On What I'm Striking For

After the strong reception my strike notice received – I will no longer speak to other members of the media about sex work unless it is a paying project or assignment – I thought I'd gather some of the conversation here.

  1. If you are an indie media outlet, or a genuine colleague, this does not apply to you. But to all others, this way:  http://melissagiragrant.com/on-the-work-of-sex-work/ 
  2. .@melissagira reminds it's often the journos doing real work who get screwed out of pay  http://melissagiragrant.com/on-the-work-of-sex-work/  "pick your brain"=consulting
  3. @melissagira Having spent 4 days on here trying 2 articulate the mere basics of harm reduction, surprised u didnt quit Twitter first, tbh
  4. @cmoraff I swear I did this partly so I don't have to quit twitter!
  5. @melissagira for some reason it is simply expected that if u care abt an issue u'll do this 4free. Goes double for SW - like gratitude is
  6. @melissagira owed to them for graciously giving u the time of day. Ridiculous. A+ decision on ur part I think
  7. @agrenell totally, especially when (no coincidence) what expertise they are offering is itself undervalued
  8. @agrenell plus I'm not an advocate, + when I direct them to advocates, I'm hesitant – I don't want to sign them up for free work, too
  9. @melissagira bc they know gen pop attitude supports their actions - SW taught we should be grateful 4any shred of attention&acknowledgement
  10. "I am on my own kind of strike from doing anyone else’s work on sex work": @melissagira on refusal to be interviewed  http://trib.al/9NE7eXl 
  11. @ErinSiegal @melissagira Totally understandable, but do media orgs ever pay for expertise? None I've worked at have.
  12. I'm not seriously expecting a check, merely to have the value of my labor recognized while I also refuse it @juliadahl @ErinSiegal
  13. But if an outlet valued this work, they may also consider assigning it to someone w expertise beyond a take @juliadahl @ErinSiegal
  14. @melissagira @ErinSiegal Got it. A valuable discussion; from my side of the fence (reporter, not expert) I know of our limited resources
  15. @siobhanphillips @sarahmseltzer @meaghano that's another whole ball of wax, would love to know. I am glad I broke up w academia.
  16. @melissagira @ErinSiegal Wouldn't that be nice! Sucks that so many reporters now don't get opportunity to really develop proper beats
  17. @juliadahl my point is: it's not a favor, it's work. And it takes me away from my reporting. Which is how I developed my expertise.
  18. @juliadahl it sucks ppl may not get to develop beats, but I did, and this is a huge part of it. I put the work in.
  19. Pls don't miss in this: this behavior is bad and you should feel bad because I do your job, too  http://melissagiragrant.com/on-the-work-of-sex-work/ 
  20. Ppl have sad'ed at me re: the decline of beats in journalism as if to explain this. Doesn't cut it – I built my beat nearly from scratch.
  21. I became an expert because my beat was so under-developed. I can't just call an expert.
  22. I became an expert by reporting my beat. No think tanks to call, I read journal articles. No publicists sending me stuff. I sought it out.
  23. I work harder and go twice as deep as most ppl doing stories on what is now my beat. Respect or leave it here.  http://melissagiragrant.com/on-the-work-of-sex-work/ 
  24. The number of press releases I get actually relevant to my beat*? In ten years? Fewer than ten. * not requests to review novelty porn
  25. @melissagira's explanation on why she won't talk about sex work unless she's hired to do so is SO inspiring to all female writers EVERYWHERE
  26. @melissagira @sarahmseltzer @meaghano Yeah, huge convo, and distinct. Esp. for social scientists (which I'm not). Thank you for the piece!
  27. If you're a staffer asking a freelancer to help you do your job for free, maybe reconsider why you even want to do this job.
  28. To the woman who "wanted to ask me about a story" and I felt I couldn't tell her to put her notebook away, this is what I should've told you
  29. She thought a bourgie lunch in Fort Greene was compensation enough. I was naive and bought her ladyjourno faux sisterhood line.
  30. After when I asked her for her contact at a men's magazine she didn't even offer to write an intro. She told me how to guess his Conde email
  31. To the writer I spent two hours on the phone helping w her first NYT op-ed, this is what I should've been writing.  http://melissagiragrant.com/on-the-work-of-sex-work/ 
  32. Later I wasn't quoted in her piece. She told me it was because I didn't have a book. I asked her about her editor but she just bounced.
  33. I finally learned my real colleagues aren't "ladyjournos" who while away staff time sniping on email lists. They are the ppl who read me.
  34. My colleagues are curious, bright, swap real talk about money, are drop outs and nervy and anxious and generous and kind.
  35. @melissagira Woke up this morning to a guy who withdrew his review of my book b/c I joked to him that his interview questions should be cool
  36. @melissagira and that I liked interviews where someone bought me drinks. Said my "audacity and unprofessionalism" was "appalling and
  37. @melissagira offensive" This is to say, thanks for this piece today, and love through all this bullshit you put up with.
  38. I don't know how you could get into this business and be so incurious you don't even read up on the ppl you ask for favors.
  39. @HexPositive I don't always have room to quote everyone. But if that's true re: books here it was obvious from outset she couldn't.
  40. @melissagira Strange. I think I've only ever hit up another journalist once, it just feels distasteful.
