How I blew it with The Tele

Aspiring journalist Matt Smith tried to persuade The Daily Telegraph’s Joe Hildebrand to publish a piece he had written in the News Limited paper’s Inside Edition section. Matters did not end well, as Smith reveals in this guest post.

“Getting published in the Telegraph at all is a pretty massive deal for an aspiring journalist mate and you just blew it. Take your piece elsewhere.”

The above is, word for word, the e-mail from Joe Hildebrand that ended my chance of getting a piece published in their pages.

You may wonder what prompted him to respond in such a way.

I consider myself a freelance journalist. It’s not my day job (in the past year I’ve made $2000 as a journalist) but I enjoy the discipline of writing.

My bank balance might not really reflect this, but I have quite a few runs on the board when it comes to getting work published. I’ve regularly had pieces published across Crikey, The Punch, and The National Times, all of which has gone unpaid. Usually when I have been paid it’s been when a piece goes to print in a newspaper. Hence my exchange with Joe Hildebrand.

I ’d written a rather lighthearted piece, since made available on my website, (9 Oct update: wording here amended by Mumbrella for clarity at Matt’s request) having a dig at Ten for consistently flooding their primetime with lowbrow reality programs. I sent it to a number of section editors, hoping it would take some interest as something offbeat. I’d never had a piece published in the Daily Telegraph before, but thought I might as well try. I sent it to Joe and got back a good response.

“I like it. Let me run it next week. Can you send through a headshot please mate.”

After a brief victory dance, I fired back a quick response.

Thanks, Joe. Two questions – what dimensions headshot, and will it run as a paid piece?

To which Joe replied:

“Sadly we’ve got a moratorium on paid contributions at the moment mate, so I can only offer you fame. Any dimension headshot will do.”

At this point you’ll understand that I was a bit disappointed. I work hard on writing, I’m qualified and have a track record. The Daily Telegraph is, or so I thought, a reasonably successful newspaper. If they were running something that I had written, I should receive something.‘Fame’, if you call it that, is one thing. Acknowledgment of professional skills is another. The Sydney Opera House doesn’t expect its plumbing fixed for free, so why shouldn’t I be paid for my work?

After some thought I decided that I’d go ahead with it – even though I’m quite well known to Fairfax, I’d never had a piece published in a News Limited newspaper. So I answered –

“Hi, Joe. That’s a tough ask for an emerging/aspiring journalist – especially when sites like Daily Life manage to give contributors some money – so I hope you can understand my disappointment. Please run the twitter handle at the end at least, and let me know when the piece will run. Photo attached.”

I thought this was a fair enough thing to say – I expected, if anything, commiseration that the situation is what it is. Instead, I received the response published at the top of this piece that I’d blown it. My piece was dismissed, not because there wasn’t room or it wasn’t good – but because Joe Hildebrand believes I should be happy and grateful simply to be published.

The industry can be prone to exploiting the vulnerability of freelancers – especially those who don’t know better. The market has been flooded by those who are willing to write for nothing, whether they be pushing an agenda or just wanting to get some exposure. Websites like The Punch, The National Times, and Crikey make full use of this willingness (although to their credit, Crikey do pay some contributors).

While submitting a piece to an online website for free is one thing, getting published in a major newspaper is another. They’re businesses that sell their pages, and they should be expected to give their contributors some kind of payment. It’s acknowledgment of skill, professionalism, and talent. It’s encouragement. At the very least, the acceptance of a free story should be done with respect and gratitude to the contributor.

I’m not the only freelancer who has these thoughts. We all want to be respected and appreciated for our work, but at the same time a living is a living. For many of us we’re so used to not being paid that it wouldn’t really take much to buy us off – a token payment would be much more than we’d normally see from our work.

‘You similarly wouldn’t ask your accountant to do your tax return, wait until it’s been lodged, and then explain to her that you wouldn’t be paying her this year,’ Karen Pickering said in a recent article on the Wheeler Centre. I doubt that there is any profession where you can so easily expect something for nothing.

The industry is undeniably going through some tough times, but if newspapers are reluctant to pay for the stories it prints, it’s putting a lousy value on the price of the written word. The free in ‘freelancing’ devalues everything, least of all those who publish.

  • matt smithMatt Smith is a freelance writer in Melbourne. You can follow him on twitter: @nightlightguy.For the record, he did not ask for, or receive, payment for this guest post

Joe Hildebrand responds:

Matthew Smith sent me an unsolicited oped, like plenty of others we get everyday.

I thought it was a vaguely interesting subject and said I would run it next week.

He then responded asking if we needed a headshot and whether he would get paid. This was my exact response:

“Sadly we’ve got a moratorium on paid contributions at the moment mate, so I can only offer you fame. Any dimension headshot will do.”

Matt’s exact response was as follows:

“Hi, Joe

“That’s a tough ask for an emerging/aspiring journalist – especially when sites like Daily Life manage to give contributors some money – so I hope you can understand my disappointment.

“Please run the twitter handle at the end at least, and let me know when the piece will run. Photo attached.

“Matt Smith”

Notwithstanding that he clearly does not know how to use punctuation in greetings, as you can see his only response was to complain and then sighingly instruct that we “at least” run his Twitter handle and tell him when it was running. Nor did he bother to say thank you in this missive.

The fact that any aspiring journalist would get the chance to be published in Sydney’s biggest newspaper and then turn his nose up and whinge about it I found absolutely staggering.

Just as staggering is that he would have the gall to write a piece about how hard it is to get published in the Telegraph when in fact he was all set to be published but blew it by being a rude little man with an overblown sense of entitlement.

As anyone who has picked up a newspaper recently knows, the industry is facing enormously tough times and our contributor budget is tiny. I have had the unpleasant duty of telling far more worthy, experienced and talented writers than Matthew that we are unable to pay them for future work. None has ever responded with such pathetic self-important whining.

I could not be happier about my decision.


  1. Alex
    8 Oct 12
    5:37 pm

  2. There you have it, folks. The expectation of payment for work provided is now the product of an overblown sense of entitlement.

  3. Rob
    8 Oct 12
    5:39 pm

  4. I’m with Hildebrand

  5. Michael
    8 Oct 12
    5:41 pm

  6. Sorry someone dared to speak out against the Daily Toiletpaper Joe.

    Hasn’t the “It will look good on your portfolio” argument against payment gotten tired yet?

  7. Adam
    8 Oct 12
    5:42 pm

  8. What a douche-bag response from Hildebrand. Reading Matt’s peice had me thinking maybe he caught Joe on a bad day, reading Joe’s response makes me think he’s just a dick. I wonder why newspapers are going broke?

  9. RET
    8 Oct 12
    5:42 pm

  10. Joe,

    Seriously? You accuse Mr Smith of “pathetic, self-important whining”?

    When you’re in a hole, you should stop digging.

  11. Darryl Mason
    8 Oct 12
    6:01 pm

  12. How dare Matt Smith not praise Joe and shower him with thanks for possibly being published in the Daily Telegraph, without payment. And to demand his Twitter handle be included….who does this guy think he is? Back in reality land, the DT wasn’t fond of paying for columns back when the rivers of gold were flowing either. And just what kudos does being published in the Daily Telegraph carry these days anyway? Clearly it’s not too difficult. Joe admits he was prepared to publish a piece he wasn’t blown away by, and had room within the next 7 days to run it. Exactly who was doing who a favour here?

  13. Andy
    8 Oct 12
    6:03 pm

  14. How is a newspaper different from a website in this context? Those three websites mentioned are all advertising supported at the very least, one of the, being a News Limited website too.

    Although Joe’s response seemed fairly harsh it does reflect the current situation with all major publishers at the moment.

  15. @TatteredRemnant
    8 Oct 12
    6:14 pm

  16. Wow, Joe Hildebrand saying that Matt was “a rude little man with an overblown sense of entitlement.” is irony on a grand scale.

  17. Gil
    8 Oct 12
    6:23 pm

  18. “The fact that any aspiring journalist would get the chance to be published in Sydney’s biggest newspaper…”

    The fact, Joe, seems to be that “Sydney’s biggest newspaper” is apparently too impoverished to pay for content it deems of a high enough standard to publish. You may be happy to adopt such a sanctimoniously obnoxious attitude towards those who dare ask for payment, but it does a disservice to your employer and the profession you attach yourself to.

  19. Rosscoe
    8 Oct 12
    6:27 pm

  20. I’m also with Joe.

  21. Danny Lewis
    8 Oct 12
    6:31 pm

  22. Dear Joe Hildebrand,

    Get stuffed, you massive wanker.

    How’s that for punctuation?

  23. Haydos
    8 Oct 12
    6:33 pm

  24. Is Hildebrand an Alan Jones in the making?

  25. Yoda
    8 Oct 12
    6:34 pm

  26. Hilderbrand sounds like he’s on the right side of the argument to me.

  27. Phil
    8 Oct 12
    6:34 pm

  28. I liked Joe – until now!

  29. Bem
    8 Oct 12
    6:34 pm

  30. Wow, Hildebrand’s response is agressive and mean. First, it’s an email, who cares if there’s grammatical errors. Second, it’s pretty pathetic to not pay someone for work you will be featuring. If I’m a distributor and my supplier gives me merchandise I’m expected to pay. But if I’m a newspaper and someone gives me content all they get is “prestige?” Please! I don’t think asking for a Twitter handle after agreeing to not be paid for work is too much to ask for. And since when is wanting to be paid for work attributed to an overblown sense of entitlement? Makes you wonder who really has the overblown sense of entitlement. No wonder the industry is in shambles if this is the response from editors. I was going to try my hand at some freelancing. I think I’ll pass lest I be accused of whining for being paid for my hard work.

  31. Alex
    8 Oct 12
    6:36 pm

  32. Staggering twattery from Hildebrand. The talent’s not going digital because it’s the future, it’s going digital to avoid industrial-scale goonhats like that one. Nitwit.

    Oh, and you missed an Oxford comma in the penultimate graf. Just saying.

  33. Matt
    8 Oct 12
    6:41 pm

  34. Agree with HIldebrand, who i usually find can be a bit of a tool.

  35. Jack B. Nimble
    8 Oct 12
    6:42 pm

  36. I’ll go against the flow here and back Joe Hildebrand. Why?

    1. Matt wasn’t offering a piece he had written from scratch just for theThe Tele. It wasn’t some original exclusive piece. He’d already written it and published it on his own blog. Why should he seek to be paid commercial rates,. as if he was a journalist who had offered to write a piece from scratch which is sold only to that publisher? Sorry Matt, but in this instance you’re hawking the article around for your own exposure and that is what the Tele was offering. It was a good deal and you should have taken it.

    2. Matt’s attitude in his email to Joe, even the original he posted (not the one Joe copied in), struck me right away as being ungracious and presumptive. Didn’t ask if his Twitter handle could run, didn’t say thanks – exactly the two things which Joe calls out, struck me right away when I read that email. Editors are important people and they’re busy people and you don’t jerk them around. (More often than not the editor is the one doing you, the writer, a favour. Writers might not like it but that’s the way it is, anybody who doesn’t agree has probably never been an editor.)

    3. Finally, Matt, you’re starting out in this game, and that means making some sacrifices if you want to get somewhere. In this case without a lot of paid published work behind you, you’re seeking a foot in the door – you’re seeking to add The Tele to your roster of published work (an you said just that, “even though I’m quite well known to Fairfax, I’d never had a piece published in a News Limited newspaper”) – and for a piece that’s already been published on your blog anyway, you should just take it for what it is, an opportunity to get your name and work out there. Don’t expect any money this time around. Maybe not even the next, and certainly not if it’s for an article you’ve already written.

