Should I pay $10,000.00 for this writing assignment?

March 28th, 2013 by abbe diaz


[ When you have a burrrning question that desperately needs to be answered, where should one go? Oh ohh I know! Quora, of course! ]


Should I pay $10,000.00 for this writing assignment?

Or more precisely, what exactly about this assignment is worth $10,000? I’m not saying I won’t pay it, I just want to know what I’m paying for. Admittedly, I am sometimes pretty naive when it comes to journalism, what with giving credence to that whole “ethical standards” stuff and whatnot.

Anyway, around the middle of my Answer here, I mention an “investigative reporter” job offer, which was then forwarded to a journalist here on Quora:

Abbe Diaz’s answer to Journalism: What are some of the worst breaches of journalists’ ethics?

Now, I did post this very same job offer on Craigslist awhile back, and I got many many many responses. And I did choose a writer who had some pretty solid experience, having been published in HuffPo several times, as well as Gawker, Esquire, and Salon, and other such publications I can’t recall right now.

I offered him “10 cents per word, 2000 words maximum. Bonus up to DOUBLE for any particularly substantial and/or additional pertinent information discovered,” and he accepted. That would have been about $400.00 total.
(The whole offer and exchange is delineated here.)

And then oddly enough, despite his prior enthusiasm, I never heard from him again. This led my associates and I to speculate that he might in fact have merely been a “mole.” And since we assumed he had Google alerts (don’t we all?) and he never refuted the accusation, we just kinda stuck to that hypothesis.

Additionally, if the $1,000.00 I then subsequently offered to other writers was wholly insufficient, why then would those writers have to be threatened not to accept the job offer? Wouldn’t the insulting compensatory amount be disincentive enough?


Furthermore, I am vaguely aware that there have been other stories publicized about unscrupulousness in the media (Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair, and Jonah Lehrer spring to mind); were the journalists who exposed the misdeeds of those writers paid $10,000 by their respective employers for their investigative reporting?

Just as another example, in the prelude to my job offer I also mention a blogger who did some investigative work on an “Apple Pie Plagiarist.” Was that blogger paid $10,000 for his work?

In short, what would my $10,000 be buying exactly?

Like I said, there is a chance I would pay it. But I’m a bit confused as to the price tag and would simply like to hear from journalists a pragmatic justification for it.



Care to read the bestest Answer offered (so far), submitted by a journalist named Dan Tynan*?

Read Quote of Abbe Diaz’s answer to Journalism: Should I pay $10,000.00 for this writing assignment? on Quora
* Journalist Dan Tynan is designated “Anonymous” due to Quora’s “walled garden” policy. To see the Q/A as it was intended, you must register and/or log-in for Quora’s (free) services.



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5 Responses to “Should I pay $10,000.00 for this writing assignment?”

  1. Dick Johnson Says:

    I said it before, Diaz, and I’ll say it again:
    You don’t want to hire a writer who lacks Reading Comprehension.

    Hey, while you’re spending all that time on Quora why don’t you just ask the question:

  2. abbe Says:


    ha ha ha ha ahaa

    i’m seriously considering it.

  3. Inkslinger Says:

    OG handles are back!? Whut whut!

    Do it, Abbs! That would be so funny.

  4. Wanda Smith Says:

    Abbe is a moron- a hostile, filthy, moron.
    Let’s not worry.
    She’ll be gone soon, like every thing she’s attempted to “rite”.

  5. Dick Johnson Says:

    Sure she is, “Wanda.” You lying cowardly ugly filthy whore. Keep it coming, bitch. Make my day. I am so dying to fuck you up the way you really deserve, you thieving lying cowardly piece of shit.

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