Mamamia to start paying contributors

Women’s news and lifestyle website Mamamia has announced  it will begin paying $50 a post for contributions.

Mia Freedman, the site’s publisher and editor-in-chief explained the change in policy in a post writing:

“From next week we will be paying for original contributions.

“Financially, as a small, independent start-up, we’re not in the same ballpark as big media corporations like News Limited or Yahoo or Fairfax but we want to do our bit to value the work of aspiring writers, amateur bloggers and students who are studying to be journalists.

“We’ll be paying our one-off contributors a base rate of $50 for a post. This is comparable to other small business publishers (most of whom don’t pay contributors at all).”

Freedman also defended Mamamia’s previous stance on not paying individual contributors, while noting that staff writers and weekly columnists are paid. She wrote:

“Many of you will be aware that newspapers and magazines have traditionally not paid writers of opinion content. Consequently, Mamamia has always followed that same rule. Of course all of our on staff writers and regular columnists – who create 80 per cent of our content – are paid.

“There has been much discussion about this, particularly on social media with many people feeling it’s unfair not to offer all contributors some payment, given this is a commercial website…”

The post cause a significant stir online in social media with many journalists challenging Freedman on her suggestion that newspapers and magazines do not “traditionally” pay for opinion content.

The ABC’s PM presenter Mark Colvin tweeted:


While on The Australian media diarist Nick Leys explained: “Sure, opinion and comment pieces are commonly accepted free of charge from established experts and commentators. But features and news stories generally earn a fee for the journalist.”

Leys then went on to criticise the $50 amount:

Last time Diary checked Mamamia was doing pretty well and Freedman has done a good job in building up a solid business from scratch. So this is a bit like a corner store wanting to pay casuals a lower pay rate because they aren’t a large supermarket… There you go. Now don’t spend it all at once.

Freedman’s response was to note that the independent publisher now employs 10 journalist who she says generate 85 per cent of the website’s content.

The editor-in-chief tweeted:


In announcing the changing to Mamamia’s contributor payment policy Freedman also said the website would begin covering sport on a Saturday, the appointment of Wendy Squires as a columnist and the launch of the MamaMia Rogue website which she described as the “home to younger, cheekier and more viral style editorial content.” The new offering is similar in style to populist content sites such as BuzzFeed.

Freedman was dropped as a columnist for News Limited’s Sunday tabloids late last year.

Nic Christensen 


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