    That’s the reality of freelancing, when you start out you need to make a few sacrifices to get your name out there. Once you’ve got an “in” with a few editors and developed your portfolio and contacts , then you can start to capitalise on them.

  37. Tamz
    8 Oct 12
    6:51 pm

  38. Like Hildebrand said, it was a quick op-ed like all the others he gets every day.

    It’s the sort of thing I’m expected to rustle up in less than two hours for a class at my journalism school.

    “Opinion” like this is cheap and dirty, something anyone might write for a bit of fun. It’s a glorified letter to the editor.

    Before you demand payment, offer a piece that was well-researched and timely, conduct an interview or three and maybe throw in some statistics. Even for a blog post like this, Matt could have looked up the ratings for the last few years and put in some actual numbers, or called an academic.

    That’s what separates a journalist submitting a piece of journalism from an amateur with a whinge.

  39. Shamma
    8 Oct 12
    6:56 pm

  40. Unsure what is worse – Joe’s aggressive patronising response or the wannabe’s passive aggressive dig to him about ‘my disappointment’ and how Daily Life manage to pay people and the ‘tough ask’ to run it unpaid even though it was written already …

    Can’t help but think if the guy had of shopped it around with a price tag the whole thing wouldn’t have gotten any steam.

    Anyway they both come across looking like dickheads here so well done all.

  41. Kevin
    8 Oct 12
    6:57 pm

  42. As a former chief of staff at News Ltd and the ABC I’m with Joe.
    The aspiring journo appears to be confusing an oped with paid, commissioned pieces.
    Opeds on topics such as Chaennel Ten and reality TV are no more valuable than the opinion of Fred Nirk in a pub.
    A piece by a respected TV reviewer or relevant academic, if commissioned, would paid for.
    A researched news item would also be paid for.
    To use the plumber analogy; I pay to get the pipes fixed, not for a plumbers thoughts on the weekend footy.
    It’s a by-products of social media that people appear to think that their random thoughts have some value.
    I therefore offer this advice to the aspiring journo, free ofcharge.

  43. Sawhole
    8 Oct 12
    7:02 pm

  44. Since when do you get paid for op eds?
    Team Joe.

  45. Mick
    8 Oct 12
    7:02 pm

  46. Every sentiment, word, piece of pain aligns with the comedy industry. You better be funny but you need to suck, suck, suck long and hard to those of Leeds or no talent.

  47. Anonymous
    8 Oct 12
    7:06 pm

  48. I’m with Joe all the way. Matt’s probably ruined his chance with other papers now, thanks to his published tantrum…

  49. Richo
    8 Oct 12
    7:07 pm

  50. This is why you pick up the phone to have a business conversation with a fellow professional you do not know.

  51. Miller
    8 Oct 12
    7:07 pm

  52. “None has ever responded with such pathetic self-important whining.”

    If a Daily Telegraph journalist is prepared to suit up as the grammar police, I’m calling Hildebrand on the lack of a comma between the words pathetic and self-important. Maybe Joe was too busy for punctuation. Of course, Matt wasn’t afforded the same luxury.

    As a freelance writer of twenty years’ standing, I’ve never written for free. I could also count the number of times I’ve written for News Ltd on one hand. Move on and don’t look back.

    Personally, I wouldn’t have complained so publicly, but that’s probably the Gen X coming out in me. Mind you, you’re probably in News Ltd purgatory now. Perhaps a name change to Matthew Smith?

    Any grammatical errors in this posting were done on purpose…

  53. Will work for food
    8 Oct 12
    7:09 pm

  54. “A rude little man with an overblown sense of entitlement.”

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

  55. CRS
    8 Oct 12
    7:10 pm

  56. Joe, do you have a clock in your office that’s counting down the days til you’re out of a job?

  57. PBS
    8 Oct 12
    7:11 pm

  58. Hmmmm… “Rude little man with an overblown sense of entitlement” . Best description I’ve seen yet of Joe Hildebrand.

  59. Lichtenstein
    8 Oct 12
    7:13 pm

  60. Whilst I completely empathize with your frustrations, what exactly are you trying to achieve by taking potshots at the Tele and Joe Hildebrand?

    As an aspiring journo, I have to thank you. Your short-sightedness and idiocy has made it so I don’t have to compete with another obviously talented journalist.


  61. Alvin
    8 Oct 12
    7:17 pm

  62. As a former editor for News and Fairfax, I think Joe probably has come down a bit hard on Matt. If it was a decent piece it probably deserved a run.

    Admittedly Matt had a little whinge, but at least he wasn’t insulting or very rude. I reckon Joe is far more rude in some of those very funny columns he gets to write.

    The newspaper game has always been pretty harsh, even before the downturn. Short, sharp conversations ended abruptly are pretty standard, as are knock-backs for worthy work.

    That said, it’s time to move on from any hopes you had of filing copy for The Tele, Matt.

    I hate to say it but you probably should have thought it through before writing this piece. I reckon if you hadn’t written this story, which sent mUmBRELLA seeking a response from Joe, you might have been able to have another swing at getting an article placed in six months time.

    Now, there is no way Joe is going to forget your byline on a story despite the “plenty of others that are submitted every day”. For the next year or longer any story you submit to The Tele is likely to be instantly spiked unless you can come up with a cool pseudonym and a fake email address to hide your true identity. What about Bruce Kent?

  63. Dave
    8 Oct 12
    7:25 pm

  64. From a press section editors point of view. It’s nobody’s fault.

    The first and worst task of freelance commissions, is managing the expectations of your contributors, paid or not.

    But you must always manage the disappointments.

    Nothing against Joe, he’s a fine writer, but he should be writing, not dealing with administration like this…

    Matt has said nothing more offensive than any contributor barks back.. I’ve seen ten of his comments in one day..

  65. Bec
    8 Oct 12
    7:29 pm

  66. If the policy is to not pay contributors, Hildebrand should be upfront with that with every single contributor first. Make it his byline or something, big and bold. Or a header on every page.
    And if they want something, then maybe the DT should offer something in return. It’s an age old system. It used to be based on money, but now Hildebrand reckons the glory of being published in the paper is gonna pay the bills. Perhaps he could explain that to an economist?
    And why should a published writer be all fawny and thankful just to stroke some ego? Telling an editor of one’s disappointment is not whiny it is honest, but the DT wouldn’t be familiar with that, would it?

  67. Mal
    8 Oct 12
    7:31 pm

  68. This whole post and the reply make me suspicious. Not only was it published with a reply from Joe, in which Joe alludes to the fact that he had read this article online when clearly he must have read it before it was published, but also, being an editor myself I would be very surprised if anyone in Joe’s position would trouble themselves with a bit of angst from a rejected writer. Kick any trashcan, a rejected writer will come crawling out. Or, it’s a ridiculous clashing of egos…nice one, gentlemen.

  69. mumbrella
    8 Oct 12
    7:34 pm

  70. Hi Mal,

    Joe didn’t get to see the piece prior to publication (and didn’t ask), but I did invite him to comment and made clear it would be focused around the “you blew it message”. When he emailed me his response, I added it to the item before publishing it.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  71. Darren
    8 Oct 12
    7:35 pm

  72. I pity the poor journo, but frankly he should probably be grateful he didn’t get the honour of contributing his talents to the Murdoch empire for free.

    Honestly, it’s galling that they are trying to hide behind budget when News Limited is one of the biggest corporate empires on the planet.

    As for the Daily Terror, how this publication and its contributors have made themselves the self-appointed voice of Sydneysiders I’ll never know, but frankly Joe (I’m not a twat you are) Hildebrand and his merry marauders do not represent me.

    Mate, it might seem hard to take now, but your writing style is far worthier of more balanced and less self-important company.

  73. userIDtaken
    8 Oct 12
    7:36 pm

  74. I’m with Joe,too.
    To gt an opportunity to be published, the whining about not getting paid, not expressing any sort of gratitude, instructing an editor to “at least” … Overblown sense of entitlement about sums it up.
    I’m tipping Matt would act differently if he had his time over.

    I can understand wanting to be paid, but you also have to crawl before you can walk.

  75. James
    8 Oct 12
    7:43 pm

  76. So the two people defending Hildebrand don’t even actually bother to place any substance behind it. Seems apt.

    Hildebrand’s response was pathetic. If you’re Sydney’s biggest newspaper then you have money to pay contributors.

  77. Melissa
    8 Oct 12
    7:59 pm

  78. Although I agree that the Daily Telegraph should pay, Matt Smith’s email is simply rude. Matt, perhaps you should consider the tone and content of your email before you press “send”. The email is simply impolite. I actually don’t blame Joe for his response. If I received an email like that I would do the same.

  79. Christo
    8 Oct 12
    8:00 pm

  80. Unsolicited opeds are just that, whether or not the contributor enjoys the discipline of writing. I’m with Joe but keep writing, Matt. You never know when someone will ask you for more – and offer to pay!

  81. Jono
    8 Oct 12
    8:05 pm

  82. Poor Joe. Matthew didn’t grovel enough so now he has an ‘overblown sense of entitlement’ merely for wanting to be paid like … you’re paid to write? Gee life must be hard for you, Joe. P.S. Noice grammar Nazi move on the comma in the greeting. Real classy.

  83. kass
    8 Oct 12
    8:06 pm

  84. I can see both sides of the coin on this.

    When I was a young writer, studying and trying to get a start, I did a LOT of work for free – for papers, radio and TV. Many, many hours were spent gaining experience. To get regular journalism jobs, they wanted a folio. A track record. I got paid for none of it.

    Back then, that’s what you had to do. It was before the proliferation of blogs and when papers were still at the forefront of newsbreaking and financial success.

    Things have definitely changed.

    On the odd occasion I was paid, I was so grateful. I liked being appreciated and having my work deemed worthy of payment – it was worthy (and still is!). But I also accepted that it was part of the deal – when I had solid experience behind me and proof I could work to deadlines and with editors, the paid work would come. That was how it worked. That is how it turned out.

    These days, anyone with a keyboard and a Twitter account seems to consider themselves a journalist or a writer. In some senses, that might be true and I am not trying to cut anyone’s dreams in half here, but some perspective is required. Working for free, sometimes, is not the worst thing you can do. Ideal? No. 100% fair? No. But it’s also about establishing relationships. Developing trust with editors, letting them see that you can be relied upon to produce good content, on time. Editors get dozens of submissions every day. They cannot pay everyone. And if you’re a rookie, then perhaps the “fame” should be enough the first time around. Developing relationships as a freelancer is just as important as your writing. That’s the reality of how things work today.

    That said, saying it in so many words, Joe, probably wasn’t your best work for the day! There’s no loss in staying classy.

    I do think it’s reasonable to be paid for work you do. And, in my experience, when you do something for the “fame” the first time around, often next time that editor has a little bit of cash to pay freelancers, it might come your way instead of somewhere else. If you’re serious about being in the game, then sometimes you have to play along. Not forever. But first time around.

    Just my two cents worth (rounded up to five).

  85. Mel
    8 Oct 12
    8:15 pm

  86. Wow. So Joe thinks the best use of his right of reply is to sling petty insults and generally confirm that he’s an exploitative dick.

    Team Matt.

  87. Greg
    8 Oct 12
    8:15 pm

  88. What a remarkably arrogant, snotty and childish response to a simple request. This confirms the gut feeling I’ve long had of Joe Hildebrand. The fact that he was given an opportunity to reflect on his action, yet still responded even more childishly (I could not be happier about my decision”) just further underlines the sense of entitlement he himself has! I’m sure Boss Murdoch would be very proud of this member of his mignon!

  89. Dick meet Dick
    8 Oct 12
    8:18 pm

  90. This is what happens when a dickhead meets a dickhead. Everyone looses.

    You both sound like idiots and neither of you have done yourselves any favours.

