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 Post subject: Pay range for columnists
PostPosted: January 8th, 2004, 4:11 pm 
I have been offered a position writing a weekly column for a newspaper in the Midwest. The editor has offered me $40 a column. I worked for this newsaper in the past so the editor knows I am a capable writer. There is some room for negotiation in the offer. I want to ask what is the norm and what would be fair?


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 Post subject: Rates
PostPosted: January 8th, 2004, 4:21 pm 
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Joined: December 9th, 2003, 9:32 pm
Posts: 978
Location: Sedona, AZ
Hi Rogerc,

It depends on the circulation of the newspaper. Typical fees are $40 an hour (low), $125 an hour (mid-range) and $300 an hour (high). If this is a small paper, and you can do the column, including research, in less than an hour, then $40 is about right. You could always start at this rate then ask for a raise later, especially if readers get "hooked" on your column.

Have Fun,
Jeff

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 8th, 2004, 7:06 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2003, 9:28 pm
Posts: 278
It also depends on whether the paper is weekly or daily. A small weekly will likely pay $5-$10 a column while a large daily will pay more. Length of column matters too. You could figure the per word rate of your column and see what it works out to. The New York Times pays about $1 a word while a small local weekly might pay 10 cents a word.

$40 to me sounds fair. Even if it is a really big newpaper, they don't know yet whether or not your column will be popular. I think I would do what Jeff suggested -- get people reading your column and then negotiate for more money. If you retain the rights to the column you also can market it to other newspapers.

If you are going to negotiate now, I don't know what to suggest without knowing more about the column and the newspaper.


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 Post subject: column
PostPosted: January 9th, 2004, 4:37 pm 
"If you retain the rights to the column you also can market it to other newspapers."

To me, this is key! Okay, so maybe $40 for a weekly column isn't very much. What if you keep the rights? What if you can sell it to other newspapers? Dave Barry is syndicated in something like 600 newspapers nationwide. You do the math on 600*$40 per week!

Okay, so you're not Dave Barry. Neither am I. Still, sell this column to 5 newspapers and you're bringing in some pretty good, steady money. Sell it to 20 newspapers and you're making a living wage off of it! So, how much is a fair amount really depends to a large extend on what rights you're selling.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 16th, 2004, 10:22 pm 
Hi there--

Just thought I'd throw this in for your reference... I had a column in a mid-size daily paper in the southwest a few years ago. The column ran every two weeks (sometimes every week if there was room). I was paid $75 a column and I kept all rights. I should have shopped it around, tried for syndication, but I was young and dopey.

good luck and congrats on the gig,
K


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