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Payment for Writers

April 19, 1987

We read with interest your March 24 story on Alan Weston Communications and its array of college-audience magazines, "Pair Go From 'Toga Parties' to Magazines."

As free-lance writers, we have all written for Alan Weston's magazines--which now include College Woman, Moving Up and Ampersand--for several years. However, we all now refuse to write for them. The company's payments are excessively slow and inconsistent. For example, David Groves (one of the undersigned) has never received payment for an article that was requested two years ago by a previous editor and then never published. Payment to all of us has rarely been received when promised.

We beg to differ, then, with your article, which reported few financial worries and stated: "With the infusion of venture capital last year, (co-owner) Dickey said the company is stable now." A company that doesn't pay some of its writers doesn't sound stable to us. Does it to you?

DAVID GROVES

Member

Southern California Chapter

American Society of Journalists and Authors

HEIDI YORKSHIRE

Member

National Writers Union

MARC COOPER

Member, NWU

Jeffrey A. Dickey, chairman of Alan Weston Communications, replies:

I was quite surprised and concerned about this response to the story. In reviewing the matter, I found that both Cooper and Yorkshire were paid prior to publication of their articles, although I do not know whether the timing was in accordance with their expectations.

As for Groves, the article in question was indeed never published. However, our policy is to pay a reduced "kill fee" on solicited articles that are not published. No record exists to verify or deny whether Groves was paid a kill fee.

During the past two years, our company has worked very hard to create a solid business. We have doubled our average fee per article and increased the total amount spent on free-lance writers by more than 700%. We look forward to continuing our growth and purchasing substantially more material this year from our current pool of writers.

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