Abramson Plans to Launch Startup That Pays Writers Up to $100,000 Per Article

Abramson Plans to Launch Startup That Pays Writers Up to $100,000 Per Article

For freelance writers, there’s no shortage of opportunities for writing short blog posts. In recent years, startups like and have emerged to connect companies that want to dabble in content marketing with writers who can quickly churn out 400-800 words.

But outlets that pay for long-form work, particularly those that pay well, are few and far between. That’s why creative writers and journalists alike are excited to hear about former New York Times Executive Editor ’s next venture: a startup that will pay writers an advance of up to $100,000 to “produce stories that will be longer than long magazine articles but shorter than books,” according to .

Abramson announced her plan to launch the startup in collaboration with journalist at the Journalism & Women Symposium’s annual Conference and Mentoring Project, Poynter reported. While the project doesn’t yet have a name, she has been brewing up the idea for quite some time, and said it will include  “one perfect whale of a story” each month. She envisions a subscription model.

Here’s a quote from Abramson via :

“We are actually pitching a startup that will be, not unsurprisingly, very ambitious, killer journalism,” Abramson said Monday night, according to WBUR. “We’re talking to some investors who are sounding very interested, and we are going to do great stories and offer great journalists actual money that they can live on to write something wonderful for us.”

Wait … $100K for ONE story?!

$100,000 for a story is a far cry from what these days, and we figure that’s exactly why Abramson wants to pay six figures: to attract top-tier contributors who will produce fabulous long-form pieces.

While only a small number of writers are likely to benefit from her startup, we appreciate the message it sends: that high-quality journalism is worth paying for. The gig economy offers lots of reasons to , but that has come at a cost, both for the creators of quality content and for the people who consume it. Initiatives like this one help push the bar — both for content and for pay — back up again.

The world of publishing has changed drastically over the last few years, often resulting in less compensation for writers. But the emergence of new platforms like the one Abramson is planning might be the silver lining. Experimenting with new models of revenue and distribution — and embracing the technology that makes it possible — might be the only way to reimagine how writers create, share and get compensated for their work.

What do you think of Abramson’s idea to pay writers $100,000 for an article?

Filed Under: Freelancing

22 comments

  • That’s really interesting, and I’m curious to see how it will work out. I’m also curious about the rest of the stories that won’t pay that much.

  • Elke Feuer says:

    Hmm. Interested to see how that pans out.

  • Marcy McKay says:

    WOW, I want to see what happens, but am grateful that someone is at lease acknoledging the time, effort and talent of writers. Please keep us posted, Kelly.

    • We’ll do our best, Marcy!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

    • Observer says:

      Marcy,

      I apologize for my public comment but I have no choice if I want to serve you with the most honest of intentions.

      Your post has an obvious spelling error, the word “acknoledging.”

      I know you can spell correctly but you are an author and your website provides advice for writers.

      If possible, delete your comment.

      It would be better to fix it than risk your credibility.

      Proofing and editing our works is critical for those of us who are writers and offer assistance to other writers.

  • Darlene says:

    I don’t see that lasting long but who wouldn’t want to jump on board for as long as it does…they will get a glut of stories and pick of the crop…win:win!

  • Ani says:

    Hmmm interesting. I would love to read and see what kind of article is worth that much money 🙂

  • Sylvia says:

    Oh pahleese…this will never happen. Somebody came up with an awesome sounding idea but as is quoted here, they are talking to investors who sound interested. That translates to ‘this is a pie in the sky idea that nobody is going to fund’. The (up to) $100,000 (per chosen book length story, not an article) has to come from somewhere. A new site does not generate that kind of revenue for years, if ever. What kind of investors would fund something like this? Beats me.

    I hate to be such a Debbie Downer, but come on…let’s be realistic here.

  • Mikey says:

    First thing I thought of was stories published in National Geographic. High paying requesters expect engaging, in depth pieces that took time to research and write. A 10000 word piece with pics culled from the Internet, written by someone from the Bronx about the food in Bangkok will fetch nowhere near the amount offered for an article compiled by a writer who spent 3 months living, eating and photgraphing in Bangkok.

    Like anything else in life, you get what you pay for and if you want better material to publish, then you should be willing to invest more to get it.

    I think it is time for somthing like this. I personally am sick and tired of reading 300 word articles.Just when my interest is piqued and I want to know more, it’s all over with a sloppy “call to action”.

  • Wendy says:

    I wonder what there is to write on that gives $100,000. You can’t write a full book for that price unless you’re a branded name. I think it will end up being like the multi-millionaire CEO’s: a flashy goal to aim at (and raise the arithmatic mean of writing salaries), but not life-changing for the little guys in the trenches.

    • Sorry to say it, Wendy, but my little voice inside agrees with you. We’re going to be seeing pieces by known authors and public figures.

      • I agree that we’ll likely see mostly pieces by established writers, but this makes sense — they’ll likely want to work with writers who have proven their skills, at least initially. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops and whether similar competitors emerge. We’ll do our best to keep you posted!

        Heather
        TWL Assistant Editor

  • Egon says:

    Though I see a lot of skepticism and “pie in the sky” thoughts, if we do the math and follow the dialogue, it really isn’t that far fetched…

    With the blogs and news medias that have millions of visits, a $100,000 payroll for an extended article works out to less than 1 to 10 cents a visit.

    The article composition would no doubt be expository in nature, creating a vast readership which would return more than a book’s advance.

    Just in Copywriting, the financial venue returns 6 figure income for well written copy that has a million dollar return.

  • Lori Mcwilliams says:

    It will certainly inspire the very best work from those of us who contribute to such projects in hopes of having our articles selected. The bar will be set high.

  • I say, it’s about time.
    Clearly, too, this move is a strong indicator of the backlash generated by the “information wants to be free” mantra. Information has never wanted to be free…not information that has been deeply researched, compiled in a thoughtful manner, and enhanced with commentary and narrative that furthers a reader’s understanding.
    Journalism, books, essays and other kinds of writing are more valuable even than the amount of money being offered here. They are critical to a well-informed public, to communities that care about their social and political environments.
    Kudos to the founders of this site. Let’s hope that it sets off a new period of respect for the quality authors of both fiction and nonfiction bring to their projects.

  • Jerine says:

    Wow. Imagine not having to sweat bills for a while with ONE paycheck like that! I have 6 novels on Amazon’s Kindle at practically nada and each was like walking through barbed wire and cactus thorns to finish and keep alive and current for the duration. I have been writing and learning to write for over 40 years…a lot over…and am now a well-seasoned editor and ghostwriter – and even yet refuse to give up hope about “making it” with my fingers and not trying another choice of profession to earn my living – I loved real estate but not like I am devoted to writing well. I have worked in Sales and Marketing elsewhere but not with the obsessive dedication I have for the craft of writing. I hope it comes to pass and I pray I’ll still be around when it does!!

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