Former NY Times editor Jill Abramson has not been sitting still since she was controversially fired by the Times.
She’s raising money for a news startup that generated fireworks after rumors circulated of journalists receiving great big chunks of money to research and write long pieces — as much as $100,000.
When asked about it at a Silicon Valley conference for women, I got a warm, fuzzy feeling when reading her response:
Abramson: The important thing is the survival of quality journalism, and I think people want to read extraordinarily well-worded, elegantly told, gripping stories that explore important areas of life and the world. The appetite for that is very robust, and we’re going to be publishing stories of between 20,000 and 30,000 words. That’s almost the equivalent in the nonfiction world of a novella or short book. I was surprised when people had the reaction that, “Oh my God, that’s so much money” (for an advance). Since when did we decide that writers should be paid nothing? I mean, that’s what surprised me. And you know, if I spent my life worrying about what the navel-gazers are going to say, I wouldn’t be accomplishing anything, so I don’t. I developed the hide of a rhinoceros.
I don’t know if her journalism startup will ever get off the ground. But it’s refreshing to see someone challenge the thinking that good journalists should simply accept living just above the poverty line.
Keep writing, Tom Chandler.