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V_Ben
Member
(06-21-2011, 05:28 PM)
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No wonder people have been leaving.

This isnít a pretty story.

EGM, a magazine to which I was asked to contribute, hasnít paid me the full amount for stories which appeared in the magazine and online. Other stories I wrote for them were paid far past the one month stated in their contract as well.

Now for over seven months, I have been trying to persuade my editors there to write a check for pieces I penned about Sonyís DC Universe Online. Iíve sent gentlemanly emails. Recently, Iíve sent firm emails. Most recently, Iíve sent angry emails. Nothing works.

I even tried to contact the publisher, Steve B. Harris, via Facebook. Weíre Ďfriendsí on Facebook. He never responded. And the business person there, Jodi Bonestroo, didnít respond, either. Emails to executive editor Brady Fiechter, have also gone unanswered.

Each time I talk to Paul Semel, the original assigning editor, he seems bemused. Semelís a good guy and Iíve known him for a long time. Heís said heíd contact Brady about it. If he had the power, Semel would cut me a check himself.

But he doesnít. Yet Brady does have the power to get it done. Publisher Steve B. Harris certainly does.

EGM has gone through some tough times recently. They lost Patrick Klepek. And they also lost Sterling McGarvey. And they Andrew Pfister as well. All three are good, talented game journalists who left G4TV to go to EGM.

I can only conclude that the way EGM is run from the top down has become a complete, utter, stinking mess. Over the years, Iíve been lucky enough to have written for almost every publication imaginable Ė from Vanity Fair to The New York Times to small but potent blogs.

But Iíve never run into a non-payment situation that has gone on this long. Iím pretty sure it wonít happen again. Few in my long history of journalism have been this callous. There has been one other. This is the second.

Writers rarely write publicly about their woes with editors and publishers. Thereís the chance of getting blacklisted. Iíve never written about something like this before myself, not in the last month, the last year or in the last decade.

But I felt I had to write something. I founded the New York Videogame Critics Circle last year and promised to fight for writerís rights.

And in my narrative history of videogames, All Your Base Are Belong to Us, I give a tip of the hat to hardworking game journalists everywhere. So I had to speak up.

Thereís just never any excuse for welching on a contract. If you donít have the money to pay writers Ė and to treat them with respect Ė you shouldnít be in business.

And if you donít answer your writersí emails, you donít care about writers.

And if you donít care about writers Ė and EGM doesnít seem to Ė you should find another job.

EGM owes me $500, $400 for the stories, and $100 for expenses. (There were more expenses. But I thought I was part of a crew that cared as much about me as I cared about them. So I charged them half of what I actually incurred.) Iíd love to think theyíll pay.

But they probably wonít. Iíll probably have to take them to small claims court in Los Angeles. If they do pony up, Iíll write about it.

Yet itís not the money, either. $500 isnít going to change my life. Itís about caring about your writers enough to pay them for their craft. Itís about honesty, too.

If youíre thinking of writing for EGM, do think about the possibility that EGM might not pay up when you send an invoice. If personal experience is any indication, the people in charge donít seem to care about their writers one iota.

-Harold Goldberg

Urgh :/
EatChildren
Chico is Quiet
(06-21-2011, 05:31 PM)
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Thats print media for you. Its impossible to work in that field without running into cunts who wont pay you.
sixteen-bit
Member
(06-21-2011, 05:32 PM)
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That really sucks.
i-Lo
Member
(06-21-2011, 05:33 PM)
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... and here I was thinking about renewing my subscription. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.
Blueblur1
Member
(06-21-2011, 05:33 PM)
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So that's what's been going on... Figured it was a Harris issue but not paying writers? That's fucked up.
Joe Shlabotnik
Member
(06-21-2011, 05:37 PM)
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They must be way underwater. I briefly interned for a magazine a long time ago that was way behind on paying its freelancers, and it folded a few months after I left. They were broke. No excuse of course, but yeah, they know who they owe and writing letters is just going to be ignored. They don't have the cash and they have nothing else to say.
Archurro
Member
(06-21-2011, 05:39 PM)
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Anyone know how many subscribers EGM has? It's nothing on the level during Ziff Davis years right?
scitek
Member
(06-21-2011, 05:41 PM)
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That sucks. I'd say I'd hate to contribute work to a publication or site and not get paid for it, but that's all I've ever done. So, yeah...
commish
Jason Kidd murdered my dog in cold blood!
(06-21-2011, 05:42 PM)
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Oh, EGM sucks? Not surprised.
Revolver
Member
(06-21-2011, 05:44 PM)
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Didn't Play go out the same way? I was starting to like the new EGM too. Those huge featured interviews are something that no one else seems to do at least in a U.S. gaming mag.
V_Ben
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:00 PM)
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Originally Posted by Revolver

