Q&A: Aliya S. King Talks Business of Freelance Journalism and Publishing

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Over the years, have you seen the money that’s offered in freelance change drastically?

It has. I would love to say that everything is booming, but it’s not, even for me. Pay rates are being cut, work rates are going down, there’s no way I can sugarcoat it. If you’re not in this game, because you love it, think about it. Can you still support yourself? Yes. Can you still make a living at this? Yes. Will you have to get creative? Yes. Will you have to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life? Yes. There are some magazines that are still paying me the same rate that I’ve always made, but there are some where everyone across the board is taking a pay cut. That’s just the nature of the business.

Besides the money, how have you seen independent journalism change since you’ve been in it?

The access to celebrities. When it comes to journalism I kind of miss the days when you’d spend 4-5 days with one of them. You’d hang out with them forever and really get to know these people. Now you’re in a hotel room, studio or conference room for an hour and that’s it. Because of social media and twitter we have so much access to celebrities. Now when it’s time to do our job, reporters and journalists have less access to them than we ever did. I remember doing a story with Ja Rule and spending seven days with this dude.

Do you think that compromises the stories that journalists deliver?

It definitely makes the quality different. What can you do? We just live in a different world now.

Do you feel like entertainment blogs are compromising the integrity and hustle of real journalism?

Different publications take me to different places. I think entertainment blogs have a purpose; I don’t go to Necole Bitchie for heavy hitting news stories or investigative journalism. I don’t go to Newsweek to find out about Kanye West’s new shoes.

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