    You’ll both be pawing over these responses – it gives me great joy to know you’ll be reading this one.

    Honestly, please both of you think ‘what would mum think’.

  91. Mike637
    8 Oct 12
    8:20 pm

  92. I think the main culprit here is that both have misunderstood the tone of each other’s emails. In the first instance neither appear to being particularly rude. Matt raises good points about why he could expect payment and joe simply has no budget. It seems to me that if they had been able to discuss in person or over the phone this situation would have been avoided. Sometimes the old fashioned ways of communication are better suited to the subject matter.

  93. Matt
    8 Oct 12
    8:32 pm

  94. I’m with Joe on this one. The gift horse had a mouth and this guy looked into it. It’s nothing to do with News not being willing to pay for content – they have thousands of qualified journos on the books providing it.
    Seriously Tele knockers, when are you going to get off the News hate wagon? I know it’s big, fast and easy to board, but don’t you have a sandwich/dog/baby you should be tending to?

  95. Jane
    8 Oct 12
    8:35 pm

  96. Quite scary how many journo students feel Joe is entitled to not only ask for copy for free but to expect Matt to grovel while not being paid. I have worked as a journo for 30 years and only been asked to write for free in the past 2-3 years since becoming a freelance – it has nothing to do with quality of writing and everything to do with how freelancers are viewed by editors today. I think Matt’s response is understandable, although it might have been phrased slightly differently. What Joe is really saying in his reply is that he pulled the piece because his ego was hit.

  97. Joshua
    8 Oct 12
    8:42 pm

  98. Joe let his arrogance get in the way of doing his job. He had found a piece that he liked, and Matt agreed to have it published without payment. Should have been a done deal.

    Matt’s response was not offensive. It was simply honest and terse, in keeping with the business-like tenor of the exchange from the beginning. But the fact remains that he agreed. The only thing left in the way was Joe’s ego.

    If you think Joe is in the right for rejecting someone on the grounds of not being sufficiently slavish, I would suggest you consider it from his boss’ perspective. Joe is now wasting time looking at other pieces he can use instead, and has to engage in a new round of negotiations with another writer, just to prove a point about his own importance. It’s a dumb move, and one he deserves criticism for.

  99. Claire
    8 Oct 12
    8:43 pm

  100. A comma after a greeting is actually correct, just not often used.

  101. paul
    8 Oct 12
    8:44 pm

  102. I love to see an aspiring, emergent, talented, witty writer rise to fame. Unfortunately they turn out to become Joe Hildebrand. Thought you had way more class than that, Joe. At least accept you both offhanded and high handed?…

    I must confess, however that this freelancer’s use of language is a little sloppy. Comma is quite annoying, but to not understand the emotion conveyed by use of “at least” is naïve.

    As usual, I am disappointed by the tenor and standard of public debate. :(

  103. Winstan
    8 Oct 12
    8:46 pm

  104. Let’s get this straight once and for all. (Moderated by Mumbrella – you needed to have seen The Hamster Wheel to get the context of the joke)

  105. RyanS
    8 Oct 12
    8:52 pm

  106. Ring The Opera House and offer to come in and unblock their lavs when it’s required. There will be 3 possible responses: thanks but no thanks; yes thanks but there’s no reward; or yes thanks and we’ll remunerate you financially for your efforts. It’s totally their prerogative which they choose and for you to have a whine because they didn’t go with the last option does smack of an entitlement mentality.

    Did you try Fairfax?

  107. Keri
    8 Oct 12
    8:57 pm

  108. What other industry expects you to work for free to gain “experience”? Even work experience kids usually get paid a token amount for their work. If I’m an apprentice, I might not get paid much, but I still get paid.

    And why is saying you’re “disappointed” so damn rude? I’d be disappointed too if someone wanted to take my work, make money off it and then not pay me.

  109. david reid
    8 Oct 12
    8:59 pm

  110. Matt Smith is NOT rude. Joe Hildebrand IS arrogant.

  111. Bob Harvey
    8 Oct 12
    9:03 pm

  112. The whole episode reminds me of the olddd adage :” Life is like smoking grass—the harder you suck, the higher you get”.

  113. Dylan Nickelson
    8 Oct 12
    9:05 pm

  114. I can’t believe how many commenters sound like porn industry casting agents: “You gotta screw me for free before you get the paid jobs. It’s the industry. Suck it up, literally.”

    Do aspiring writers really have to act like casting couch whores?

  115. Phlip
    8 Oct 12
    9:12 pm

  116. To be honest, if I were in charge, being refused publication in the Daily Tele would look better in one’s portfolio than the other thing. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not in charge, though.

    My favourite sentence has to be “Nor did he bother to say thank you in this missive.” — What, no “may I have another”?

  117. A little older...
    8 Oct 12
    9:43 pm

  118. Every industry in the communications field takes on interns and barely pays them for the first year or two.

    Three or four published pieces does not make you a journalist, so why not cop it?

    However, given the attitude and self-entitlement Joe’s shown you, good on you for burning your bridges and sticking it to the man.

    I think we all wanted to say that at one point or another. Good luck flipping burgers.

  119. Emily
    8 Oct 12
    10:03 pm

  120. I’m Team Joe on this one, as someone who has a struggling writer in the family and knowing the sacrifices they make to build their portfolio I can only shake my head at the rudeness and lack of foresight Matthew has shown.
    In EVERY job you make unpaid sacrifices, working extra hours/ outside your job role/ beyond your pay grade if you are serious about getting some where.
    In a market as small as print journalism prestige and portfolio can be worth more than all the $$ in the world.

  121. Melanie
    8 Oct 12
    11:30 pm

  122. Wow. There sure are a lot of people here who don’t seem to know the meaning of the words ‘whining’ or ‘rude’.

    As the editor of a free newspaper (that pays its contributors; not much, but it still pays), I thoroughly enjoyed skewering arrogant, rude writers to the wall with a pithy riposte in my day. I’ve seen plenty of ‘whining’, and even more ‘rude’. Matt’s emails are neither; Joe’s responses are most definitely the latter, and way out of proportion to the perceived offense, even if Matt caught him in a stressed moment on deadline.

  123. Simon
    9 Oct 12
    12:11 am

  124. I’m team Joe on this one. If it was a worthy piece the money would be found. Who are we kidding? A cracking yarn would have been snapped up. Joe’s response shows he’s trying to be polite about a piece that wasn’t worth the money (and had already been published elsewhere), but was worth running to give someone a start and keep communication open with an emerging writer. To be lectured after that by someone who obviously grossly overestimates the value of their work is surprising.

    Some people get away with attitude like that Matt. But you’ve got to be damn good. Commiserations.

    You need to toughen up. I can only imagine the response your whinging would have gotten from some of the old-school editors. And to then write a bleating piece afterwards complaining is short-sighted to say the least.

  125. Jack B. Nimble
    9 Oct 12
    12:19 am

  126. Keri asks: “What other industry expects you to work for free to gain “experience”? Even work experience kids usually get paid a token amount for their work. If I’m an apprentice, I might not get paid much, but I still get paid.”

    1. I’ve never heard of work experience students getting paid.

    2. If you’re an apprentice that’s a full-time gig, it’s your full-time job, and you get paid for that. Matt, like many budding freelance journalists, isn’t doing this as his full-time gig – this is essentially a voluntary hobby for him. It’s a part-time after-hours thing because he’s an amateur (a word I use deliberately in its correct context of being largely unpaid and not doing this for a living).

    And one of the best ways to move from amateur to pro, from hobby to part-time earner to potentially full-time job, is to get yourself out there, get experience, make connections, show what you can do, get known and make a name for yourself.

    That’s what The Tele offered: an opportunity to get his name out there. And again, considering this was both an op-ed (rarely paid for) and a piece already published on his own blog, expecting money for it is a bit rich, as is his tone of entitlement when responding to Joe H.

    Matt has just learned a valuable ‘life lesson’ about how this business works, let’s hope he takes it to heart.

  127. grumpy old chief sub
    9 Oct 12
    12:37 am

  128. The kid needed a smack. Joe smacked him too hard. The kid can now smack him back for not recognising the comma’d salutation is correct. Consider:

    “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me you ears”

    Now reverse it:

    “Lend me your ears, friends, Romans, countrymen”

    Now substitute:

    “Lend me your ears, Joe”

    Now render in the modern vocative:

    “Hi, Joe”

    Absolutely nothing wrong about the kid’s greetings

    Know why newspapers laid off all their subs?

    We were incredibly annoying.

  129. alex dante
    9 Oct 12
    2:43 am

  130. “In EVERY job you make unpaid sacrifices, working extra hours/ outside your job role/ beyond your pay grade if you are serious about getting some where.”

    By “some where” do you mean “the equivalent of indentured slavery”? If my time and effort has value to an organisation, it had better be adequately compensated.

  131. Tom
    9 Oct 12
    3:16 am

  132. Joe, for the love of all that is holy, please, please, please, take your hand off it.

  133. paul
    9 Oct 12
    6:47 am

  134. Well, seems like Matt got his story, and good luck to him for talking about all this.

    The Tele looks arrogant and nasty, but hey, didn’t we know that already: it’s a Murdoch paper, after all, though I doubt Joe Hildebrand is any match for Rebecca Brookes, awaiting her court case.

    But in the week when Alan Jones was taking a big tumble for being arrogant and nasty, it’s sure ain’t a good look.

  135. Donna
    9 Oct 12
    9:22 am

  136. I can see both sides. Before I had my kids, I worked on a national newspaper and sometimes commissioned work from freelancers – instructed to pay as little as possible because of tight budgets.
    Now I’m home, trying to make a few quid while watching my little ones. And because I write a blog, editors seem to assume I’m willing to write for free, to “raise my profile”.
    I’m a fully-trained journalist who was once headhunted by the best publications.
    Don’t they know who I …. was?!
    A profile does not pay the bills. And I think Matt was just trying to communicate this in a light-hearted way.
    But likewise, Joe feels he was doing him a favour and is probably flooded with writers wanting to work for his newspaper, even for free.
    It’s a frustrating situation when you know your work is worth something more.
    But you have to suck it up and take the offer of “fame” – which could lead to some paid commissions. Or you try elsewhere.

  137. Mark
    9 Oct 12
    9:34 am

  138. If what Tim (mumbrella) said is correct, Joe didn’t get to see the published piece first. So there’s no wonder Joe has been so seemingly arrogant in his response.

    If Joe said nothing at all he probably would have been supported in the comments or more likely, there would be backlash against Matt.

  139. Bob
    9 Oct 12
    10:17 am

  140. I find it rather funny, because the newspapers are also complaining that readers aren’t willing to pay for the news either. Now excuse me while I go read the news for free.

  141. Sam
    9 Oct 12
    10:33 am

  142. Thank you Matt.. I was wondering how our newspapers have deteriorated from publishers of journalistic merit into toilet-paper over the last decade. They used to be worth a read, but now are just mainly trash.

    But now it all makes sense.. they simply don’t pay people to write articles anymore.

    So, like with everything else in life, you get what you pay for.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  143. Mr constructive
    9 Oct 12
    10:35 am

  144. Too much whinging. The piece was going to be published. Matt went wrong by moaning to Joe after Joe had came back and said send me any headshot size. (Emails can be perceived far differently than they are intended too and with Matt being a journo, he should recognise this.)

    If Matt had replied to that email from Joe about the photo and the fact he wasn’y going to pay him, along the lines of:

    Thanks Joe,
    I really appreciate this opportunity. As you can imagine, I have to try to ask for payment (bills to pay, mouths to feed etc) however again I truly appreciate you considering my piece. Hey, not sure if you could run my Twitter handle at the end..? :) Thanks again. Regards, Matt.

