Saturday, 4 October 2014
The Moral Dilemna
For just over five months I've been freelance writing for a little extra cash. As a full time university student, with severe procrastination syndrome and a one track mindedness always focused on Netflix, I typically don't work in the school year and save that for summer, in a futile attempt at good grades.
I won't name the company I write for, obviously, as usual I'm not trying to put anyone on blast, just telling my story. I received the monthly budget with about five days to pick some stories, and get back to the editor. This was a weekend a friend of mine was coming to visit, music festivals, bowling and several other activities were planned which means my story ended up getting picked quite close to the deadline leaving me with one I was more than unqualified to write. Tips for freshman girls.
I had to write an article giving freshman girls tips on how to have a successful and "sociable" first year. Being the antisocial cockroach I am, I wrote the piece as best I could and sent it in. A few days later I received an email back asking me to add a few things, expand on the section I'd included about drunk driving which went a little something like "Don't get in a car with someone who is so inebriated they can't clearly say their name," which I felt summed up the entirety of drunk driving pretty clearly, what to do when pictures leak on social media, and various other things completely out of my field of expertise. Instead of passing up this challenge, I added what I was asked and made the best possible article I could.
Fast forward to yesterday, almost two weeks later and I receive the final edit of this email. I'm told it's undergone heavy editing and asked if I will allow them to publish the article with my name still attached to it. After having one look at the sloppy, disjointed, poorly written mistake for journalism the completed article had become I asked them to swiftly take my name off of the article. I don't care if it's published, but it will not be attached to my name. The article was shockingly poor quality.
However, I was also told unless my name stays attached to the piece of work...I don't get paid. That's right. Though both originals of this piece were written by me and the skeleton of the starved written piece that is the final edit is still derived from my basic format, idea and voice, I will not get paid if I opt to have myself removed from the piece as the author.
Here lies the moral dilemma. As a student qualified to do little more than cashier work finding any kind of way to make money doing something I moderately enjoy is exciting. Less exciting when people like this take advantage of young writers simply trying to gain experience in a field they're interested in. Nonetheless, both my parents have Dr in their title. I'm not homeless and I'm not starving, I stood firm and my name won't be put on the article. I don't need their money.
My overall zeal to want to do journalism has all but disappeared as I know things like this aren't unfamiliar in the field, particularly to those who are young and desperate for any sort of foot in the door. I mean I've never been extremely passionate about journalism, it's just always seemed like something I'm good at, so I stuck to it and here presented a way to make a little extra cash doing it. But for now, it looks like I'm through. A chapter closed. I don't know what the next experience will bring but for now this blog becomes the only spot I write & publish anything really.
I mean I've never thought of myself as the world's greatest writer but apparently I'm better at this than some "editors". Not hatin', just statin'. Go figure.