The consequences if comment is free

March 4, 2009

In “Is writing for the rich?” Francis Wilkinson argues that rates of pay for prose are so low, the profession of serious journalism could become only accessible to those of independent means. Wilkinson writes:

In 2007, I was in charge of recruiting writers for the expansion of The Huffington Post. I calculated that I would need 75 unpaid blog submissions per day […] That target seemed absurd at first. Yet within two months, hundreds of willing bloggers had signed up…

Wilkinson worries about who will write – I’d also be concerned about what will be written. Op-eds may be delivered for glory alone, but free won’t persuade anyone to spend a dreary afternoon noting what was said at the local county court.