What are words worth? This is the question I found myself pondering over the course of the last few days. We have had our fair share of media-based discussions here at WFNY, most recently within the podcast with Brian Spaeth where he and Craig discussed a bare-bones cure for what ails The Plain Dealer. But just as a good portion of print-based media finds itself in self-made quicksand, it has become even more apparent that this is far from a “print” issue as much as it is one for all of journalism.
For those who have not been following, Nate Thayer has been the protagonist of a recent debate. Thayer is a highly-decorated freelance journalist who has made his name over the course of 25 years. He has won, among other accolades, a World Press Award, a Francis Frost Wood Award and a Peabody. He has won the SAIS-Novartis “Award for Excellence in International Reporting.” He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Earlier this week, Thayer published a correspondence between he and the global editor from The Atlantic wherein said editor was interested in running some of the author’s work. Their compensation for what was looking to be roughly 1,200 words: nothing.