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Comment is Cheap: Paying Australian Writers


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How much money are freelance writers being paid in Australia? Pay rates are a notoriously murky aspect of the media industry and can vary wildly from one publication to another. Widespread frustration at the lack of transparency has led to websites like, which crowdsource information on how much writers are really getting paid by media outlets.

What impact does this uncertainty have on writers themselves and what they’re writing about? We’ll ask Broadsheet’s editorial director, Tim Fisher; the MEAA Victorian regional director, Carolyn Dunbar; and freelance writers Margaret Simons and Ben Eltham how the industry could do better.


Tim Fisher

Tim Fisher is the editorial director of Broadsheet Media. In the past decade Tim has edited a range of websites and magazines for publishers including Architecture Media, News Corp and Morrison Media, where he became the longest-serving editor of Surfing Life magazine. He has worked in communication... Read more

Carolyn Dunbar

Carolyn Dunbar is the regional director of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance in Victoria and Tasmania. Carolyn’s role as a union officer is to advocate on behalf of  journalists and media and communications workers in relation to industrial, employment and professional issues. Caroly... Read more

Margaret Simons

Margaret Simons is Associate Professor in the School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University. In 2015, she won the Walkley Award for Social Equity Journalism. Her recent books include Six Square Metres, Self-Made Man: The Kerry Stokes Story, What’s Next in Journalism?, Journalism at ... Read more

Ben Eltham

Ben Eltham studied neuroscience, philosophy and cultural studies before editing the University of Queensland’s Semper Floreat in 2000. He has worked as a freelance journalist and essayist since 2001 for a range of national publications, including New Matilda, Crikey, Guardian Australia, t... Read more


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