Payment for writers and journalists will continue to fall, positions reduced

I came across this dated quote from Clay Shirky:

“So forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this – the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast.”

While I write here for free and have given a great deal of sweat equity to startups Technically Philly and NEast Philly without much monetary return yet, I’ve taken a fairly firm stand that I won’t write for free and don’t think other freelancers should, which happens to be my biggest beef with the Huffington Post.

But Shirky’s assessment (which came in 2004, I should add) and other conversation about the cost of writing brings up a topic that continues to weigh on my mind.

Already on wringing my hand over the matter, I saw a craigslist posting that, after a laugh, seemed to further my acceptance that we’ll continue to see pay fall for writers, reporters and the like.

what is it with these supposed gigs which either pay close to nothing $6 an ARTICLE ??! !! or wait – $1 a rewrite !!!
why are writers so undervalued ?? or the ‘no pay’. If its so EASY to WRITE — THEN DO IT YOURSELF !!
I SAY WRITERS – IGNORE THESE IDIOTS . [Source]

I have to say I think I agree with what motivated that poster and that might frighten me.

So many tools have been built to find the cheapest source and the growing crush of unemployed journalists and continued graduation of aspiring journalists, not to mention people outside the industry who would take writing on as a hobby, all make for clear reasons to expect the continued devaluation of paid writers.

I don’t yet agree that all of this will evaporate, but it’s clear, I think, that we’ll continue to see the brush cleared out and only the highest level writers will continue to cobble together any kind of paid existence.

Are you going to be in that number?