    Flattery gets you along and come piece number 3 you might have received a payment……..

    After all it was your first piece submitted to the Tele – stop moaning!!!!

    (For the record I personally cannot stand the tele) – drivel paper!

  145. Ash
    9 Oct 12
    10:54 am

  146. I’m with Joe on this.
    The lad should have got the run on the board, started to build a relationship, and take it from there…
    Once anyone starts telling you what to write in a publication you work on (even something as small as a Twitter handle) then they’re asking for a reaction…
    I’d chalk it up to experience if I were the young man in question…

  147. Glenn
    9 Oct 12
    11:38 am

  148. Once again, it all comes down to email ettiquette. You can’t read tone in an email. People really need to pay attention to how they are wording an email and if the recipient may take it the wrong way.

  149. Brad
    9 Oct 12
    11:44 am

  150. I think a lack of manners on the part of both is part of the issue. Had Matt’s email been worded a little more politely, rather than containing emotion, it may have not seemed as rigid. Business is business so perhaps it would have been better to deal these feelings privately – not ventilate them in an email, where nuances of tone can be difficult to discern – and just say thanks, could you please include my Twitter handle.

  151. Barnaby Rudge
    9 Oct 12
    11:49 am

  152. Team Matt.

    Team Joe commeters mostly sound like they are from the industry and don’t realise how douchey they come off here.

    work for free, make the sacrifice, chin up, nose to the grindstone, be a good little slave. who do you think you are?

  153. Surly Dave
    9 Oct 12
    12:28 pm

  154. They both come across as dickheads, although I feel sorry for Matt. By handling this so badly and then bleating about it in public he’s blown his chances of getting paid work from News just about forever. But Joe has come across as an arrogant dickhead.

  155. Ben S
    9 Oct 12
    12:32 pm

  156. Reading this makes me sad for all involved.

  157. Rushdie
    9 Oct 12
    12:46 pm

  158. Matt,
    Fact of life. If you want to get into the Murdoch press, just bash Gillard and her government. It’s that simple. And secondly, writing for Joe’s piece of rubbish will do nothing for your career.The Tele’s mission in life is to bullshit the battlers for the big end of town. Drop him an email thanking him for saving your career.

  159. Ian S
    9 Oct 12
    12:49 pm

  160. Joe H needs to HTFU if he thinks that Matt’s response was disrespectful. He sounds like a sook. The problem is he’s a sook with relative power.

  161. Wisdom Child
    9 Oct 12
    12:51 pm

  162. Realistically, opinion editors get hundreds of aspiring journos writing every day. It’s a competitive industry. Deal with it.

  163. Barry Anderson
    9 Oct 12
    12:55 pm

  164. I worked for a national broadcaster as a contribuor for nearly 10 years without payment. I did it because I was glad for the ‘fame’ and wanted the glory of having it on my CV.
    Imagine my suprise when after I’d had enough of giving away free fortnighly content which was always used, I shyly asked to be reimbursed for any future contributions. I was given a cheque for $80 and politely told to ‘never darken our door again’.
    I then asked for temp work over the holiday season as I’d a proven track record for the past ten years and at the time was comepletely broke but again politely told words to the effect of ‘there’s nothing here for you and there never will be’.
    Suffice to say I learnt a valuable lesson. They were happy to have me on board for a decade for free – but when it came to coughing up cash, there was a hundred young idiots out there happy to take my place.

  165. Greg
    9 Oct 12
    12:56 pm

  166. Seems the whole exchange lacked a little dignity. If the Terror felt a dick swinging response was required about a piece a 350K circulation paper sadly isn’t prepared to pay for, it might have been better to make the point with a polite ‘no thanks, we’ve changed our mind’, leaving the kid to figure out why. Matt is certainly entitled to be pissed, but eating it and knowing you’re not the dickhead here is a sweet reward and something all freelancers have to do at some stage. Having said that, it spotlights an acute issue for both publishers and contributors at a time when the print game is dying in the arse, online pubs pay shit if anything and every drongo with a keyboard thinks s/he’s a decent hack. The big pubs are fiercely clinging on to their sense of entitlement while every person with a blog — not you necessarily Matt — figure they have the chops to be in those pages. On one level, fair enough and more power to them, but self-publishing has changed the game and made the content cheap — or in the case of the Terror even cheaper than it was. That’s the market you’ve created and you’re now competing in. Needs to be said, too, as an aged freelancer from afar, I’ve never encountered such hostility or dismissiveness from Oz editors — in a bunch of media — as I, and a few other colleagues, have in the last six months. Could be that I suck, or maybe the changing of the guard in terms of department leading personnel has something to do with it. It’s kind of odd you can still have a civilized conversation or constructive discussion about a pitch with globally important outlets overseas, but or the such just can’t be bothered getting back to you, or don’t see the sense in getting a real yarn when they can “do a phoner” — or as likely get someone less talented than Matt to rewrite a press release. But that’s the reality; guess I’ll have to figure it out. Good luck Matt. I enjoy your stuff Joe.

  167. Alison_F
    9 Oct 12
    12:58 pm

  168. hmm… sounds to me like he accepted the unpaid terms after considering it for a while, and then took a swipe at the situation. Moral? If you decide to accept something (even if you don’t like it), you’d better smile and say thank you as you do…

  169. Cakedogs
    9 Oct 12
    1:17 pm

  170. Quick question, did Mumbrella pay for this Column?

  171. mumbrella
    9 Oct 12
    1:27 pm

  172. Hi Cakedogs,

    I refer you to the bit of the column where we say “For the record, he did not ask for, or receive, payment for this guest post”.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  173. Bobby Galinsky
    9 Oct 12
    1:41 pm

  174. I took the ipad into the bathroom and just sat and read the comments and found it the most satisfying bathroom read ever. At almost 60 years of age… finding a nearby toilet is second only to finding articles and things to read whilst in it and doubling the pleasure of the experience.

    My conclusion is that both the joy and despair of today’s technology is anyone with an opinion and a keyboard has power. And therein the separation of ‘journalism’ and ‘aspiring journalist’ is blurred. The same goes for film makers. Just because some 18 year old kid with a RED camera he got from a Somali pirate on his holiday to Azerbihanidstadikiaadzaistani or whatever Insta-Country he is from can make a movie….doesn’t make him a film maker, per se.

    The Queen of England has a bunch of Welsh corgi’s and calls them pets. We have one giant Welsh corgi and call her the PM.

    Where do we go with this from here? I’m with Joe but just barely…. :)

  175. Marie
    9 Oct 12
    1:43 pm

  176. Matt – you pitched incorrectly. You were vague as to your expectations and had no idea of the context of the industry / paper you approached.

    Then, you had a whinge and said well at least run my twitter.

    Then, you ran to mumbrella to have a cry.

    I’m with joe all the way. Yes, he may have been harsh in his tone in his last email, but if I was to be honest, I’d have responded in exactly the same way. If you’re aspiring to be a journo, you should have taken it as a lesson and taken the opp to build your portfolio.

  177. Inan
    9 Oct 12
    1:44 pm

  178. Perhaps Joe Hildebrand could offer to place the article on News’ digital network and give him a cut of every impression/click the article generates?

  179. Cakedogs
    9 Oct 12
    1:45 pm

  180. @Tim — well played, sir.

  181. CC
    9 Oct 12
    1:49 pm

  182. Team Hildebrand.

  183. Emma
    9 Oct 12
    1:50 pm

  184. I had the same response as Joe to Matt’s email before I had read Joe’s response. I understand very well the difficulties of trying to get published, but he was going to be published and his response to the no payment email was just rude. You don’t tell someone who is going to publish you how disappointing it is they won’t be paying you and then tell them what to do in the paper. Common courtesy will get you far and if you want to cut in this business, you have to suck eggs sometimes.

  185. Lisa
    9 Oct 12
    1:50 pm

  186. I am 100% with Matt Smith – What an ignorant self important person Joe is – he needs to take a long hard look at himself and remember when he was working his way up – Albeit he didn’t make it very far – Daily Tele is known for publishing garbage and only looking for gossip as opposed to hard news! If I were Matt I would see it as a blessing is disguise! (not a too thinly veiled one either!)

  187. Journalists at the Tele?
    9 Oct 12
    1:51 pm

  188. Are there any real journalists who work at the Telegraph. If there are, they must be pretty frustrated.

  189. Alice
    9 Oct 12
    1:53 pm

  190. Whether or not you agree with the non payment for writing …. I totally disagree with Matt’s decision to write about it publicly. Career suicide. They key to being a good freelancer is to be efficient and easy to get along with. There needs to be give and take. Sadly Matt will now be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

  191. Jocelyn
    9 Oct 12
    1:55 pm

  192. It would be fascinating to know how many new followers in Twitter Matt gets out of this….

  193. Paris
    9 Oct 12
    1:57 pm

  194. Whats the difference between this and aspiring models/actors who are prepared to work for free to become better know and respected in the hope that one day they might get paid work? Seems like one of the “arts” cons to me – maybe no pay but enjoy the work.

  195. Booka
    9 Oct 12
    1:58 pm

  196. @Grumpy Old Chief Sub
    “Lend me your ears, friends, Romans, countrymen”?
    But I don’t want to lend you my Romans.

  197. fellow writer
    9 Oct 12
    1:58 pm

  198. Matt, you were rude in your response. You were very short in tone and didn’t say thankyou, which was very unprofessional.

    Joe was being quite lighthearted and thought you would be excited to be published… which you were. You could have politely turned the offer of ‘fame’ down, OR you could have returned Joe’s lightheartedness and responded with, ‘Would have been great to be compensated for the work, but I am really grateful to be published all the same, THANKYOU’.

    Had the piece have been commissioned and then Joe turned around and said, ‘Sorry mate budget cuts. Would you still like the piece to run?’, you would have every right to be a little disappointed and perhaps understandably short, but you sent it to them in the hope of being published and that’s what they offered you in return.

    Suck it up buttercup… and I agree… you blew it, and then blew it again writing this piece.

  199. MIchelle
    9 Oct 12
    1:59 pm

  200. I’m with Joe. Matt, will have to toughen up if he wants to be in the media. It’s a shame, what an amazing portfolio piece that could have been, paid or not – Joe was prepared to give Matt a headshot and byline – amazing. Having the Tele in a portfolio would have given Matt the ability to pitch for dollars as he built up his credibility. Big Oops.

  201. Fagin
    9 Oct 12
    2:02 pm

  202. “Please Sir I’d like some more”

    “What, More ? !!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens, Industrial Age England.

  203. Jacob M
    9 Oct 12
    2:02 pm

  204. Sadly, this situation is not limited to journalism.

    Running a small business of 1 (me), its almost relentless the amount of free requests are received for photography for a wide range of subjects product shots, magazines etc. Many people want quality but they don’t want to pay for it. There’s only so much free work you can do and its part and parcel of the industry.

    It all comes down to how you communicate and your choices.

    Matt if you want to play the game, you need to get your name out there first and then you can have attitude about it. My advice, is to be very careful how you communicate, your reply to Joe was not good enough.

    And Joe needs to drop the attitude and show some support to emerging journalists. A little advice would have been more useful “Matt, not this time champ, but let’s see how the article goes and maybe next time.”

  205. Trevor
    9 Oct 12
    2:06 pm

  206. Prize for best comment goes to Grumpy Old Chief Sub, for my money.

  207. Matt
    9 Oct 12
    2:08 pm

  208. if it’s good enough to publish, it’s good enough to pay for – anything else is utter bullshit, it’s exploitation in disguise. ‘industry standard’ is not a good enough response – just because your dad beat you doesn’t mean you have to beat your children too… and how much are we talking about to make this emerging feel valued and respected for his little article? a few hundred dollars? if you can’t afford that, you can f#ck off, you shouldn’t be in business.

