Comment is seemingly at a lower rate

WHAT IS A blog? Most would agree that it's a first-person news or opinion piece written originally for web. Blogs shouldn't, then, be priced differently from any other "words per thousand for web" contributions to the same publication. EMAP music magazine Mojo, for example, pays £150 for a 500-word blog, just above its minimum word rate.

But the Guardian and Observer are reportedly paying £77 for 400-word blogs by professionals - much lower than the NUJ house agreement minimum word rates for the Guardian. Some writers are apparently asked to blog for the Guardian on spec. Slack blog commissioning practices seem to be creeping in.

The Guardian's Comment is Free blog

The Comment is Free blogs in the Guardianseem to be commissioned through a nebulous blogerati system. Famous names get paid for contributions. The less-well-known are subject to a literal interpretation of the "Comment is Free" ethos, under the assumption that they will happily blog for free as they need the exposure.

Editors - and not just at the Guardian - seem genuinely confused about what a blog is. It's a loose definition for something published exclusively online, or published online first. Many blogs later make it into print and, as more papers publish everything online before it gets into print, confusion grows around our understanding of what a blog is. We shouldn't allow the editor's definintion to take hold, in which a blog turns into something commissioned at a lower rate, or for free.

We should get used to the idea that there's money to be made from blogs. Some freelances who maintain specialist blogs in their own time on subjects they are interested in have seen them turn into regular paid gigs after the mainstream media spotted them, or have even made money by attracting paid-for advertising to their own blogs.

We'd like you to tell us what blog rates and blog commissioning practices there are at various publications. Submit them to the Rate for the Job form in the "words per 1000" category for the online "sector" and specify "blog" in the "details of work" box, please.

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