The Kill Fee is Killing Us All


Journalist Scott Carney wants to kill the kill fee:

When I came back to America I sent the best draft of the piece I could to my editor. He didn’t like it. So I rewrote it. He wanted stronger anecdotes, so I rewrote it again. Over the course of the next seven months I rewrote the draft at least 9 times from scratch looking for better angles and more powerful anecdotes. Here’s a link to my last attempt. In the end the editor, who never really gave me much useful feedback despite my endless rewrites, killed the piece. The NYTimes issued me a 25% fee as per the terms of their contract. I had spent the better part of a year working on the story.

Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →