Unilateral Announcement Regarding Content Contributors

This unilateral announcement reflects THE NATION’s intentions and aspirations with respect to its relationship with contributors to the magazine. It is generally consistent with the provisions of the standard contracts that THE NATION enters into with its content contributors (the “Content Acquisition Agreements”), but is not intended to, and does not, create any legally enforceable rights between THE NATION and the National Writers Union (the “NWU”), its members, or any other person. The rights and obligations of THE NATION and its content contributors will be exclusively stated in an applicable Content Acquisition Agreement.

This unilateral statement will be in place for one year from the date of its approval by both THE NATION and the NWU. At the end of that year, THE NATION will reevaluate the provisions set forth below and consider changes to both this statement and its Content Acquisition Agreements in light of suggestions and comments offered by freelancers, contractors, and representatives from the NWU.

For the purposes of this announcement, a freelancer is defined as any media worker providing creative services to THE NATION, including but not limited to writers, photographers, artists, video and audio producers. If interns sign a contract to perform freelance work for THE NATION, all terms outlined here shall apply. A “contractor” is any media worker contributing to THE NATION on a mutually agreed-upon periodic or repetitive basis. The “negotiated rate” is the full fee agreed upon THE NATION and a content contributor.

This unilateral announcement is the product of open discussion and collaboration between THE NATION and representatives from from the Freelance Solidarity Project at the National Writers Union and will be publicly available on the THE NATION’S web site. Freelancers with questions, concerns, or who are interested in joining can contact a member of the NWU at [email protected].

Pitching, Assigning, Editing, and Publishing

  • THE NATION maintains a commitment to promoting diversity and equity among its freelancers.
  • All pitching and submission guidelines will be clearly detailed and made public on THE NATION’s website.
  • THE NATION will list the editors most relevant to different kinds of pitches/topics on its website and will make the all-purpose submissions inbox public.
  • THE NATION editors will make a good-faith effort to respond to freelance pitches directed to a dedicated editor within seven business days.
  • Freelancers will be issued an appropriate Content Acquisition Agreement promptly following informal agreement between the content contributor and the appropriate Nation editor.
  • Upon assignment, a freelancer and THE NATION editor will agree upon an anticipated timeline for draft submission, revision, and final publication. The editor will maintain clear communication with the freelancer by not going more than two weeks without informing them of the status of their work under ordinary circumstances.
  • When a freelancer proposes an idea for an article that has not previously come to the attention of THE NATION and that is not on a topic that is generally known and/or regularly discussed, the editors will not assign a story directly based on that specific proposal to someone else without permission from the proposer and payment of a mutually agreed-upon fee between the editor and original proposer.
  • In the event that a freelancer is not able to obtain a response from the assigning editor within a reasonable time frame to a question or a problem concerning the assignment, contract, or any other issue, the freelancer may contact the Managing Editor or any member of THE NATION’s senior editorial staff. THE NATION will try to resolve the matter as promptly as possible and aim to provide an initial response within five business days. All freelancers will be made aware, in writing, that this process is available to them upon acceptance of their first assignment.
  • THE NATION will endeavor, in the usual course, to inform freelancers if their work is being killed within one month of completion of the work.
  • When an assignment has originated with THE NATION, the publication will compensate the freelancer for any preliminary and/or exploratory research and/or work if both writer and editor agree it is necessary before a pitch can be assigned.
  • If, during the work process, the freelancer and THE NATION editor agree a submission or assignment requires more work than originally anticipated or agreed upon, THE NATION will, in appropriate circumstances, provide additional compensation if both writer and editor agree additional work beyond the bounds of reporting or researching the piece itself is required to satisfactorily complete the piece. Editing and revisions required to bring the piece up to publishable standards are excluded from this provision.
  • THE NATION will endeavor, in the usual course, to provide the freelancer with a finalized text prior to fact-checking and copyediting, and the freelancer will approve all fact-check changes separately. The freelancer will have the right to request a version of the work showing final changes before printing commences and/or publication occurs
  • In the event that the freelancer and THE NATION cannot reach an agreement in good faith regarding finalized work prior to moving the piece into production, the freelancer may request removal of his or her name from said work and collect the full fee.
  • Provided that the Author cooperates fully with THE NATION and its counsel in defending the same, THE NATION will indemnify and defend a freelancer against any third-party claim arising out of any article published, distributed, or assigned and any newsgathering related thereto unless such claims arise out of the freelancer’s wrongdoing or misconduct, breach of representation, warranty, or obligation under their contract. Such indemnification will include all losses, costs, and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, damages, and recoveries.
  • THE NATION will make all reasonable efforts to (i) set clear safety and legal protections for freelancers, both abroad and at home, and publicize those procedures and (ii) provide a work experience that is free of harassment and discrimination.