Didn't Play go out the same way? I was starting to like the new EGM too. Those huge featured interviews are something that no one else seems to do at least in a U.S. gaming mag.

Agreed, their interviews are often great, and super insightful.
cantona222
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:02 PM)
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It seems that EGM is in a really bad situation financially.
NinajHeartless
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:02 PM)
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Well, fuck it

Good job new EGM

:(
DeaconKnowledge
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:04 PM)
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EGM coming back made no sense in the first place. I'm surprised anybody is surprised at this.
LiK
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:04 PM)
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skip, have you been paid?
Vespene
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:07 PM)
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Damn that sucks. The concept of an iPad publication fits great with video games. I've tried the EGMi thing and came away impressed by its presentation.
Neuromancer
The Mayuh of f'n Bawston
(06-21-2011, 06:09 PM)
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Being owed $500 is nothing to sneeze at.
Ravidrath
Lab Zero Games
(06-21-2011, 06:10 PM)
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Originally Posted by Neuromancer

Being owed $500 is nothing to sneeze at.

Others are owed a lot more.


Originally Posted by Blueblur1

So that's what's been going on... Figured it was a Harris issue but not paying writers? That's fucked up.

Not paying writers is but one of many terrible flavors of "Harris issues."
V_Ben
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:10 PM)
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Originally Posted by LiK

skip, have you been paid?

I'm fairly sure he was employed by them, this bloke sounds like a freelancer/"contributor". But If they treat their freelancers like dirt, I wonder how their core staff were treated.
LiK
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:13 PM)
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Originally Posted by V_Ben

I'm fairly sure he was employed by them, this bloke sounds like a freelancer/"contributor". But If they treat their freelancers like dirt, I wonder how their core staff were treated.

ah ok
Averon
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:14 PM)
I knew EGM's writers exodus had something to do with money. The same thing happened to 1UP before its buyout. Every other week you'd hear another 1UP contributor leaving the site. That only happens if: 1.) The writers aren't getting paid due to the place being in financial hardship; 2.) The management are dicks. Seems EGM is a combination of 1 and 2.
TehOh
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:18 PM)
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Unfortunately, this isn't that rare. I'm going on five months now with about $550 in owed pay for some freelance games writing that I've done. I've heard all sorts of other horror stories from freelancers that have worked for a number of outlets

On the bright side, my issue might get resolved soon (so, I'm not going to name any names). It's just annoying to deal with.
Jenga
Banned
(06-21-2011, 06:21 PM)
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best EGM: 2001-2004 (or whenever gamers.com died and 1up came to be)
V_Ben
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:27 PM)
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Originally Posted by Jenga

best EGM: 2001-2004 (or whenever gamers.com died and 1up came to be)

Truth. Just so good... I subscribed to it from Singapore, which cost a bomb, because I loved it so much.
LiK
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:27 PM)
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Originally Posted by V_Ben

Truth. Just so good... I subscribed to it from Singapore, which cost a bomb, because I loved it so much.

now that's dedication
KingJ2002
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:28 PM)
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it's a shame especially since EGM's brand is pretty strong within our community.

hopefully this is rectified... maybe some heads have to roll to make sure that EGM continues to get some decent writers.
V_Ben
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:29 PM)
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Originally Posted by LiK

now that's dedication

It really was my favourite magazine, first magazine I bought with my own money when I was a kid. I even remember which issue I bought :) I have drawers at my parents' house filled with them, I might even have a spare issue with that amazing FFX art still in the shrink wrap... because they sometimes had issues with shipping internationally :P

