On Friday, April 1st, a series of tweets were exchanged between my friend, writer Jeff Deeney and the person behind Metro Philly’s Twitter account re: a dispute about fees owed Jeff for freelance work. See this. And this. I was a little surprised to read this exchange coming from a corporate account. A lot of disgruntled individuals tweet at corporate accounts, celebrities and other public accounts. But most account managers are trained not to respond to deliberately provocative comments. So for a while, I mistakenly thought I had been duped by an April Fool’s joke.
But when I sheepishly contacted Jeff to laugh with him about it, he wasn’t laughing. He really hadn’t been paid for work he had done three years ago for Metro Philly. Jeff sent me over a series of emails showing his efforts to contact Metro Philly and get compensated for his writing. No luck. According to Jeff, “I wrote a series of covers for them in 2008, they nominated them for a Keystone award, then stiffed me.”
Now I don’t exactly condone Jeff’s approach. Heck, we only became friends after we got into a not-so-friendly debate about the hipster grafter. But I do understand the frustration that comes with not being paid for work. Don’t get between a writer and their money. Just. Don’t. Newspaper writing ain’t no easy job. Do right by your freelancers, Metro Philly. Pay the writer.