An elegant solution on rates

THE GUARDIAN'S "Comment is Free" blogs pay considerably less than the house agreement minimum word rate for the paper. So what's a freelance to do? One Branch member found an answer.

Freelances have been offered £75 for 400-word blogs, with some being asked to submit blogs on spec through a nebulous "Editors' Picks" system (see July Freelance). This freelance, meeting an impasse in raising the amount, suggested he write 267 words instead of the usual 500 expected for just over £77. The blog editor described this offer as an "elegant solution", which he accepted. There are pitfalls to the fewer-words-for-the-same-money approach to negotiating, as every writer knows - writing less could easily end up being more difficult and time-consuming.

With Comment is Free, there's the additional hassle that they expect you to put in web links in the middle of your prose, which takes up more of your time for not enough money. Another Branch member who is a sub, however, says we shouldn't bother with putting in those links. If Comment Is Free copy arrives without any links, Guardian web subs will find some links and add them to your copy.

The Guardian NUJ Chapel (the union at the workplace level) is battling to raise web rates.

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