  209. jo
    9 Oct 12
    2:11 pm

  210. He should be in PR he’d get beaten up by journo’s everyday. At first it hurts but you get used to it.

  211. Mel hearse
    9 Oct 12
    2:13 pm

  212. I’m a full time freelancer, and I’m on the papers side on this one. I do a lot of high profile paid gigs, but I’ve done plenty of freebies for the exposure, esp of an op ed nature. I also did volunteer work that led to paid work in the health industry without thinking it to be an insult- unpaid work when there is no paid work available is better than nothing when it comes to getting ahead. Also, one thing I’ve learned is that word gets around and being rude to editors is very short sighted, you never know where they will turn up next.

  213. Just wondering
    9 Oct 12
    2:14 pm

  214. Hi Matt, I’m with you, but I’d be interested to know (apart from having your twitter handle published) how much you would have accepted or seen fair as payment for the piece.

  215. andrea kerekes
    9 Oct 12
    2:14 pm

  216. I’m team Joe

  217. Offal Spokesperson
    9 Oct 12
    2:15 pm

  218. Sadly Mr Hiildebrand appears to value “fame” pretty highly, apart form his boorish and unfunny attempts on Qand A, he has made a simplistic reality TV show and mumbled through various irrelevant and uninteresting interviews and articles.

    But he is now famous and that’s all that really matters isn’t it.

    i think this line… “being a rude little man with an overblown sense of entitlement.”… is taken directly from his own bio?

  219. Mick A
    9 Oct 12
    2:16 pm

  220. Yeah Matt is actually a bit short there. You need to say upfront you are after a paying piece. Then decide if you want to offer it for free to get the piece published.
    Joe is a bit arrogant, but he’s a journo…(and he’ll be proud of that).
    He’ll be having a laugh with the boys, and they will all agree with him and pat him on the back. They will all have had the exact same thing happen many times. Matt, you probably caught him on a bad day. Tighten up your pleases and thank yous.
    Matt loses every time here…especially for being a dobber….geez, seriously. Where’s your mummy?

  221. Rei
    9 Oct 12
    2:17 pm

  222. Why pay a freelance journalist who makes outrageous demands to be notified when his piece goes to publish, when PR people will give you free articles, massage your ego and take you out for lunch?

    Team nobody. Read food blogs instead.

  223. Erika
    9 Oct 12
    2:19 pm

  224. Joe’s response was a bit heavy handed (although if I were in his shoes I’d probably be a bit miffed about Matt running off to the trade press with his ‘sob story’. As someone who works in MarComms, it’s been my experience that doing the odd bit of free work here and there is a great way to gain some experience, so I’m really not sure why Matt seems so affronted by this. To my mind, if Matt had applied some of his writing prowess in the first place and ‘asked’ rather than ‘told’ Joe to use his twitter handle, maybe this tale would have had a happier ending.

  225. Hotdog
    9 Oct 12
    2:21 pm

  226. I think there was an issue with the tone in Matt’s email, particularly in the Twitter comment, but to be frank I think he was quite polite in his response about payment. During my days as a magazine features editor I had the task of telling writers they were working for free. The responses I got were often far worse than this one.

    It sucks that journalists have to give away their work. I think the declining quality of our newspapers is evidence of the lack of incentive for high-quality writers to stay in the field.

  227. Bob Shanks
    9 Oct 12
    2:22 pm

  228. Bottom line, Matt sought to be published & Matt blew an opportunity that he clearly valued & wished for, simply through through an inappropriate & poorly written response.

    Then, goes public because he didn’t get his way. (Matt probably now feels he was “bullied”)

    A tad FIGJAM?.

    Hands up who wants Matt on their team now?

  229. greg
    9 Oct 12
    2:22 pm

  230. Talk about “being a rude little man with an overblown sense of entitlement.”
    self reflection Joe?

  231. Get real Matt
    9 Oct 12
    2:24 pm

  232. In general, Joe Hildebrand is a tryhard knob. But he’s 100% right here. This young bloke needs to get real. Just coming into the industry, I would have paid a paper to get my work published. To knock back a chance to have your byline in the biggest selling paper in the country (even though it’s an awful rag) is foolish. As is whingeing about it publicly, probably ending any hope of a media career for you anywhere in the future. Anyone that thinks the tone of Matt’s ‘can I AT LEAST get a Twitter tag’ email isn’t rude and presumptuous is a moron.

  233. Nick C
    9 Oct 12
    2:25 pm

  234. Team Joe for me. Matt reminds me of the self-entitled types who began emerging from the universities in the 1980s with the belief that they were God’s gift to journalism and they should be promoted straight to their own specialist round.

  235. Stu
    9 Oct 12
    2:25 pm

  236. Is Joe Hildebrand serious? News Limited is not a charity, it’s a multi-million dollar business.

    Joe, perhaps you should tell the Tele editor you no longer need to be paid for your work, as that’s what you’re expecting Matt to do. Until then you remain “a rude little man with an overblown sense of entitlement”.

  237. architect
    9 Oct 12
    2:32 pm

  238. Matt. Welcome to my world.

  239. Caro
    9 Oct 12
    2:36 pm

  240. Reading this ‘story’ and its associated comments reminds me of viewing Question Time – torturous, yet strangely compelling. Team? Neither.

  241. Nigel
    9 Oct 12
    2:38 pm

  242. Matt Smith hasn’t committed career suicide at all. He’s simply outed Joe Hildebrand and News Limited for being engaged in dodgy practices.

    Yes, Matt has blackened his name with Joe Hildebrand, but that’s no big deal. There’s plenty of freelance work out there that doesn’t involve Mr H. Indeed, a lot of editors would happily accept pieces from someone who’s taken Joe down a peg or two.

    True, Matt’s email could have been more carefully worded, but the bottom line is that all writing should be paid for, except when it’s for a voluntary group or small start-up operation. Papers within the Murdoch empire do not fall into that category.

  243. Tiffany
    9 Oct 12
    2:40 pm

  244. Matt, did you think it through before deciding to tell this story publically? It sounds like your situation comes with the industry, just deal with it! I am shocked you would go to such lengths to purposely sabotage your career because one Editor didn’t give you want you wanted.

    So when will we see you on Gruen Transfer on your Hate Editor’s campaign?

  245. Jackson
    9 Oct 12
    2:42 pm

  246. Hildebrand built his career out of being a smartass – takes one to know one

  247. nell schofield
    9 Oct 12
    2:51 pm

  248. Joe was a little cranky but is a lovely bright and clever chap in person, doing his best to keep his head above water and feed his family in a profession that’s being cut to the bone
    when along comes this impudent sooky upstart demanding to be paid for a recycled op-ed
    no guessing how this was going to end up
    and then matt commits career suicide by writing Joe up on Mumbrella
    another ‘stupid Gen Y’ moment, i’m afraid

  249. Mike
    9 Oct 12
    2:52 pm

  250. In his response to Mumbrella, Hildebrand says: I thought it was a vaguely interesting subject …”

    There’s only so much space in a printed newspaper; why wouldn’t you make every editorial selection an absolute cracker – to make the newspaper as great as it could be, every day?

    To settle for “vaguely interesting” is on the way to oblivion.

  251. dave
    9 Oct 12
    3:00 pm

  252. I’m with Joe 100%. Yes he was aggressive, but only after being provoked.

    Firstly, Matt’s mumbrella article is contradictory. He starts by pointing out that A: he’s not a writer full-time and B: he’s only earned $2000 from writing in the past year and then goes on to C: whinge about not getting paid for an op-ed despite having a ‘track record’ . Track record in what? Part-time journalism that you don’t get paid for?

    Frankly, the piece is average, amateur rubbish that any journalism student could put together in 30 minutes.

    Go and get some proper runs on the board with actual journalism before demand to be paid like one, although after this I suspect that will be difficult.

  253. TC
    9 Oct 12
    3:01 pm

  254. Having read all the way to the bottom of the comments, I thought I’d have a look at the offending article.
    I got to the second paragraph before I felt the need to start correcting both facts and grammar.
    Let’s start with Channel 10’s alleged 49-year history. ATV 0 started broadcasting in Melbourne on 1 August 1964, which makes that station 48, according to my calculator. TEN 10 Sydney began in April 1965, so it’s a little younger. Until 1980 it was known as the 0-10 Network, until ATV switched frequencies and became a 10 as well. That aside, we’re told that “this is the same network that bought (sic) Australia Number 96 and Prisoner.” Is that a typo or does the author actually say “bought” when he means “brought”.
    He goes on to tell us that 10 provided a breakfast timeslot for Bert Newton years. Actually Matt, Bert’s show ran at 9am in a time slot known as mornings. Breakfast finishes at 9.
    I certainly don’t mean to kick a guy when he’s having a bad day, but there’s a big difference between throwing some words on to a blog and journalism. Perhaps having the piece published, and seeing how it was treated by a literate sub-editor might have been a valuable lesson.

  255. Mark
    9 Oct 12
    3:07 pm

  256. Ahh joy, same-same-but-different on the photographic front, and the main reason I switched to shooting commercial work rather than face the growing editorial expectation of unpaid freelance contributors.

    Matt, don’t expect to get any work any time soon via NewsLtd.

  257. Chris
    9 Oct 12
    3:07 pm

  258. I am torn.

    I think Matt has some douche tendencies but was probably caught up in throws of passion at his keyboard.
    – His website is referenced and he has been ‘profiled’ by Mumbrella, there’s a reasonable change some sort of publication might pick him up as a writer. He may well be the Cory Worthington of Journalists.

    Joe was a blunt and harsh – not necessarily incorrect but at a time when papers could do with some good press he was supremely direct.
    – Maybe that’s the way he was treated as a young journo and believes the brute honesty made him a better writer so is doing what he believes is best?

    And for that reason, I’m on Team Jacob.

  259. Fran Molloy
    9 Oct 12
    3:08 pm

  260. Joe Hildebrand, I know you’ve been on TV and all, but you are just another journo, really. You’ve got a job, for now. But one day, I’m pretty sure you too will be a freelancer.
    And when that time comes, I sincerely hope you get to experience similar arse-holery at the hands of some salaried editor who thinks freelancers don’t have kids, mortgages, or need to eat.

  261. ratSrepuS2691
    9 Oct 12
    3:09 pm

  262. With Hilda here I’m afraid. If I go into a shop and they give me something I take it for free. If I go into a shop and ask for something I expect to pay for it. Joe never asked so why should he have to pay?

  263. Sophia
    9 Oct 12
    3:16 pm

  264. Matt you should have known better. No one likes rudeness or arrogance and your email was full of both. Way too much for a journo in the making. I’m with team Joe.

  265. Liz
    9 Oct 12
    3:17 pm

  266. I was commissioned, yes, commissioned, to write a story for a section of the Tele. (I am a highly experienced freelance writer who actually did my cadetship at News Ltd.) I filed the piece. The section editor said he was happy. But he hasn’t run the piece, hasn’t paid, and hasn’t returned one single email or phone call. I’m about to call the union and see if they have a debt collection agency that will chase it. Like my accountant, I don’t expect to do my job for free.

  267. Greg Smith
    9 Oct 12
    3:17 pm

  268. High-handed of Hilderbrand. I worked on dailies for 17 years, grinding my way from copy boy to cadet, etc. Hilderbrand should remember where he came from … nothing.

  269. Bogan Brouhaha
    9 Oct 12
    3:22 pm

  270. Unfortunately a sense of entitlement is not great for building business. A lack of respect, coupled with an attitude less than gracious – can you really blame Joe for having a swing?

