Chatelaine’s call for unpaid submissions

One of our freelance union members recently brought our attention to a recent call for submissions by Chatelaine magazine. The call-out asks readers to submit full 500-word stories that have not been published elsewhere.

Writers whose articles are selected will not be paid for their work.

In response to Story Board’s request for comment on the magazine’s call for unpaid submissions, Chatelaine’s Editor-in-Chief Lianne George said via email that the series was created as a forum for readers to share stories with a broad audience.

“It’s an experiment in user-generated content and so far we’ve been really pleased with the interest and the range of submissions,” she said.

CMG Freelance branch president Don Genova said this week that the type of submissions Chatelaine is requesting are worth paying for.

“I’m glad that their efforts to obtain free content are going well but it doesn’t really do much to advance the case for good writing in this country,” he said.

“It’s one thing to request letters to the editor in response to things published in the magazine, but to ask people to generate original content that will meet Chatelaine’s publication standards is worth something. Having your submission accepted in a situation like this is like winning a lottery for which there’s no prize aside from getting your name in print. And anyone can get their name in print these days.”

David Hayes, Toronto freelance writer, editor and co-founder of the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers listserv (TFEW), posted on that message board last week that he doesn’t think Chatelaine should be soliciting free work given the funding they receive from the government.

Chatelaine receives $1.5M in funding from the Canadian Periodical Fund each year.

“Nothing is more tiresome than the way businesspeople in the media pay for everything else in the world relating to the running of their business except when it comes to short-changing, or trying to get away with not paying at all, for content,” wrote Hayes.

Freelance writer M. Jay Smith also posted in the same TFEW message thread.

“Ironically, I was very recently in contact with a Chatelaine editor who informed me that the magazine is not currently soliciting freelance content,” she wrote.

Genova said that he, too, finds the situation ironic.

“Chatelaine claims that it is Canada’s biggest, best women’s magazine that likes to report on social issues and current events, while at the same time doesn’t mind exploiting its predominant female audience to get free content,” he said.

“Why doesn’t Chatelaine commission a story about how women are still making the same amount of money (or less) writing for periodicals as they made 30 years ago?”

Posted on April 27, 2016 at 8:36 pm by editor · · Tagged with: ,

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Lynn Daly
    on May 1, 2016 at 9:31 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Pay people for their work period.

  2. Written by John
    on May 2, 2016 at 9:03 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Maybe the Editor-in-Chief would be willing to work for free to get her name in print.

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