  41. @davidzmorris I was taught, but can't remember from who unfortunately, that it was the laziest and most cliched thing
  42. @melissagira @juliadahl @ErinSiegal It's like your own "Wages for Housework"-style campaign. Point is right to $, not actually $.
  43. It's easy: buy my book. Read an article. Interview me *about my work.* It's called a profile. I will do that.  https://twitter.com/ConorDougherty/status/634490198852792320 
  44. I am not here for this. I am not here to frame your story. I am not here for shit I already covered myself, better.
  45. @melissagira @susie_c I make a general rule of not calling other reporters for anything besides a drink.
  46. @melissagira @susie_c But in some instances - admittedly, when I'm parachuting - it seems to make sense. Many people happy for quote/credit
  47. @melissagira @ConorDougherty Yes -- frustrating when you've done it for years hoping it would lead somewhere but it just led to more of this
  48. @melissagira @susie_c If I sound sensitive, it's because I call authors all the time! Usually on some dense technical topic. Usually profs
  49. @ConorDougherty @melissagira It's part of the job for a lot of folks in academia or at think tanks/NGOs. Very different situation imho.
  50. @melissagira @susie_c I usually buy the book if it's a project or long feature. If it's a firedrill, I mean, that's just a firedrill.
  51. @ConorDougherty @melissagira For me it comes down to: Is the person you're calling likely to be writing the same article as you right now?
  52. @ConorDougherty @melissagira I get requests from reporters on my same beat, in my same market. That is just lazy.
  53. @ConorDougherty @susie_c I am a working reporter, and I would rather do my own work than other people's work. It's v simple.
  54. @ConorDougherty @susie_c if money makes that easier for someone to understand, all the better.
  55. If you need my (or someone else's) help to write your story/do your media hit, you should've recommended I do it instead.
  56. @ConorDougherty @susie_c I am sure many ppl I naively thought would help w career when I gave them quotes thought I was happy about it
  57. But for people who have better jobs than I do asking me to help them do their job? I wrote up a rate sheet awhile back.
  58. @ConorDougherty @susie_c reporters are vain. Some want that cred and attention. My resistance is: I no longer need it on this beat.
  59. I am sorry if it is news to those w staff reporting jobs that freelancers are not as happy as we sometimes act to hear from you.
  60. @ConorDougherty @susie_c I call lawyers, legal advocates, sociologists, political scientists all the time, too. It's my job.
  61. @ConorDougherty @susie_c what I am talking about it me, a reporter, being asked to feed another reporter my stories for their own
  62. When journos parachute into other countries they hire fixers. Fixers get paid. I've been paid to do it before. Because it's work.
  63. Parachuting into someone else's beat is the same. You want a fixer? Hire them.
  64. i'm often perfectly happy to help journalists at other publications!
  65. when: ✅ they're doing the work ✅ they're asking a specific question ✅ i'm not covering the same story ✅ i like them ✅ i fucking feel like it
  66. @minh81 also would really like to think about these dynamics as a reporter who leans hard in my work on academic journals & experts
  67. @minh81 e.g., if deadline allows I write someone if I am quoting their paper or article or book, just to see if I'm getting it right.
  68. @eekiemout @JennaPrice I'm a working journalist being asked to give free help on other journalists' stories. I refuse.
  69. Floored by the response to this from other journalists, and more than a few academics, too.  http://melissagiragrant.com/on-the-work-of-sex-work/ 
  70. If someone would pay for it, I would write the five things the reporter at your outlet is going to email me about this because he's diff.
  71. For the brain-picked, we know the difference between someone valuing our work and co-opting it. We rarely get to call it out in public.
  72. I'm able to call this out, in part, because there's nothing left for me to gain by giving another reporter an interview on sex work.
  73. "I am on my own kind of strike from doing anyone else’s work on sex work" –@melissagira, speaking truth to power!  http://melissagiragrant.com/on-the-work-of-sex-work/ 
  74. Reminds me of the PRE-INTERVIEW, where they question you for an hour and then decide not to do an interview. @melissagira
  75. Or, the ones who say "hey, tell me why you don't like gay marriage," paraphrase what I say in an article WITHOUT CITATION @melissagira
  76. Read @melissagira's TL for important discussion of staff journos trying to get freelancers who know a beat to tell them how to do stories
  77. What @melissagira describes happened to me too when I was freelance and writing investigative criminal justice stories.
  78. @elongreen as @melissagira says, it was hard. I had built a beat, built a network of sources + had years of experience. I played it close.
  79. The absolutely BEST is the being offered a fancy lunch as "payment". hahahahahahahahahno @melissagira
  80. I still remember a high-profile staff writer calling me to ask how to report the assignment she'd been handed. A story that was my beat.
  81. @elongreen as @melissagira says, it was hard. I had built a beat, built a network of sources + had years of experience. I played it close.
  82. @elongreen and that writer never did that story. (or at least it never ran.) I knew she wouldn't be able to.
  83. @jessicalustig @elongreen had the exact same thing happen to me. I did take a risk and talk to the writer, regretted it. Story never ran.
  84. The only negative response I got to my strike notice is from a few journalists who didn't seem to get that reporters can also be experts.
  85. They seemed to be saying if they called me "as an expert" that it was okay and I should be happy about "being quoted."
  86. Like I have these two buckets of time: reporting and expert-time. It doesn't work that way.
  87. If you dig me as an expert, then either get your pub to hire me into a gig, or profile me. These are your choices.