Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Writing for Free, Reading for Free: The Economics of Academia and Publishing Today

Academics entering the media world tend to move from one exploitative arena (low-wage academic work) to another (unpaid freelance writing). But writing must never be an act of charity to a corporation. Ask for what you are worth—and do not accept that you are worth nothing. Insisting on payment for your labor is not a sign of entitlement. It is a right to which you are entitled.


Medium -- a new iteration of publishing/sharing writing/writing for free. Medium offers us all an audience because praise should be pay enough (though now, apparently, they are paying some writers decently). Medium was founded by Evan Williams (also, a liquor), who also founded Blogger (write for free -- for yourself and your friends), and has been in charge (possibly a founder? multiple stories abound) of Twitter (write for free, briefly, to the world, your friends, and clients). On Here and Now recently, Williams was asked about his new venture, and he described the year-old platform as providing journalism and stories to a wide audience who just can't find it elsewhere, apparently. He also emphasized the ability to share one's writing with the world, which writers just can't do elsewhere, apparently. Those darn editors and gate-keepers -- I thought that the internet was supposed to have knocked them down already? Williams evaded the interviewer's question of what void he was trying to fill, explaining that, really, this was a longer twitter. However, what he is actually replacing is the curated, edited magazine.