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15 years ago, the public paid for media. Media, in turn, paid writers. And advertisers advertised. Now, advertisers spend money sponsoring cool videos, most of us expect to read for free online, Craigslist killed classified revenue…and most websites therefore can’t afford to pay editors or writers because readers don’t pay to read and advertisers don’t advertise and classifieds don’t exist and…
This is serious stuff because it reduces quality original information—real journalism—for you and me.
Journalism is meant to serve as the fourth estate—the watch dog of government, and our corporations. A check on power and a beacon of honesty and transparency on behalf of we, the people.
As a lifelong writer and journalist, and founder of elephant journal, I believe in paying writers for quality work—and my “paygate”—”reinventing journalism in a new media context,” which I created in 2009—enables passionate elephant subscribers to keep us in business, pay our best consistent writers and editors to do good work for you.
Despite the fact that we make very little off of ads—about 1/50th other sites our size, because we only want to work with mindful advertisers, I feel it’s important pay the equivalent of several staff salaries a month to writers who are consistent, quality and popular.
Our system, detailed below, is intended to:
1) establish clear goals for writers every month and
2) create a cooperative, team-effort system that encourages writers to support one another through commenting, sharing & sharing tips.
Elephant Journal’s Writer Payment Plan:
Our incentives reward writers who are
3) and quality
…and not just one of the three.
Secondly, we pay team players: those who support one another with advice, likes, tweets, comments and shares.
We measure total elephant readership numbers (22 million sessions/month and rising) through Google Analytics, not individual numbers through WordPress (WP numbers can be fuzzy). Writers who support one another with comments, shares, tweets and likes, shares to reddit, stumbleupon…writers who offer up consistent, accessible quality…will win more often than not.
> The most popular among you qualify for the most popular writers bonus below:
Most Popular Writers.
Each month’s top 15 writers get a bonus. I’ll be able to pay 20 top writers, and up, as elephant makes more money.
To qualify for one of our 15 monthly bonuses, fulfill three criteria:
1) consistency: eight quality blogs, or more, published in the month. Note: do not wait to send in blogs toward the end of the month as we may not get them up in time and they won’t count. Turnaround from receipt of your submission to posting could be as long as a week unless labeled “timely” in the submit form.
2) quality: not only do you blog consistently, but they are of sufficient quality and merit that we accept them and share them up. If they are quality, your community on your FB, Pinterest, Instagram etc will respond and support with likes, reads, shares.
3) popularity: reaching beyond the choir to all those who don’t yet know they give a care about “the mindful life” is a part of our mission. We don’t think about clicks or views: we think about number of readers.
I’ll pay the top 15 most popular folks who submit view counts by noon MST on the last day of the month—if you submit your view count even one minute late, no payment. No excuses, no exceptions. If you submit your view count even one hour late, no payment. No excuses, no exceptions. If you submit your view count even one day late, no payment. No excuses, no exceptions. PS: no excuses, no exceptions.
> If our team of writers helps elephant grow as a site for any given month,
elephant’s #1 writer for the month wins $2,500!
#2 wins $1,250!
#3 wins $750!
#4 and #5 receive $300 each,
#6 and #7 win $150 each,
and #8 – #15 earn $108 each.
> If elephant doesn’t grow as a whole (the team player incentive),
Everyone gets the above, except the bottom tier who would have been paid $108 gets a free year-long gift subscription to elephant journal to give away instead, and the top tier gets $1,500 instead of $2,500.
Alex Sandra Myles: 31 articles; 1,699,614 readers for $2,500 & a Naropa hug!
Kate Rose: 31 articles; 1,203,589 readers for $1,250 & a low-five!
Elyane Youssef: 6 articles; 139,687 readers for $750 & a hug!
Monika Carless: 17 articles; 137,485 views for $300 & a wink!
Christine “Cissy” White: 13 articles; 135,029 views for $300 & a smooch!
Kimberly Lo: 12 articles; 125,091 views for $150 & a high five!
Garrick Transell: 6 articles; 119,377 views for $150 & a firm handshake!
Hilda Carroll: 12 articles; 75,322 views for $108 & a big smooch!
Carmelene Siani: 21 articles; 72,545 views for $108 & a big hug!
Toby Israel:12 articles; views for 55,993 for $108 & she’s hired!
Sarah Harvey: 13 articles; views for 37,162 for $108 & we heart you!
Anne Clendening: 9 articles; views for 23,170 for $108 & mwuah!
Katie Vessel: 6 articles; views for 19,830 for $108 & nice work, you!
Stacy Porter: 6 articles; 6,644 views for $108 & wow!
Kathryn Muyskens: 6 articles; 6,079 views for $108 & you are a rockstar!
For a grand total of $6,264, from our editors, social media share-ers, Waylon, and most of all our readers.