jazzhate has a ringpop spray paint stencil on the wall. WHAT
"It’s just the internet," Jame tells Hannnah Horvath, Struggling Writer™, when telling Hannah about jazzhate.com’s editorial submissions policy. This brings up the question: what the hell is jazzhate?
The best signs, going by Jame’s editorial pitches to Hannah, point to jazzhate as a New York lifestyle/culture website that cultivates the image of a start-up: desks huddled together in a loft warehouse space, no business attire dresscode, and a hip editor whose ideas of a good story are kind of bland but would be very interesting in the hands of the right writer.
Something sinister is afoot.
jazzhate pays two hundred dollars for freelance pieces to unknown first-time writers, which should be thrilling to Hannah. This is in line with some of the most lucrative gigs at some of the most established outlets known to writers. Courtesy of Who Pays? at whopays.tumblr.com, The New Yorker pays $250 for a blog post. xoJane (rumored to be the site jazzhate parodies) pays between nothing and $50. Elle Online pays between $40-75. The Awl pays $50. These are the outlets you’ve heard of, and while it may be intuitive that lesser-known publications would pay more in order to lure better writers and become more established, this largely isn’t the case. Many of the outlets you’ve never heard of don’t pay at all.
So where is jazzhate getting this cash? They’ve clearly got some funding infrastructure beneath them. It could be that they’re a vanity project from a few different investors, willing to put in the time, money, and image to make jazzhate a competitive start-up publication in the online space. What throws me, however, is Jame. Whatever kind of editor she is, she slings pseudo-corporate managementspeak that seems aspirational to middle-aged middlemanagers who lost the cool years ago. To wit, her “sign” that she seems proud of displaying to Hannah:
We all rolled our eyes at that, right? The show’s target audience all thought that was pretty ridiculous? Maybe I haven’t worked in enough newsrooms, but are there zany, hip editors who have clichéd slogans like that where the younger workers don’tjust think it’s a whole big bullshit ploy?
The only conclusion: Jame is not a hot-property writer/editor who’s managed to secure investor funding for her lifelong dream project. No, she’s a corporate middlemanager shill who’s been assigned the vanity project of a board member who thinks this publishing house needs to compete in the hip online lifestyle space. Maybe it’s Condé Nast. Or the Hearst Corporation.
Do not be snookered by Jame, Hannah, but know this: you need to do whatever she tells you to do.It’s unclear how Hannah scored this in-person interview with this corporate journalism gatekeeper, but she needs to nurture that relationship. Hannah has no prospects, no future, and her pure talent as a writer is unproven to us, the audience. As Grantland’s Molly Lambert writes, paying “a first time writer with no credentials and 26 Twitter followers two hundred dollars for a post about a personal experience is an urban fairy tale.” Hannah wisely takes Jame’s advice, does some coke and gets a pretty good episode about it.
Hannah needs a pretty solid slice of keepin’ it real here. She asks if Jame is “hiring” her when Jame merely lays out jazzhate’s submissions and freelancing policy. Does Hannah not know what freelancing is? Does she know how to write? Does she even know how to exist as a Struggling Writer?
Tie your boat to Jame, Hannah. It’s really your only option right now.