, who did pay up after being sent a letter from an attorney, they said.

Now the first freelancer — who asked us to withhold his name — is looking for others in his situation to band together in order to take on the current owners and get paid for services rendered. We reached out to Hellinger and have not heard back from him. If you have any other information or are also battling with Surface for payment (or any other publication for that matter) let us know or leave a comment below.

Here is the note we received from the first freelancer seeking payment, if you want to read the story in his own words:

I’m a journalist based in Los Angeles, and I’ve been working with Surface magazine since they started…I wrote a story for them last January and they now have a new CEO, who has told me that he took over the magazine but does not have to pay any of Surface‘s previous debts. Apparently the break off point was issue number 75, the issue my story appeared in. The magazine says that “no one” from that issue received payment for their work, including myself. I’ve tried everything that I can to get them to honor their debt (which is only $500), but they refuse.

As a freelancer, I need that money desperately, especially in this economy.

I’ve since talked to an attorney, and there’s a chance that we can initiate a class action suit if enough people (writers and photographers) come forward.

This all the more frustrating, because the magazine prides itself on promoting artist’s work. That’s how they make their living. And yet they’re stealing from artists like myself.

Mediabistro Course

Magazine Writing

Magazine WritingStarting September 4, learn how to get your work in top publications! You'll learn how to create captivating stories editors will want and readers will love, understand which magazines are right for your stories, craft compelling pitch letters, and more! You'll leave this class with two polished articles and corresponding pitch letters. Register now!