Edit: It was the Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex cover, with Crash's PS2 model proudly displayed on the cover, with the caption "yes, that's actually an in game model". It stunned my childhood self.
Last edited by V_Ben; 06-21-2011 at 06:33 PM.
survivor
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:36 PM)
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This really sucks not getting paid for your hard work. I wonder if the other writers on contracts will speak up soon.
daCuk
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:36 PM)
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So, EGM is suffering a severe case of Dave-Halverson-GAMEFANitis?
seaandthebells
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:50 PM)
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I can confirm much of what he says in this article. While I have been paid for all the work I've done for EGM over the past year, and I continue to work for them, it's often taken three to four months to receive payment after final copy has been submitted. It's very clearly a cash flow problem, which is understandable. The only frustrating part is the lack of clear communication. Inquiries about payment typically fall on deaf ears and you just have to bear it.

I will also say that EGM aren't the only ones guilty of taking an extremely long time to process payment on freelance projects. I've had similar problems with both The Escapist and 1UP. These are lean times for both print and online publications, especially when those publications serve a comparatively small audience.
Vinterbird
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:53 PM)
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Originally Posted by LiK

skip, have you been paid?

Didn't Andrew leave? I remember he was referred to as newly unemployed and "free of the shackles" when on E3 podcasts this year.
The Lamonster
Member
(06-21-2011, 06:56 PM)
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Also, their publisher sucks demon balls.
shidoshi
GameFan alumnus
ganguro preacher
(06-21-2011, 07:27 PM)
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Originally Posted by seaandthebells

I can confirm much of what he says in this article. While I have been paid for all the work I've done for EGM over the past year, and I continue to work for them, it's often taken three to four months to receive payment after final copy has been submitted. It's very clearly a cash flow problem, which is understandable. The only frustrating part is the lack of clear communication. Inquiries about payment typically fall on deaf ears and you just have to bear it.

I'm not going to comment on the EGM situation - because I know nothing about this particular situation - but I did a little freelancing between Play and EGM, and I think in one of those cases (through a totally different magazine) it ended up being like six months before I was paid. When you submit the article doesn't really matter, I don't believe - it's when it runs that counts. Once my writing had for sure gone into the mag, then there was a period of time for processing the payment, and then I received it.

That's my limited experience with freelancing, which is something I admit to having very little knowledge about. All of the freelancing I've ever done was at points where I wasn't relying on that money to survive, so the extended wait it took to get paid was never something I cared about.
Link1110
Member
(06-21-2011, 07:37 PM)
Dear guy: you have an awesome job. If you don't want it, I'll take it, delayed payments and all. Sincerely, link1110
LegatoB
Member
(06-21-2011, 07:41 PM)
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Originally Posted by Link1110

Dear guy: you have an awesome job. If you don't want it, I'll take it, delayed payments and all. Sincerely, link1110

Suckers like you are the reason why freelance writers are treated like a disposable commodity.
mbmonk
Member
(06-21-2011, 08:02 PM)
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Don't you think there is a reason that credit card collectors don't send angry emails to people they are collecting from? Mainly because it doesn't work. The very least people should do is make phone calls (aka not emails or Facebook messages). Obviously face to face is best but not always possible or economical.

Shaming EGM into paying, as the author is attempting here, is a good method only if he has tried everything else within reason. Which in general I think he has.

I hope they pay him the money he is rightfully owed.
mbmonk
Member
(06-21-2011, 08:06 PM)
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Originally Posted by seaandthebells

I can confirm much of what he says in this article. While I have been paid for all the work I've done for EGM over the past year, and I continue to work for them, it's often taken three to four months to receive payment after final copy has been submitted. It's very clearly a cash flow problem, which is understandable. The only frustrating part is the lack of clear communication. Inquiries about payment typically fall on deaf ears and you just have to bear it.

I will also say that EGM aren't the only ones guilty of taking an extremely long time to process payment on freelance projects. I've had similar problems with both The Escapist and 1UP. These are lean times for both print and online publications, especially when those publications serve a comparatively small audience.

I hope you have funds dedicated set aside to cushion you through the delayed payment issue. Especially if this isn't an isolated issue and it's your main source of income. If it's just side money then I guess it's not as important.

