Exposure Doesn’t Pay Your Rent

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Last week, author and Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton wrote an essay about the seven things he did to reboot his life. The Huffington Post, a publisher recently purchased by Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion, offered Wheaton the opportunity to republish the essay in exchange for the “unique platform and reach our site provides.” Wheaton declined. His now-viral rebuttal to Huffington Post’s offer has once again raised the question of whether writers and creative content makers should produce for free. Salon examines the issue of balancing free and paid work:

Writers, shooters, graphic designers, musicians, and others do need to get their work, and their names, “out there” – they hear this all the time! Many run their own blogs for this very purpose. But unlike start-up types who first raise money on the basis of something they’re hoping to do, these craftspeople live off the work they produce. And they constantly, in a digital age that has already destabilized their earnings, are asked to do it for free.


Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →