The Woods Hold Secrets Twisted and True
A few years ago I was approached by our local newspaper to cover the all-important jazz festival. I was working a "regular" job at the time and writing for many publications, including being a regular contributor to Tattoo Savage. I wanted to get some local stuff under my belt, and while the jazz festival was not my first choice, I wanted to know more about it. The editor told me I'd be interviewing the acts and doing a general write-up. We came to the idea that it would be about 14 hours worth of work, which sent money signs spinning through my head. If this were Savage, I'd be making about $1120. I didn't expect the Times-Standard to pay quite as much (it wasn't a glossy international publication after all), but I didn't expect to be so insulted by the $25 check they were tossing my way.
I, of course, explained why there was no way I was doing that. The editor countered that it would be a way to see my name in print. I re-countered with the fact that my name was in print all over the place thanks to things like Easy Rider, Savage and a host of other publications and books. The editor explained that $25 was all the paper could pay its stringers, which I understood and explained it as such. Again, I was told I could see my name in print. I was polite when I said, "Give it to someone who needs that. I already got that under my belt." (Or some such words.) Needless to say, the editor ended the call pretty abruptly after proclaiming that she (I think it was a she for the A&E section at the time) couldn't understand why I wouldn't want my name in print. It was years before I heard from the paper again.
I'll write for free if I believe in the project. I'll write for little pay, too. I won't write to get my name in print, and I won't work my ass off on a piece I don't care about for a corporate entity for crumbs. It just won't happen. My time with Savage ended in part due to my honesty. It's cost me many a gig. But at least I can sleep at night.