    The shit has hit the fan on newspapers and everyone is scratching for good opportunities – in most creative areas you’ll find the same thing. Having a humble attitude and understanding opportunities when they present themselves is going to be worth more in the long run. I doubt Matt thought beyond his reply.

  271. Veteran journalist
    9 Oct 12
    3:24 pm

  272. As a seasoned freelance journalist and former mainstream newspaper reporter, I consider it is unethical for publications not to pay writers for their work. I would also caution any ‘aspiring’ freelancers against accepting commissions without pay as this undermines the professional journalists.

    Presumably the Daily Telegraph now sees itself as a charity rather than a business. Do advertisers get free space because they cannot afford to pay the standard rates? You have only to check the advertising rates cards of publications to see how they value their column space.

    Editors, like Hildebrand, who implement the policy of not paying contributors should expect to be challenged. They may well get a taste of their own medicine when they are retrenched and are suddenly at the receiving end of these unfair, odious policies.

  273. Keith Austin
    9 Oct 12
    3:27 pm

  274. Seriously? there are people here who are suggesting matt smith should work for nothing? that he should feel grateful for the opportunity to be published in the DT? and that because his story has appeared on his own blog it is therefore fair game, free-for-all content and pretty much worthless? He wasn’t rude in the least, certainly not from where I sit after 34 years in the journalism business. Frankly, he was being a bit of a pussy about it; i’d have told Joe Hildebrand things that would have made alan jones vomit into his chaff bag…

  275. Laura
    9 Oct 12
    3:28 pm

  276. Notwithstanding that Joe doesn’t know the difference between everyday and every day, he should know better than to fire off a response that rude.

    He clearly thinks he can play god with someone’s career, but what he fails to realise is that the media doesn’t work like that any more. This is the digital age, which means the old school hacks who once sat in their newsrooms deciding what we should read (and what we should think about it) don’t have the same power they once had.

    What Matt illustrates perfectly here is that nowadays everyone has the power to publish, and anyone can be held to account (even print media dinosaurs who refuse to move with the times).

  277. Ahhh...
    9 Oct 12
    3:35 pm

  278. another classic career suicide via mumbrella…. start running Helpline boiler plates

  279. Alvin
    9 Oct 12
    3:37 pm

  280. I’m really intrigued about the perceived rudeness of both parties in this article. Some comments suggest Matt was rude and deserved what he got and some seem to assume Joe was rude and, boo-ya-sucks, he works for The Tele anyway, so what do you expect.

    I can’t see anyone who thinks both were rude. How strange and odd.

    At the end of the day this was just a miscommunication. I can’t believe it is getting this much response.

  281. James Atkinson
    9 Oct 12
    3:48 pm

  282. I’m with Joe. Matt, you are by your own admission an “aspiring” journalist who has never been published in the Telegraph before – why the hell would you expect to be paid?

    The industry is “going through some tough times” – understatement of the year! You may not like it but you have chosen the worst possible time to start out on your career.

    It’s a shit sandwich pal. Eat it up, do so quietly and be grateful for any opportunity to build your profile.

    The Tele article would have looked great in your portfolio. This Mumbrella piece on the other hand? Very career-limiting.

  283. Susi Banks
    9 Oct 12
    4:23 pm

  284. Team Joe all the way. Newspaper journalism 101, if your article is unsolicited and you’ve already published it on the web then you can’t expect to get paid for it. Newspapers receive several hundred unsolicited pieces via email every day.

  285. Ryan
    9 Oct 12
    4:37 pm

  286. I contribute to some cycling related publications every now and then and find the topic of payment a taboo subject. I just don’t get it. Skilled writing is a trade that requires realistic payment, just like any other trade. The argument Joe makes that all he can offer is ‘fame’ is completely ridiculous. Contributors to his trashy newspaper are forgotten just as quickly as X Factor contestants! I’m with you Matt, stick to your guns. Writing interesting prose is hard work and, if it is published, it should be paid for.

  287. LW
    9 Oct 12
    4:44 pm

  288. I think it’s hilarious that two people who make money from communicating couldn’t actually communicate clearly with each other.

  289. Eric
    9 Oct 12
    5:15 pm

  290. “I doubt that there is any profession where you can so easily expect something for nothing”

    So, I guess you have never worked in the music industry, eh? Check out what the pubs “pay” young bands these days for gigs we used to get payed around a thousand bucks for in 1985 dollars.

    Let yourself be walked over and you make it hard for everyone else in your field – a la the current state of the music industry… I reckon they are brothers in arms but are largely to blame for “paying to play” just to “be seen”. Recognise their situation?

    Creativity and intellectual property are barely valued these day. Welcome to Gen ME…ME…ME!

  291. Eric
    9 Oct 12
    5:18 pm

  292. PS “As a seasoned freelance journalist and former mainstream newspaper reporter, I consider it is unethical for publications not to pay writers for their work. I would also caution any ‘aspiring’ freelancers against accepting commissions without pay as this undermines the professional journalists.” – 132. Veteran journalist

    What HE said!!!

  293. David Brent
    9 Oct 12
    5:21 pm

  294. The pontificating comments, like it’s some sort of reality show vote Team Matt v Team Joe, are nearly as funny as the original story.
    The funniest part is those who tut-tut about Matt taking this to Mumbrella when this sort of private correspondence is exactly the sort of “gotcha” journalism tabloids such as the Tele thrive on. Matt’s getting plenty of fame now.
    And I love the idea that people need to cop it sweet and suck it up.
    Reminds me of how a certain religion has dealt with it allegations of sexual abuse. So everyone should be complicit in perpetuating the abuse – ie. not paying writers – for some sort of greater good, yeah, right. Someone please put the word “submit” back in the contract when you’re a freelancer.(note I said please, because the consensus here seems to be that humility will go a long way and expressing disappointment is career suicide).

    Personally, I think Matt did really well getting a response from an editor (who seems to think he can also multitask as a sub-editor). Matt should be proud of that achievement. And more than one word too. Score!

    But no-one really appreciates how tough it is getting paid to tell people you can’t pay them. All. Day. Long. No wonder Joe has to write so many op eds for free. Woe is him. Have some sympathy people!

  295. Liam
    9 Oct 12
    5:33 pm

  296. Hmmm, Joe is 100% correct.

    Firstly, to suggest you’re a Freelance journo would mean you were regularly being paid for continuing work. Matt is not. He has confused freelance with unemployed.

    Secondly, Matt claims to have had his work published on his own website, again, the word Matt is looking for is Post. He posted his own work. When someone other than himself sees fit to reproduce his work, then it is published

    Thirdly, what a bad attitude. In such a small industry, take all the experience you can get
    I’d be keen to know how many of those who slammed Hilderbrand actually have full time paid jobs in the industry.
    Ps, Full time blogging doesn’t count

    Go Joe

  297. Kaye Fallick
    9 Oct 12
    5:54 pm

  298. I’m with Team Matt.
    I think it is useful for paid writers to remember how it feels to be unpaid and trying hard to carve out a career in mainstream media. So treating aspiring writers with courtesy is a pretty small ask. I don’t see that enquiring about payment is such a rude thing to do. And it certainly didn’t deserve the swift and abrasive rebuke that it drew. I hope Matt has NOT ruined his career prospects in mainstream media – that would be a very sad result all around.

  299. Cameron
    9 Oct 12
    6:05 pm

  300. I’m with Joe on this as I’m utterly sick of people stringing a few words together and thinking they’re a journalist who deserves to be published and paid at the drop of a hat. Bloggers shit me, too.

  301. Jackson
    9 Oct 12
    6:30 pm

  302. The photography industry has been fighting this war for years. people who want you to take photos for free, for ‘exposure” or for your portfolio or who think they are doing you a favour.

    I don’t ask for petrol for free and promise I will tell everyone about the service station in return. I don’t tell the bank that I am not paying my mortgage but in return I will sing the banks praises.

    If you do a job, you should be compensated for it. fair and square.

    I like you Joe, but now it is a little less than I used to.

    You need to be careful, you have a job now but the newspaper industry is on rocky ground. You may very well find yourself in a freelancer position sooner than you think.

    Imagine if you find yourself submitting an article to Matt to run on his website one day

  303. Charlie
    9 Oct 12
    7:08 pm

  304. Isn’t that just a vocative comma in the greeting? Sure, it should have a comma after the name too (if we’re treating the greeting as a traditional letter, something that is rarely observed in emails). But I get the impression that it’s the vocative comma he’s complaining about, in which case he’s plain wrong.

  305. Nick Peters
    9 Oct 12
    7:19 pm

  306. While the ethics and etiquette of all this are tiresomely familiar to anyone in the publishing business (I edit a business magazine with zero budgets, and do use unpaid contributions, but give the writers some kind of platform – web address, Twitter handle etc) but the clincher in this is Hildebrand’s self-confessed failing as an editor.

    “I thought it was a vaguely interesting subject” he writes.

    My God, his poor readers. He really considered dishing them up with something that was merely “vaguely interesting”. (His judgement – I haven’t read the piece.)

    Readers are there to be served the very best, by people who are trained to spot the very best and place it on the page. And either pay for it, if they can, or reach an accommodation with the writer that holds out the hope of a fruitful future relationship.

    I’m sorry, the bigger story is that Mr. Hildebrand sounds tired and bored with his job. He should consider his position, before someone else does it for him.

  307. Team Joe
    9 Oct 12
    7:40 pm

  308. Poor Matt….(moderated by Mumbrella)

  309. James
    9 Oct 12
    8:04 pm

  310. Hello from London. This is a proper newspaper, right? There may be occasional exceptions, but if somebody’s article is judged worthy of publication, that person should be paid. Not to do so is simple exploitation in my book.
    What did Dr Johnson say? “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” He had a point.
    The manners issue is just pathetic. To turn round and spike somebody’s article because they don’t act all gushy and grateful for the honour of being published in your newspaper (without payment, for goodness sake) strikes me as petulant self-importance.

  311. James
    9 Oct 12
    8:24 pm

  312. In reply to Cameron (comment 146), who says “I’m utterly sick of people stringing a few words together and thinking they’re a journalist who deserves to be published.” As a full-time copy editor, I share your feelings, particularly when it comes to well-known journalists, who very often deliver complete garbage (and then get paid).

  313. Paul
    9 Oct 12
    9:14 pm

  314. A byline in The Telegraph will never make you famous, nor will being a staff member. Get into corporate writing.

  315. Deb
    9 Oct 12
    10:16 pm

  316. An unsolicited op-ed doesn’t necessarily attract payment – I agree.

    But do any of you sensible commentors have an answer to this question?

    You (a professional freelancer) chat on the phone with an editor unknown to you about a pitch for a fully-reported story (at your own instigation). The editor asks you to change the angle so it fits his publication better. Basically now the pitch is what the editor specifically says he wants for the magazine. You go off to work on the article, but before you do that he says specifically that you will be submitting the article “on spec”. Now, does that mean he intends to pay you? Or not?

    I’m in this situation right now. If I’m not going to be paid, I’ll still do it, but I don’t want to put maybe quite so many work-hours into it.
    I’m kinda scared after reading this story to ask the editor about his intentions!
    So what do you think would be the ‘standard’ expectation?

  317. steve garrard
    9 Oct 12
    10:33 pm

  318. It’s common practice in all UK and Australian major media for new contributors to get paid nothing and yes, be grateful for being published. Journalism is competitive. Lots of people want to do it and there are plenty more people waiting in line to be published. Most career paths in journalism involve working ridiculous hours for little money in order to one day have a shot at a job in a major newspaper or other major media outlet. That’s just the way it is. If you don’t like it you can choose another career (or hobby).

  319. Eric Bear
    9 Oct 12
    10:44 pm

  320. A councillor, mediating such a couples skirmish, might conclude that everyone has become irritable and short-fused with each other because there is indeed no money in the housekeeping tin anymore, and no prospect of replenishment anytime soon.

