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charityandlife.com the Subject of FOXBusiness Article on Pay for Writers

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charityandlife.com the Subject of FOXBusiness Article on Pay for Writers

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I am very happy that Nancy Colasurdo included Ask Miss A in her article for FOXBusiness. I have been in touch with her and received a gracious response. I have a great deal of respect for her and admire her writing. In case you didn’t see the article called The Joy of Getting Paid to Write, it’s an opinion piece on a very hot topic — whether those who blog on platforms like Huffington Post or Ask Miss A should be paid.

Andrea Rodgers, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of charityandlife.com

In a perfect world, or in a world where all publishers were as wealthy as Si Newhouse or Rupert Murdoch, writers would be paid. Mr. Newhouse can afford to lose millions publishing quality magazines, as revenue from other business lines make up for the loss. With WordPress, Blogger and other technical platforms, setting up a blog, or even an online magazine is quite easy. This technology has brought out all sorts of writers out of the woodwork. Who knew so many Americans enjoyed writing?

Colasurdo feels that professional writers shouldn’t be expected to “write for the joy of writing.” I don’t expect professional writers to write for free, or do anything. This is a free country, so they can write wherever they choose. That said, she shouldn’t have expectations for publishers like me. Again, it’s a free country. I’m very open about my life. Truth is I can’t afford to pay the writers. I’m not a fat cat publisher keeping advertising revenue all to myself. In a much smaller way than Si Newhouse, I fund Ask Miss A from revenue I generate in another business, Miss A Marketing. I pay for the platform which allows women in 14 cities across the United States to reach many more people than they would with a personal blog. I don’t generate money from Ask Miss A, but I do enjoy reach, influence, the technological platform, and the occasional perk such as attending an elegant charity or cultural event in order to cover it — all of which are shared with those who write on the website. I can only give what I get.

Also, advertising isn’t what it was, and even magazines like Vanity Fair, Vogue, and The New Yorker lose tens of millions a year. Journalists can no longer ride the gravy train of advertising, and force owners to take major losses just so that they can pursue their noble talent. That said, for those writers who are so inclined, I do have a process in place by which writers and editors can share a substantial part of revenue from advertising contracts they bring in. I am happy to share what I can, as the ladies who write for me are a huge asset, and I’m humbled every day that so many are eager to be a part of Ask Miss A. Though a fairly young publication, Ask Miss A is growing tremendously and currently reaches more than a million readers per year. I look forward to the day when I can do more to compensate the writers for their amazing work, but in the meantime, I am happy to provide a platform for the writers to entertain, inspire and educate a growing community of women across the United States.

Besides believing that only professional should write, Colasurdo also believes that only professional writers can write well. She scoffed at the fact that Ask Miss A suggests its writers to learn AP Style. She asks, “You want writers of that caliber who also know the AP Stylebook?” Really? Did she say “of that caliber?” So I shouldn’t have high expectations for writers who would write for free? It’s arrogant of many professional writers to think that they are the only ones who can write. I can’t win for losing with professional journalists. They would judge my site for not being well written, but also want to judge me for taking the initiative to take the editing to the next level. She writes that it took her an entire semester to learn AP Style. I realize that this is taught in school, but so is social media, but that doesn’t mean that the it can’t be learned through reading a book, or that some aren’t already great writers. Our writers give readers their inside take on their respective city, or on a particular subject matter. Let’s be honest, if you attended a good high school and college, this is not rocket science. Colasurdo finds it a lot to ask if the writers not being paid, but I am pleased that the fact we are editing articles according to AP Style, and seeking top notch writers is being recognized. I think that this sets Ask Miss A apart, and I’m proud of this.

Ask Miss A has a good mix of writers — both professional and non-professional. Some of Ask Miss A’s writers are subject experts and write by subject, while others write geographically on one of the 14 cities we cover. Doesn’t Ms. Colasurdo know that most English majors do NOT go on to become professional writers? Why shouldn’t these people be allowed to write? Do professional journalists not understand that History, Politics and other majors also have to learn to write in college? Do they not realize that those in legal, political, PR and other professions also write in their line of work? Some of my writers are still getting their journalism or English degree. Should these writers not be able to write because they haven’t graduated yet? Who is to say a decorator who is blogging on design wasn’t an English major, or like two of my friends — attorneys who became famous chick lit authors.

I understand where professional journalists are coming from. Their industry is changing very quickly. The public now has a choice — they can get info from subject experts who aren’t professional writers, and from professional writers who aren’t subject experts, or from the subject themselves. Due to intellectual elitism, and being coddled for so long by wealthy families who own the news industry, professional journalists are having a hard time realizing that they are just as expendable as the rest of us. Though they may not work in a steel mill, or textile plant, technology is changing the game. Like the rest of us, professional journalists are vulnerable and must adapt to survive.

– Miss A

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In 2008, I launched AskMissA.com which grew from my personal blog into a site with 700 writers, covering the intersection of charity & lifestyle in 20 U.S. cities. With Charity + Life, I am going back to a personal blog where I can share my favorite things, and continue to shine a light on nonprofits, and cause marketing campaigns to inspire others to give as they live.

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