Dispute Resolution Procedure with the National Writers Union

  • In the event a freelancer experiences physical and/or psychological harm, harassment, discrimination, or abuse of any nature in their course of work for THE NATION, THE NATION will resolve any dispute that arises from such harm, harassment, discrimination, or abuse through the below stated National Writers Union grievance procedure.
  • THE NATION will make every effort to work out any grievances that its content contributors may have on an informal basis.
  • If THE NATION cannot work out a grievance on an informal basis, and if that freelancer designates a representative of the NWU to meet with the magazine in an attempt to work out the grievance on the freelancer’s behalf, the process shall be as follows:
  • (a) Before filing a grievance, the aggrieved freelancer and/or NWU representative will present the grievance to the freelancer’s assigning editor to try to resolve the matter without formal proceedings.
  • (b) If step (a) is unsuccessful, the NWU shall submit the grievance in writing to the editor-in-chief of THE NATION or their designated representative.
  • (c) If there is no resolution within two weeks of step (b), there shall be a conciliation conference including the NWU representative, the freelancer, if possible, and the editor-in-chief or their designated representative. THE NATION shall provide a response to the grievance within three weeks of the conference.
  • (d) If the NWU and THE NATION cannot resolve the grievance, a board shall be convened consisting of one representative of the NWU, one of THE NATION, and one member acceptable to both parties. The third member shall receive no compensation from either side for participation in this board. A majority opinion by the board shall be given due consideration by all parties but shall not be binding on any party and all parties shall reserve their rights to pursue any remedies they may have at law or otherwise.Contractors
  • THE NATION will revisit contracts with contractors yearly.
  • THE NATION will provide contractors with the institutional access (e.g. office key cards, database logins) needed to complete their work.

Freelancer Agreements

  • THE NATION will periodically allow the National Writers Union to review and suggest changes to its standard freelancer contract.
  • Once a year, the NWU can request the names of freelancers and contractors working for THE NATION who do not have publicly available bylines. THE NATION will comply with such request unless prohibited doing so by law or contract.
  • If any freelancer/contractor requests information about the NWU or to speak with an NWU representative, THE NATION will direct them to email [email protected].


  • THE NATION will set clear and equitable base rates for freelancers and publicize them.
  • All freelancers can negotiate above the standards stated in this unilateral announcement if desired.
  • THE NATION is committed to reducing pay discrepancies across the industry for people from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.
  • The existing standard rates are as follows:
  • Web articles will be paid at minimum $.25/word.
  • Print articles will be paid at minimum $.40/word.
  • THE NATION commits to acting in compliance with both New York City’s and New York State’s “Freelance Isn’t Free” laws.
  • All freelance contributors will be issued a contract, which they must sign and return to ensure payment.
  • THE NATION will pay photographers a base 8-hour minimum day rate of $500 for photo essays and a minimum project rate of $500 for a photo essay of 10 images. Additional images will be paid at a minimum of $100 per photo. Day rates will not typically be extended to images that accompany primarily text features.
  • When non-photographer freelancers provide photos to accompany work they are contracted for, they can request additional compensation, which is at the discretion of the editor.
  • THE NATION will pay illustrators at minimum a $300 fee.
  • Three major revisions can be requested prior to receipt of the final artwork. Additional fees, negotiated between the illustrator and THE NATION, may be required for any revisions requested after three sketch revisions.
  • THE NATION will pay transcribers a minimum of $2 per minute of audio.
  • THE NATION will pay proofreaders and copy editors a minimum $30 hourly rate.
  • THE NATION will pay freelance fact-checkers a minimum $20 hourly rate.
  • THE NATION will pay associate audio producers and production assistants a base minimum day rate of $330 and audio reporters and producers a base minimum day rate of $400.

Payment Schedule

  • THE NATION does not reimburse ordinary business expenses, but may at the discretion of the editor of THE NATION. Reimbursements will be made on a case-by-case basis for travel and related costs required for facilitation of work, and only if the following prerequisites are met:
  • All freelance contributors who, per contract, are paid via invoices will be paid within 30 days of invoicing (unless otherwise agreed to by the parties to the contract). All other contributors who have signed contracts will be paid within two weeks following publication or completion of work, whichever comes first, except where outlined otherwise by contract.
  • Completion of work is defined as work done before fact-checking, copy-editing, and other final production stages, and will be determined by the piece’s editor and the magazine’s editor.
  • Freelancers reserve the right to request advance graduated or full payment at any point in the commissioning and editing process, but whether to do so will be in THE NATION’s sole discretion.
  • In the event commissioned content is rejected without a request for revision, THE NATION will pay the freelancer 25% of the negotiated rate. If a revision is requested and the content is rejected after a conscientious revision THE NATION will pay the freelancer 50% of the negotiated rate. If commissioned content is approved for THE NATION by both the freelancer and the editor, and doesn’t run, THE NATION will pay the freelancer 100% of the negotiated rate.
  • THE NATION does not reimburse ordinary business expenses, but may at the discretion of the editor of THE NATION. Reimbursements will be made on a case-by-case basis for travel and related costs required for facilitation of work, and only if the following prerequisites are met:
  • If a freelancer is unable to secure access to no fee direct deposit, he or she may request that THE NATION reimburse the cost of transaction fees.

Reporting Costs & Incidental Expenses

  • THE NATION does not reimburse ordinary business expenses, but may at the discretion of the editor of THE NATION. Reimbursements will be made on a case-by-case basis for travel and related costs required for facilitation of work, and only if the following prerequisites are met:
  • The contributor provides his/her editor an estimate of reporting-related costs in advance of completing an assignment, and the editor provides written advance approval of the expenses.
  • The contributor provides an itemization of all expenses, along with copies of receipts, to the managing editor.
  • THE NATION will reimburse within 30 days of receiving itemization and copies of receipts for all pre-approved expenses. Freelancers reserve the right to request an estimated payment for expenses up front.

Intellectual Property

  • THE NATION agrees that each accepted submission or assignment is the sole property of the freelancer.
  • Rights to reuse, syndicate, and create derivative works from the work are outlined in THE NATION’s Content Acquisition Agreement.
  • Freelancers have the right to request a different version of the CAA if they wish to opt out of the terms as outlined.