  321. This elitist nonsense is why I left journalism
    9 Oct 12
    10:46 pm

  322. Team Joe (comment 150), what a glorious parody you are. Tell you what; if you stop judging people on what they do for a living, we’ll stop judging you on your inability to punctuate a sentence.

  323. Eric Bear
    9 Oct 12
    10:58 pm

  324. D’oh!


    (bloody iPad auto-prompt!)

  325. Cameron
    9 Oct 12
    11:02 pm

  326. To me, “on spec” means that someone submitting material that has not been ordered or previously agreed upon, on the speculation (in the hope) that an editor will find it interesting and accept it for publication. So whoever you are dealing with isn’t really using the term in its most correct sense if they are giving you guidelines for what they want, but still referring to it as “on spec”. It gives me the feeling not that they won’t pay for the material, but they are are saying it’s “on spec” so they don’t have to accept it if they don’t want it.

  327. Craig
    10 Oct 12
    5:15 am

  328. When newspapers don’t believe in buying the articles they print, why should the public?

    We don’t need to pay for their aggregation or distribution service. We have our own.

  329. Phil
    10 Oct 12
    7:01 am

  330. Matt might be wrong. It might be common practice for new contributors to get paid nothing. But as a struggling writer, before you’ve cracked the big time, you might not know that. You’re not sure if you’re getting ripped off, played for a rube… you worked hard on that article. And you heard somewhere you have to stick up for yourself, you know, assert yourself… but then someone like Joe tells you you blew it, no second chance.

    Couldn’t Joe have had slightly thicker skin? Couldn’t he have chuckled to himself at the brash young noob’s misstep (Matt’s email could’ve been worded a little better) and then explained the situation, helped him learn how it all goes down? Why did he have to go all Jonah F*cking Jameson on the guy? Is that all it takes to raise the hackles of Real Pro Writer – one borderline curt email?

  331. Andrew
    10 Oct 12
    7:18 am

  332. From the UK. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) is an embarrassingly poor and celebrity-obsessed rag, a bit like a poor man’s version of the Express (UK). When I lived in Sydney I hugely enjoyed the SMH which is a great paper. The Daily Telegraph should be viewed as a comic. A lucky escape for Matt.

  333. Team Gen X
    10 Oct 12
    8:34 am

  334. This debate isn’t about compensation or manners, it’s about the overwhelming sense of automatic entitlement Gen Y feels they are owed. Earn your stripes and suck it up Matt. Like a lot of old media whores in this highly entertaining debate, I’m sick of 20-something’s telling me that the print industry is dead and blogging matters. Guess that’s why I always get paid by newspapers for my articles and annoying websites except me to work for free. Duh! And full points to the Grumpy Old Sub for best subbing joke of the year.

  335. spokey doke
    10 Oct 12
    9:45 am

  336. Joe won’t mind if I read ‘Sydneys biggest paper’ for free then since he doesn’t pay for content. If he doesn’t expect to pay for content then neither do I!

  337. Hyperdermik
    10 Oct 12
    9:54 am

  338. would appear to be a par-for-the-course response from a Murdoch/Limited News rag

  339. Ricky Riccardo
    10 Oct 12
    9:58 am

  340. That’s what you get for being hetero-normative, Joe. Matt, until you have actually worked in a newsroom and had subs scream in your face about your copy, the only thing you are ‘qualified’ for is to kiss my arse.

  341. Paul
    10 Oct 12
    10:12 am

  342. @162Matt – spot on.

  343. Hugo
    10 Oct 12
    10:13 am

  344. The aggression and arrogance and utter lack of insight here is staggering.

    If its ok for the Tele to be paid for content, why be so vicious if a worker asks for payment?

    Its the equivalent of me browbeating my co-workers for having the gall to expect their pay packet on time.

    What a nasty, sad incident.

  345. ratSrepuS2691
    10 Oct 12
    10:31 am

  346. If my local paper comes over the fence, I don’t then expect Mr Murdoch to send me a bill for reading it. If I ask Mr Murdoch to send me a copy of his paper I expect to have to pay for getting it.

    Matt that’s surely not a tough concept. If I sent a piece of my work to someone who then said he was willing to show that work tens of thousands of people. Well I might even expect him to ask me for some money for his publicising of my unsolicited work. I definitely wouldn’t expect him to pay me for the honour of him exposing my work.


  347. Jen
    10 Oct 12
    11:02 am

  348. Here’s another arrogant little Gen Y prat who thinks the world owes him a living.

    The level of arrogance and self-entiltement with so little insight from Matt is breathtaking. I bet you’re a fun to work with….

    Well done on committing career hari kari.

  349. Carl
    10 Oct 12
    11:09 am

  350. It’s more than reasonable to expect payment for an article in the Telegraph, even if it’s a token amount. Hildebrand’s narky attitude is insulting and his response out of all proportion. It’s a stupid and arrogant reaction to a reasonable request. I wonder what he’d do if someone actually was rude to him – declare a fatwa?

  351. paid content
    10 Oct 12
    11:19 am

  352. How can you expect the public to pay for content when you yourself won’t pay the journo’s for their content.
    Both Matt and Joe could word their emails a bit more professionally to each other – then perhaps no noses would have been put out.

  353. Eric
    10 Oct 12
    11:33 am

  354. Now let’s see… how about a response like:

    “I understand your disappointment, but sadly that is how the industry is this days – keep at it”

    Would that have been so hard – or would it have cost JH or his employer any more?

    Empathy and encouragement cost nothing. Being a power tripper (“I get paid for doing this and you don’t – and I get to make that decision”) blackens your soul.

    Play nice, people!

  355. Timmo
    10 Oct 12
    11:34 am

  356. If we’re playing “teams” I’m on Team Matt. Joe comes across as an arrogant twat in both his initial response and his follow up in this article. Sure, Matt could have worded his last sentence better, and asked for rather than demanded publication of his twitter handle, but his honest disappointment in the first sentence seemed fine to me.

    Yes, Joe let his ego get in the way of doing his job – either the piece was worth publishing or it wasn’t, either the Tele had money to pay or it didn’t but to get offended at a badly worded email and spit the dummy back is poor form.

    This reminds me much of the kitchen culture of chefs abusing kitchen staff (a la Gordon Ramsay), it’s offensive and unacceptable to those outside the industry but accepted as “just the way the industry works” by those in the system. For those wanting to get into the system, like Matt, I guess they’re in the two worlds balancing between “this isn’t OK, and I want to fix it” and “this is how it works and I can’t change it”. It’s just about picking a stance that suits you and being happy with it, I guess.

  357. Hugo
    10 Oct 12
    11:54 am

  358. An interesting point there Timmo about standards inside an industry versus general standards.

    I’d leave it to veterans to better explain how such a culture evolved in the Australian print in the first place. What always surprises me is how determined some in the industry are to hold onto poor standards. How does it benefit print journalism to have a culture of abuse which wouldn’t be accepted in a professional workplace? Do journalist experience health benefits, improved reputation or greater career satisfaction as a result of being abusive to each other? My suspicion is that the opposite is true.

    I hope management at the Tele is reading because its time – actually past time – for a culture change.

  359. MattCle
    10 Oct 12
    12:44 pm

  360. Both are incredibly big self-important douches. Reading responses from both, I can’t tell who is the bigger one?

    Matt or Joe?

    Still don’t know. Maybe they deserve each other!

  361. Nic
    10 Oct 12
    1:24 pm

  362. Both leave something to be desired in their exchange, but that like the industry is about fighting the beast from within its belly. It could be worse.

  363. Solid gold creativity
    10 Oct 12
    1:41 pm

  364. Wow! Hildebrand read all that into the would-be contributor’s response? The contributor was disappointed and said so. So what?

  365. Kitty
    10 Oct 12
    2:15 pm

  366. I have to say when something involves money payment – discuss it up front so there are no surprises. Also if you are going to wine about no pay then at least thank the person or decide to withdraw the story before writing a whiney half hearted response.
    Chances are Hildebrand gets inundated with please publish my story emails all the time so if you aren’t going to be nice about it why should he approve it.
    I am in recruitment and I feel the same way about people who ring up and complain about the fact they were rejected for a role they weren’t qualified for – if they are going to be rude about it then why would I assist with any other roles for them?

  367. Paul Dymond
    10 Oct 12
    2:32 pm

  368. Why should freelancers be expected to subsidise the profit-making of giant corporations? Or any publishing venture for that matter. So his article was good enough to publish and make money for the Tele but not good enough that they should (God forbid) be expected to pay for it. I don’t care what kind of a piece it is, if it’s good enough to publish, it’s good enough to pay for.

  369. Laurasaurus
    10 Oct 12
    3:14 pm

  370. This is just bad business, all around. Pick up the phone and have a proper business discussion.

  371. Craig
    10 Oct 12
    3:55 pm

  372. It is instructional to read the comments from people who believe Matt should ‘suck it up’, that it is ‘how the industry works’ and that they had to grovel for years before getting paid.

    These people have been normalized into an abusive industry. Just because you ‘earns your stripes’ through kowtowing to the power of a hierarchical boss, being humiliated and mistreated in the workplace, doesn’t mean that this is how the industry should operate.

    This is how bullying workplaces survive. People get normalized into the culture and then abuse people who ‘can’t take the heat’ when, in fact, applying that heat in coersive and inappropriate ways is the actual problem.

    Having a profitable global corporation refuse to pay a freelancer is not a sign of honor or a necessary trial o passage. It is an abusive act from someone in a position of power towards someone with very little.

    This type of activity is illegal and immoral and has no place in society.

    Perhaps, however, it explains the decline of news media and the decreasing relevance of newspapers to modern society.

    50 shades of dinosaurs

  373. David
    10 Oct 12
    8:42 pm

  374. I’m a former newspaper opinion section editor.
    I have never heard of News or Fairfax not paying for a news item or feature piece. But as has been pointed out, Op Eds have never regularly been paid for – apart from small fees intended as a token to compensate busy experts for their time.
    Newspapers want specialist views in this section – opinion that comes from a place of recognised authority or deeply held conviction.
    Op ed editors purposely do not pay higher amounts because they don’t want to encourage writers offering up frivolous ideas they don’t really believe in.

  375. Nice one
    10 Oct 12
    8:54 pm

  376. Accountants always get paid because they do stuff nobody loves to doing. Journalists are a dime a dozen, like photographers and actors. You better be the best at what you do if want i career in the arts bud…or work for free…

  377. Mave
    10 Oct 12
    11:16 pm

  378. I’m on Team Joe.
    Where did my first initial comment about being on neither side and the two of them deserving each other go?
    Bye, readers.

    I’m going to just the HI, [Name]
    Syntaxing from now on. It’s very Shakespearean as one commenter wrote above. Lend me your ears, Romans……

  379. Eric Bear
    11 Oct 12
    12:22 am

  380. Joe is a cranky old bugger ’cause in the autumn years of his career he finds he’s barely got budget for editorial, let alone op ed. It wasn’t meant to be that way.

    Matt’s cranky ’cause his efforts have near zero value even to a supposed giant of publishing that in theory should have enough coin to pay him. It wasn’t meant to be that way.

    This is a story about the death of newsprint – not who is out of line and who is in court.

  381. @_mark_d
    11 Oct 12
    2:06 am

  382. In defense of News Ltd, two years ago, fresh out of uni, I wrote an uncommissioned story for Perth’s Sunday Times about a family’s decision to donate the organs of their 19-year-old son following his death.

    Was not expecting to be paid for it, nor did I query payment, but a few weeks later a full day’s casual wage appeared in my bank account. I was already working as a casual journo at the paper, but this story was done in my own time.

