When People Write for Free, Who Pays?

Cord Jefferson · 03/08/13 06:10PM

This week, veteran journalist Nate Thayer posted to his personal blog an email exchange he'd recently had with an editor from the Atlantic. The editor was asking Thayer to take something he'd already written and adapt a shorter version for use on the Atlantic's website, but there was a catch: The editor wanted Thayer to do it for free. "I am a professional journalist who has made my living by writing for 25 years," Thayer wrote, "and am 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."