Best of luck... on getting paid :P and best wishes.
DaBuddaDa
Member
(06-21-2011, 08:10 PM)
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Originally Posted by mbmonk

Don't you think there is a reason that credit card collectors don't send angry emails to people they are collecting from? Mainly because it doesn't work.

"Angry" e-mails? No, but yes to incessant and harassing phone calls (on the hour, every hour), visits and snail mail. Pick up the phone and call everyone you think has a part in the payment process at the magazine and leave every one of them a voice mail, e-mail and printed letter in the mailbox every single day until they pay you. Never angry, just asking the status.
bengraven
will fuck homely black hookers in the name of progress and tolerance
(06-21-2011, 08:21 PM)
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Time to just leave the EGM legacy behind. Stop supporting them based on nostalgia.
mbmonk
Member
(06-21-2011, 08:28 PM)
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Originally Posted by DaBuddaDa

"Angry" e-mails? No, but yes to incessant and harassing phone calls (on the hour, every hour), visits and snail mail. Pick up the phone and call everyone you think has a part in the payment process at the magazine and leave every one of them a voice mail, e-mail and printed letter in the mailbox every single day until they pay you. Never angry, just asking the status.

I am confused. The author said he sent angry emails.

You sound like the woman who does in house collections here at my work. She will contact anyone and everyone in an attempt to get paid. Last resort is publicly shaming them with their customers and vendors if it's required. She does a good job on collecting needless to say. :)
DoctorWho
BOSS
(06-21-2011, 08:31 PM)
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Originally Posted by DeaconKnowledge

EGM coming back made no sense in the first place. I'm surprised anybody is surprised at this.

They should have just come back digitally.

Sorry guys. Print is dead.
dallow_bg
nods at old men
(06-21-2011, 08:32 PM)
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Originally Posted by LegatoB

Suckers like you are the reason why freelance writers are treated like a disposable commodity.

For real.
DoctorWho
BOSS
(06-21-2011, 08:34 PM)
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Originally Posted by Link1110

Dear guy: you have an awesome job. If you don't want it, I'll take it, delayed payments and all. Sincerely, link1110

It is an awesome job. However, people are making money off of his hard work, he deserves a cut of that.
Vice
Member
(06-21-2011, 08:35 PM)
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Originally Posted by Link1110

Dear guy: you have an awesome job. If you don't want it, I'll take it, delayed payments and all. Sincerely, link1110

If you are making a living freelancing a delayed payment can be devastating. At least to the few people I've know that freelance(d) for the majority of their income.
Victrix
*beard*
(06-21-2011, 08:36 PM)
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Originally Posted by Link1110

Dear guy: you have an awesome job. If you don't want it, I'll take it, delayed payments and all. Sincerely, link1110

I have a back yard to mow if you want. No payment up front, but you know, it's awesome. I'll pay you eventually. Take my word for it.
Seraphinianus
Banned
(06-21-2011, 08:37 PM)

Originally Posted by Link1110

Dear guy: you have an awesome job. If you don't want it, I'll take it, delayed payments and all. Sincerely, link1110


this better not be a veiled "you have an awesome job, don't complain" post. it's not awesome if you have to fight for your paycheck after you've done the work.
jmdajr
Member
(06-21-2011, 08:37 PM)
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Originally Posted by bengraven

Time to just leave the EGM legacy behind. Stop supporting them based on nostalgia.

I subscribed when they relaunched..

never got one damn print issue
WillyFive
Member
(06-21-2011, 08:40 PM)
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The new EGM is atrocious. The articles are terrible, the magazine graphic design is terrible, and the online version is barely usable.

I wasn't very familiar with the old EGM, but considering it's following, it must have been a lot better.
DoctorWho
BOSS
(06-21-2011, 08:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by jmdajr

I subscribed when they relaunched..

never got one damn print issue

How does that work?

What a mess.

Switch to digital only now EGM. You produce some good content but print is just dragging you down.
DarkChronic
Member
(06-21-2011, 08:44 PM)
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Old EGM was the best magazine back in the day, bar none. Game Informer now holds that title.

The new EGM is not even a shell of what it once was, unfortunately.

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