We caught this tweet from the feed of USC’s online newspaper Neon Tommy yesterday. And it blew our minds! Neon Tommy is paying its student editorial staffers? That can’t be right, can it? We exchanged emails with USC Annenberg director of digital news Marc Cooper yesterday, who informed us that, yes, Neon Tommy has had a policy of paying its staffers for quite some time.
“We have about 20 editors, reporters and promo/[social media] people getting paid. Very part-time, around $100-200 a week. But it’s something.”
No kidding. We’re pretty sure there are a few thousand Huffington Post bloggers who wouldn’t mind that kind of cash. We’ve heard of going back to school to try to get a better job, but this is ridiculous. Kudos to Annenberg for putting the heads of its students in the right place. Online reporting is work, and deserves to be compensated. Too many people out there willing to work for free screws things up for the people who need to make a living off this profession. Hopefully these kids will now demand to be paid when they graduate and not get suckered into writing for “exposure.”