Nate Thayer, a veteran journalist, posted on his blog an email exchange between The Atlantic’s global editor — Olga Khazan — and himself, that is guaranteed to frustrate you if you’ve ever freelanced. Thankfully, Thayer deals with the emails in the best way possible.
It began with Khazan emailing Thayer to ask about republishing something he had written on The Atlantic. This part is great. Any freelancer would be ecstatic to have such a respected publication (or any publication, really) contact them. Typically freelancers are the ones doing the asking. But as the emails went back and forth, things quickly got depressing.
When Thayer asked for specifics about the piece, Khazan wrote that The Atlantic couldn’t pay Thayer for his work, “but we do reach 13 million readers a month.” Ah, the old, “We can’t pay you, but think of the exposure you’ll get as we make money off of your piece!” What a fantastic deal.
To his credit, Thayer shot back a brilliant response: