The Def Guide to Zzap!64

The Zzap Rrap

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 Post subject: ZZap wages?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:07 am 
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Techno Teaboy

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Some time ago I remember browsing through some staff interviews and I remember one of the staff saying that he left ZZap for a different opportunity that would pay him UKP4400 a year or thereabouts.

Now, I understand that the median age for staff seemed to be about 20... and that the pound had a generally higher exchange rate back then... and inflation... and that even today, UK publications seem to pay less than US... and so on, but even so, doing the math made my head spin that that would have been a move up.

Anybody who was collecting a ZZap check mind giving me some sense of what those positions paid back then? (I guess it would explain all the pot noodle discussions...)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 10:53 am 
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King of Zzap Towers
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Well, perhaps this can put it in a bit of perspective...

I wrote for 16 issues of Commodore Force, and was paid a fixed amount per page.

12 years later and I'm writing for Retro Gamer, and I'm being paid the same amount per page.

Which means two things:

1) The pay for magazine writers has always been low
2) I want a pay rise!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:37 pm 
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At the Mean Machines website there's an interview with Radion Automatic, and he says the following about his interview before joining MM:

"I sat around waiting for Jaz to come out of a meeting for about three hours. Jaz asked me, I think, two questions and warned me that the money was shit (it was – about half what I was earning stacking boxes)."

So, I guess it was pretty bad... 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:49 pm 
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Maybe Randy can confirm this?....

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:10 pm 
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Ken's Fishy Friend

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I think Julian / Gaz joined on 3k PA when they were working in Yeoville under Chris but got a pay hike when they moved down to Ludlow. I think I started on about £4.2k and was on £9k when I left Thalamus.

Pretty shit wages really. One of the best times of my working life though :D


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:14 pm 
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Bearing in mind all the stories about working into the night, did they always pay overtime, or were you expected to just get the job done?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 4:03 pm 
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LeeT wrote:
Bearing in mind all the stories about working into the night, did they always pay overtime, or were you expected to just get the job done?


Just expected to get the job done really.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:34 pm 
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Techno Teaboy

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Professor Brian Strain wrote:
I wrote for 16 issues of Commodore Force, and was paid a fixed amount per page.

12 years later and I'm writing for Retro Gamer, and I'm being paid the same amount per page.

Which means two things:


Or, looked at another way, means (not counting inflation) 8-bit writing has held its value pretty well for you!

But, yeah, color me shocked. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised since I know that as a freelancer I've made considerably more money when writing for business-tech magazines rather than consumer-tech (and I've only had the one staff position, ended last Friday as a matter of fact), but I suppose I figured at least the staff was being reasonably well looked-after. Then again, I suppose it helps explain why staff members bounced around so much... they weren't being paid not to.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:57 pm 
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LeeT wrote:
Bearing in mind all the stories about working into the night, did they always pay overtime, or were you expected to just get the job done?


Editorial were never paid overtime - I think there was something in the contract about working a reasonable amount of overtime to get the job done. Don't remember ever being asked to do overtime it was just something you did to meet a deadline.

The only ones I can remember being paid overtime were film planning.

Best rates I ever got at Newsfield was when I was on per word basis. Something like 3p a word. I used to work through the night doing a big review (1000 + words) and that was my pocket money sorted out for a while

Wages were shit and my impression is that wages are still shit in computer magazine publishing.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:19 pm 
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The Newsfield wages were especially shit.

When I started at Zzap!, they tried to start me on 4.5K.

Well, I was having none of that, so kicked up a bit of a stink (moved hundreds of miles away from home, young lad having the piss taken and all that). Anyway, they started me on 5K I think it was.

By the time I left about six months later, I was on 6.5K, then moved to Emap where they put me on nine grand and thought I'd won the pools!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:22 pm 
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In order to try and make it relative, as regards how shite they were, don't suppose you know what the hourly rate for a McDonalds job was? I assume you were getting a bit more than that??

If you asked for more money I guess they would have said that you should have been paying them for the excellent experience of working in the industry you were getting! ;-)

Were the above shit wages when you were under 18 or over?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:42 pm 
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Techno Teaboy

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So Long Ago wrote:
Wages were shit and my impression is that wages are still shit in computer magazine publishing.


Hmmm. By way of comparison, in the mid/late 90s CU paid me (at current conversion rates) something like 12-13p/word, although talking to one of the editors after it closed, I found out that this was actually an aberration and they were paying me more than they realized, owing to a deal I'd made with Alan Dykes for a one-page column that was never supposed to be my catchall rate when I was writing 12+ pages a month. Oops. :)

But I think a lot of it has to do with the US/UK gap. Here, B-list tech mags currently pay about 30 cents a word (~15p, current conversion rates), the better ones will pay up to $1.25 (maybe more, but I've never seen it.)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:46 pm 
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$1.25 a word?!!? I assume that rate is paid for ex presidents or very high flying people?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:56 pm 
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Presumably Newsfield realised that they would lose all their writers to EMAP, so they just kept the drawer of the filing cabinet marked 'Job Applications' constantly open? :)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:49 pm 
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Techno Teaboy

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iain wrote:
$1.25 a word?!!? I assume that rate is paid for ex presidents or very high flying people?


Heh. Well, admittedly, it was a little easier to get that much before the tech bust, but it's out there.

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