In a post-employment economy, many are working simply to earn the prospect of making money
By Sarah Kendzior
On March 4, Olga Khazan, the new editor of the Global section of the Atlantic, sent an email to Nate Thayer, a veteran journalist covering Asian political affairs. Khazan had seen an article Thayer had written about North Korea and liked it. She wanted to know if he could “repurpose” it for the Atlantic website.
“We unfortunately can’t pay you for it,” she wrote Thayer. “But we do reach 13 million readers a month.”
Thayer was appalled. He explained that he was a professional journalist “not in the habit of giving my services for free to for-profit media outlets so they can make money by using my work and efforts by removing my ability to pay my bills and feed my children”.
Khazan apologised and explained that the Atlantic was out of money. She told him the most they paid for an original story was $100, but they did not have $100 at the moment. All they could offer Thayer was “exposure” to benefit his “professional goals”. Thayer’s professional goal was to pay his bills. Outraged, he posted the exchange on his blog. It went viral within hours.
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