WARNING ABOUT PROFESSIONAL JEWELER / PROFESSIONALJEWELER.COM
In early 2003, we sent our standard WritersWeekly.com market listing questionnaire to Ren Miller, the executive editor at Professional Jeweler. On our questionnaire, we specifically state that we only list PAYING markets for writers. The information provided by Ren stated: "Pay varies depending on expertise of writer."
On Feb. 3, 2004, we sent Ren the listing for an annual update. He responded with changes on Feb. 9, 2004, but the payment information stayed the same.
On Jan. 9, 2005, we once again sent the annual update request to Ren. On Jan. 30, 2005, he responded with some changes but, again, the payment information stayed the same.
On April 28, 2005, a reader reported that Professional Jeweler had just told her they hadn't paid writers in three years.
My response: Say what?!
MY APRIL 29, 2005 EMAIL TO REN MILLER, EXEC. EDITOR AT PROFESSIONAL JEWELER:
One of our readers reported that someone at your publication
told them you haven't paid writers in 3 years. That is contrary to
the information provided by you below. Please advise.
REN'S REPLY TO ME ON APRIL 29, 2005:
I'm not sure who told the writer that we don't use freelancers. We don't use as many as we did because our issues are smaller, but we still use some freelance articles.
MY REPLY TO REN ON APRIL 30, 2005:
They didn't tell her they don't use writers. They told her they don't
pay writers. Please advise.
REN'S EXACT WORDS TO ME ON MAY 2, 2005:
We do pay writers.
Since Ren specifically stated "We do pay writers", I emailed our reader to ask for more information.
She sent me these emails which she received.
EMAIL SENT TO READER BY PEGGY JO DONAHUE, EDITOR IN CHIEF, PROFESSIONAL JEWELER:
I have no freelance budget, but I could give your business a pitch at the end of the article, if that would help. We have 23,000 retail jeweler readers.
I'd just need a guarantee that this article wasn't being offered to any other jewelry trade magazine.
Peggy Jo Donahue
Editor in Chief
Professional Jeweler magazine
READER'S RESPONSE TO PEGGY JO:
Thought your listing in WritersWeekly mentioned payment
PEGGY JO'S RESPONSE TO READER:
yes, we used to do payments, but that was before the bottom fell out of the trade magazine ad market...I lost that budget about three years ago...
MY EMAIL TO REN AND PEGGY JOE FOLLOWING RECEIPT OF THE INTERESTING EXCHANGE ABOVE:
See copies of emails below. Contrary to what you've told me this week, it's quite clear that your Editor in Chief is telling writers you don't pay.
We find this very disturbing. Please advise.
RESPONSE FROM PEGGY JO
We have several long-standing freelance contributors who we do pay.
But, I have no ADDITIONAL budget for freelance and I don't anticipate having any in the near future.
Forgive the mix up, but it was all semantics.
I am frantically busy and there is no time to think about carefully worded
Actually, the fact that I reply at all is a miracle. But I was once a
freelance writer for 10 years and I'd rather be honest with writers who contact me that there is no hope for payment in the short term. I don't believe in stringing people along.
Hope this clears things up.
I know it's a tough market out there. Sorry we can't help.
Peggy Jo DonahueEditor in ChiefProfessional Jeweler magazine
MY RESPONSE, SENT TO BOTH PEGGY JO AND REN:
That's completely contrary to what Ren has been telling me all
week. Which one of you is telling the truth?
This has gone on long enough. As Peggy Jo's note fully explains, we have some longterm freelancers who we DO pay. Period. For the time being, it's not likely we'll pay any others. If you can't understand that, then just leave us out of the listing all together.
PEGGY JO'S REPLY
That's my feeling as well. Take us out of your listings. We aren't in the market for additional freelance writers.
MY REPLY TO REN AND PEGGY JO
Hi Ren and Peggy Jo,
Here's what I do understand.
You provided us with information stating you pay writers. Never did
you say you only pay "some" writers.
Peggy Jo told one of our readers you haven't paid writers in 3 years.
I wrote asking you to clarify your payment policies and you assured me you DO pay writers.
When I finally got you both in the same place, Ren finally admitted, after lying to me all week, the truth that you don't pay all writers.
We're going to issue a strong warning about your company. It's obvious you used us to get publicity and had no intention of paying any new writers who contacted you through WritersWeekly.
Shame on you.
PEGGY JO'S REPLY
Please don't bother us anymore. We are a small trade magazine and we don't need any freelance writers beyond the industry-specific contributors we use now.
Please also stop saying that Ren lied to you. He is the most truthful person I know.
We have no need to explain to you our editorial policies about freelancers beyond the enormous amount of time we've already taken.
Please take us off your list and never contact us again.
Please provide me with the name and telephone number of your supervisor.
MY FINAL REPLY
I own the company, Ren.
THEY NEVER RESPONDED AGAIN AFTER THAT.
After this exchange, it is our recommendation that all writers AVOID DOING BUSINESS WITH PROFESSIONAL JEWELER.