WE HEAR that Portfolio is pushing its staff writers into contracts. As it stands, writers at the magazine are considered full-time and get appropriate benefits. That would change if they became independent contractors who regularly write for the magazine. [Boy would it ever!–day ed] Rumor has it that senior writers Sheelah Kolhatkar and Kevin Gray have already been talked to and the magazine is trying to get rid of office space. Jesse Eisinger probably won't get screwed because he's a real financial writer and also subject to Joanne Lipman's adoration. Update: a tipster writes in with more details, after the jump.
It's totally true. Lipman ignored the advice she got early on not to hire people on staff (what monthly has a bunch of high level staff writers? Even at the New Yorker, where they're called staff writers,
they're actually all under contract!) But Lipman, in her infinite wisdom, decided that she wouldn't be able to get her hack friends from the WSJ to come over unless they had staff gigs. But now, Jacob Lewis, the ME sent in by SI to clean things up, has been going around to try to convince these writers to go on contract. His pitch is that that way writers will own their own stuff (if you're staff, theoretically your stuff is owned by CN) so you can be anthologized!
Great: $300 to be in some crummy anthology versus getting health insurance, 401K, pension and being MUCH harder to fire by the capricious talentless nut job you now know you're working for in an economic climate that makes it impossible to get other work. Hmmmmm. Any takers?
New Yorker staff writers are on contract? There is no dream.