Independent paying freelancers a pittance

Journalism coursesBy Sarah Reid

Independent bottom of pay survey

Pay rates low across industry

The Independent has come bottom of a snapshot survey of newspaper pay rates for freelance journalists. Non-staffers at the title are being paid as little as 20 pence per word.

A freelancer working for the Independent was offered just £200 for a 1000 word feature they were commissioned to write this week, according to London Journalism Centre, which carried out the survey.

“I was surprised how little I was going to get for a piece that would appear in print and online,” the journalist concerned told the Dalston based journalism college.

Other titles pay considerably more, but remuneration rates are still not high.

The Guardian pays freelancers 31 pence per word, and the Times said it would pay up to £300 for a 1000 word feature – equivalent to 30 pence per word. The Telegraph said it paid freelancers around £400 for a 1000 word spread, 40 pence per word.

Managing Editor of the Independent Sean O’Grady told London Journalism Centre: “It [freelance pay] varies a huge amount.” Some contributors, such as politicians, were sometimes not paid at all, he added.