« Sound, mind and body mikes | Main | The gender bias thing »

June 22, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


What do freelancers actually make as journalists really? I'm not disagreeing. But especially for arts journalists even in the highest of times, what was the percentage of staff positions vs. freelancers? How many highly paid columnists emerged out of the annual pool of j-school interns?

I think it's an apt metaphor, I'm just not sure if it's really a new paradigm in terms of pay for arts journalists. Hell, even at a lot of non-equity theatres, critics are is often the lowest paid folks in the house--should probably be a sobering realization for most artists who think all critics hate theatre (or film, art etc.)

Then again, you know more about it than I. But I wonder how much of is is the same system that's just found a new scapegoat?

Scott Barsotti

I think the comparison to actors is well-observed, but really the stronger correlation, in a theatre sense, is playwrights. This evolution of journalism you're talking about renders journalists in the same boat with writers in other formats, a trading of the value of "having your voice heard" against any money you might otherwise be paid for your work.

I don't write for money, but I resent the way writers are abused across all literary and publishing systems all the same. This is similarly true for actors. The expectation is not necessarily that writers and actors will work for free, but that they will be willing to work for free, for fear of being shoved aside.

"Only a fraction of a percent of those who go into the profession will get steady jobs or achieve high incomes; the majority will go from gig to gig or project to project, and guaranteed employment...will become the exception, not the norm.

True for all writers (and as you say, actors). Such is life when you are your own commodity.


I think that the comparison is very accurate. (That might be too strong) Even before this there are several comparisons. You're not going to be a star columnist right out of J-school. As an arts journalist, you're not going to be a critic at the New York Times right out of college. You have to work your way up, similar to an actor having to do non-Equity jobs whiling having a day job before they can be a marquee name on Broadway.

"The majority of people who try to make a go of it as working journalists will do so, like those who go into acting, because they're driven by a passion for the work. Many will likely work for little or no pay in hopes of establishing a career (Non-Equity/bloggers? And if we're talking bloggers, isn't this already the case, cough cough?)"

At this point, I think that the people that are really passionate about journalism will go after a career in journalism. I just graduated from high school and I'm the only person who worked on the school newspaper that is going to pursue a journalism degree and a career in that field.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Who? What?

  • Kris Vire
    I write about theater for Time Out Chicago. I write more about it here.

    Any opinion expressed here is solely that of the author or commenter. No opinion expressed here can be assumed to represent the opinion of Time Out Chicago magazine.

@krisvire on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Recently Seen

    • 06/24: Cherrywood (Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company)
    • 06/20: Sweet and Hot: The Songs of Harold Arlen (Theo Ubique)
    • 06/16: Shakespeare's King Phycus (Strange Tree Group)
    • 06/12: Sketchbook (Collaboraction)
    • 06/11: Dead Letter Office (Dog & Pony Theatre Company)
    • 06/09: Itsoseng (Chicago Shakespeare Theater)
    • 06/05: Low Down Dirty Blues (Northlight)
    • 06/04: Inherit the Whole (Mortar Theatre)
    • 05/27: Hunting and Gathering (Theatre Seven of Chicago)
    • 05/25: Fuerza Bruta (Broadway in Chicago)
    • 05/24: War with the Newts (Next Theatre)
    • 05/20: Baal (TUTA)
    • 05/19: The 39 Steps (nat'l tour)
    • 05/13: A Streetcar Named Desire (Writers' Theatre)
    • 05/12: From a Fading Light (Plasticene)
    • 05/10: Neverwhere (Lifeline Theatre)
    • 05/09: The Good Negro (Goodman)
    • 05/07: Sweet Tea (About Face)
    • 05/05: The Last Cargo Cult (Mike Daisey @ Victory Gardens)
    • 05/03: The Love of the Nightingale (Red Tape Theatre)
    Blog powered by Typepad