    Wasn’t a masterpiece by any stretch, so I was certainly surprised and bloody grateful to be paid.

  383. Observer
    11 Oct 12
    7:27 am

  384. @Nice One (comment 188)

    I am guessing that you are not a journo?

  385. David Dean
    11 Oct 12
    8:49 am

  386. I’m just a member of the reading public and for me the foregoing has been the best read of the month!
    Most illuminating and best comment: grumpy old chief sub
    My comment: two dogs, oops, two dicks equals wonderfully entertaining responses from the journo-verse.
    Thanks everyone.

  387. Bob
    11 Oct 12
    9:41 am

  388. In principle, I support Matt’s position and believe businesses should pay their staff (as opposed to scamming free work like some cheap craigslist “employer”).

    But on the other hand, I only read News Ltd content for free and refuse to pay a single cent for it…

    Guess we’re all being cheapskates!

  389. LW
    11 Oct 12
    10:09 am

  390. Mumbrella, can you do a follow-up piece where you sit Matt and Joe down together (maybe over coffee) and facilitate a chat about the journalism industry in general, expectations vs reality etc? I think it would be nice to have some forward movement on this obviously hot topic!

  391. Guy Mitchell
    11 Oct 12
    10:31 am

  392. It seems like Joe wacked Matt for being a bit pushy, but surely that’s an essential quality of a good journalist. I reckon Joe should applaud a bit of pushiness in his profession rather than criticising it.

    We’re all doing the best we can and we should be careful about letting that fragile little part of us called our ego jump on it’s high horse and subdue our willingness to be generous towards others.

    Imagine a world where being angry was illegal and we all had to pick an alternative reaction … perhaps one that was constructive rather than destructive. Come on Joe, find it within the gracious part of yourself to run Matt’s article.

  393. John Newton
    11 Oct 12
    10:32 am

  394. Matt, thank your lucky stars you didn’t get published in the Daily Terror. look at the company you’d be keeping.

  395. Kaye Fallick
    11 Oct 12
    12:02 pm

  396. Think LW is on the money – this could be a good one for Mumbrella 360 2013??

  397. AmandaP
    11 Oct 12
    12:16 pm

  398. It’s an op-ed. End of story. Op-ed allow writers to publish a personal viewpoint. That’s the payment. That’s the fame. That’s why if you want to get paid, you should get out and do some actual reporting.
    I’m team Joe and I never, ever thought I’d say that.

  399. Dan
    11 Oct 12
    12:23 pm

  400. The man proved once again that News Ltd is the home of self-important douche-bags.

  401. scotty
    11 Oct 12
    1:12 pm

  402. If you are good enough to get published, and the publication isn’t a charity or arts-grant funded, then you should be paid. Being offered the ‘prestige’ of being published is not enough, and is insulting considering the amount of work that goes into a good piece. I

  403. Top Cat
    11 Oct 12
    1:26 pm

  404. Both wankers

  405. Mave
    11 Oct 12
    1:35 pm

  406. I’ve changed my mind…

    That guy who quoted Shakespeare above… was slightly grammatically incorrect –

    If you’re addressing only one person – it should be:

    Lent me your ears Joe,


    Let me your ears, Joe

  407. Chris
    11 Oct 12
    4:25 pm

  408. You can’t argue with an idiot, they only drag you down to their level.

    In any case, how is it “prestigious” to be published as a non-staff journo in a paper renowned for not paying freelancers? So everyone knows you give your work away for free? In college they had a word for that…

  409. nardio
    11 Oct 12
    8:20 pm

  410. Who the hell is Joe Hindenburg…sounds like a bag of wind that could implode anytime.

  411. Rose
    11 Oct 12
    8:56 pm

  412. Hey Matt there sure is no cred being published by the Tele. Maybe Joe did you a backhanded favour. Suggest you use your writing skills in a real job where you can make a contribution for the good of society, and be paid, rather than be meaningless static noise in our community.

  413. Skipp
    12 Oct 12
    1:26 am

  414. I will not comment on the rights and wrongs of Joe’s or Matt’s emails, what I can say without doubt from watching him n QandA a few times is that hide rand is a total tosser!

  415. AM
    12 Oct 12
    10:27 am

  416. I subscribe to the belief that you shouldn’t do anything for free. However, “free” doesn’t just mean in the form of money. There are many other ways someone can gain value from working and at the start of a career it’s unfortunately not always in the form of money. I’m aware that exposure doesn’t pay the rent, but it could be the ‘payment’ that gets your foot in the door- and that door is increasingly the same door for many ‘aspiring artists’. Showing respect for people and the hard work they have done to get where they are is always a winner as well, no matter how little respect you might have for the person underneath.

    And stop with the grammar arguments… picking apart grammar just weakens any other point you’re trying to make.

  417. ratSrepuS2619
    12 Oct 12
    12:12 pm

  418. I sent Matt Smith a Muesli Bar in the post. I hope he sends me back some money.

  419. Eric
    12 Oct 12
    3:44 pm

  420. Hugo
    12 Oct 12
    4:53 pm

  421. @ ratSrepuS2619

    The analogy be would be more apt if Matt not only refused to pay you – but wrote back to abuse you for having the temerity to offer his lordship a muesli bar.

  422. Fred
    12 Oct 12
    11:32 pm

  423. So, it even happens to Hildebrand?

    “And it’s true, when you’re a handsome celebrity such as myself people throw heaps of offers at you: TV shows, book deals, free products and sexual favours. In fact people offer you everything, except of course money”

  424. Amanda
    12 Oct 12
    11:46 pm

  425. This could really go either way.
    Firstly, writing an op-ed isn’t the way to get paid, it’s the way you get your foot in the door as has been mentioned before. But, if Matt is knew to this he probably needed someone to tell him.

    Joe was a bit of a douche. He could have simply corrected Matt, seen it as a simple mistake on his behalf, and published the article.

    I agree with everyone in the sense that now Matt’s screwed, sorry buddy, but no aspiring journo would go out and diss the industry that is so very hard to even get into.

  426. Aimee
    13 Oct 12
    1:04 pm

  427. The correct punctuation for greetings is ‘Hi, Name.’ or ‘Dear Name.’
    Matt was only wrong in forgetting the period at the end of the greeting.

  428. Curio
    14 Oct 12
    12:58 am

  429. Matt,

    What is your day job?

  430. NJK
    14 Oct 12
    10:45 am

  431. If Matt fancies himself as an aspiring freelance journalist he’d do well to learn how to interact with other people, whether it’s face-to-face or via email. Replying in that tone of vague self-entitlement was just dumb – it just makes you think the bloke is one of these presumptive wankers who thinks the world should revolve around him. If I were freelancing and trying to get my story in a publication that hadn’t previously picked up my copy, I’d always offer it as a freebie first. Make a good impression with that one and they’re much more likely to offer some payment the second time around, I would think. There are already way too many self-important knobs for journalists…the world doesn’t need another one, sorry Matt.
    On another note, the story he wrote was boring anyway, and repeating what has been said many, many times before. And any wannabe journo who doesn’t know the difference between “bought” and “brought”, or “failing” and “flailing”, or who can’t even spell “flak” probably needs a bit of a rethink of their ambitions.

  432. Natasha
    15 Oct 12
    9:40 am

  433. Matt don’t worry about it, the Telegraph is hardly a gresat newspaper anyway. Hildebrand was abviously on a power trip.

  434. Freddy
    15 Oct 12
    2:28 pm

  435. Hey, I wonder if Miranda Devine got paid for this well researched, insightful piece with all of 158 words of “original” content?

    See, it doesn’t take much to get published in the Tele!

  436. Tal
    18 Oct 12
    11:06 pm

  437. I’m for team Joe. Firstly, it’s not his fault News Limited hasn’t given him the budget to pay for oped pieces. Secondly, why the hell would you pay for one mediocre article when, as Joe said, there isn’t even a budget to pay for better articles. I suppose Matt’s email may not seem rude to some people but if you’ve ever dealt with people submitting content for editorial consideration you’d understand where Joe is coming from. These people can be fussy, entitled and downright rude. Many of them don’t understand we’re doing THEM a favour and behave as such. It’s annoying and frankly, Joe probably had way more important things to worry about.

  438. Justine
    19 Oct 12
    2:33 pm

  439. I’m with the contributor. Work is work. Joe needs to pay.

  440. wayne
    19 Oct 12
    5:32 pm

  441. i think it’s pretty clear why matt is still ‘aspiring’, he may write well (i don’t know) but if his email were worded differently, he’d have been published twitter tag and all, which is what he wanted, and saved a brige from burning.

  442. enough is enough
    23 Oct 12
    1:42 am

  443. @BobbyGalinski / comment #87 : likening the prime minister to a dog is offensive and adds nothing of merit or value to this thread.

  444. freelancer
    23 Oct 12
    5:04 pm

  445. Two thingz:

    1) Joe sux like all the others that manipulate situations so they dont have to pay. Just $1 for every time ‘there’s no money on this one’ and I’d be….

    2) fuc punctuation.

  446. Lookoutsmithers
    24 Oct 12
    1:13 pm

  447. I can’t understand why Matt wanted to be published in that paper? Australian newspapers are an international joke. The blog is far superior and just needs a paypal option for readers to be able to give a financial contribution in return for the content they like.

  448. kp
    24 Oct 12
    3:15 pm

  449. Well done Joe. I would have done the same….

    Matt needs to get over his Gen Y “sense of entitlement” and be thankful for any opportunity he gets…

  450. LW
    24 Oct 12
    4:50 pm

  451. @Lookoutsmithers – is that you Matt Smith?

  452. josh rakic
    25 Oct 12
    11:19 am

  453. Like the hundreds of thousands of bloggers around the world, just typing words into a computer doesn’t make you a writer. Hell, I’ve been a paid journalist for eight years and while I enjoy writing and my mum might consider me somewhat talented, I’m well aware of the fact that I’m hardly an expert.
    I did a journalism degree and then worked unpaid for a weekly regional newspaper for one year under the guidance of former News Ltd editors. From there I was offered a cadetship, moved from town to town for a few years and did my country service before starting to voluntarily submit stories to ACP magazines. I never expected payment, I was pumped just to have experienced journalists and editors consider my content worthy.
    I continued to do anything in my power to get published, submitting stories almost weekly. And within six months I was offered a job as a full-time sports journalist.
    From there, well, I was in the industry, learning everyday and making contacts and doing as much as I could to learn form them and please them. I read everyone’s stories, hoping that one day I’d be good enough to make it to a daily metro. And with hard work, some positive communication, having made a lot of important contacts and NEVER asking for money for contributions that I volunteered, I eventually landed a full-time gig at The Sun-Herald and then the Sydney Morning Herald.

    So far as the op-ed goes, in five years at the SMH I never earned the right to write one. Why? Because like a dishie dreams of being a head chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant or an advertising graduate dreams of becoming the next Todd Sampson, becoming an opinion columnist is the Holy Grail.

    Some people get lucky and can jag a head-start. Matt all but had one.
    Count it certain that had Joe sought out Matt and made first contact with him to write a piece only Matt could write, Matt could have expected payment.

    Good luck to Matt. He’ll learn and move on. Most of us hacks are still crafting our skills and learning from mistakes daily.

  454. Fabfour
    25 Oct 12
    6:25 pm

  455. my main concern is why Joe was publishing a “vaguely interesting” opinion piece in Sydney’s biggest newspaper.
    Shouldn’t the bar be a little higher?

  456. Sylvia
    30 Oct 12
    1:56 pm

  457. Wow. I mistakenly thought I liked Joe Hildebrand until now.

    How can anyone who works for such a poor quality, lowest denomination and biased rag have so much arrogance?