Freelance Rates: What do writers get paid in Australia?

If you’re part of the fascinating freelance journalism discussions happening on the Freeline google group – you’ll know that the whole What should I charge? question comes up again and again.

Short answer:  Most decent publications pay experienced senior journos upwards of 80c per word. Content writers and corporates pay $80 – $150 an hour plus. But there’s lots of hobbyists out there who are happy with 25c a word.
The verdict from the pros?.. Leave the cheap jobs to the hobbyists. If you’re good and you’re experienced and you can meet a brief to deadline, you should be able to command a professional rate.

Here’s some good resources that will give you a feel for going rates:

  • Show Me The Money Survey 2014  – Over on Rachel’s List the annual survey of more than 400 freelance writers, editors and various other publishing peeps gives lots of info about freelancing – her infographic shows that
    • In 2014: journos and writers charged between 50c-70c / word  [43%] or 70c-90c / word [23%]
    • About 40% of sub-editors surveyed charged $40-50 / hour
    • 13% of copywriters charged $100-$150 / hour
  • Pay The Writers Australia – Though it hasn’t been updated for a year or so, you might find this Tumblr with various reported rates useful if you’re thinking up a pitch …
  • MEAA 2016 Recommended Freelance Rates  [Oh dear – it’s a members-only link! Hope they fix it]   The MEAA calculated the rates that journalists would need to charge to earn the same as a J5 graded journalist on a Fairfax Media or News Corporation metro daily newspaper:  Per Day – $986.00
    Per half day (2/3 day rate) $657.00       Per hour $246.00
    1000 words or less – $1001.00  – then 93c per word
  • MEAA 2016 Freelance Rate Tracker  [Another members-only link] Self-reported rates for publications in Australia
  • Contently Rates Database  – This international list gives a good feel for rates in US-based and international publications
  • Australian Writers Marketplace – for more than a decade, the Queensland Writer’s Centre has produced this monumental tome which contains outlets and pay rates for writers around Australia. $50 a year — but just one published piece and you’ve earned your money back and then some!
  • Freelance Creatives – Ad News  This page is pretty old now but will give you some idea of the rates that freelance creatives were charging back in 2013, according to a Loop survey

MEAA Freelance Focus Conference – Brisbane Aug 5 2015


IF you’re heading to the MEAA Freelance conference — Earlybird prices end tomorrow

Brisbane, AUGUST (Conference August 5 plus practical workshops August 4 & 6)

The earlybird rate ends this Friday –  you can save over $100 on festival tickets.

Don’t miss this chance to explore the opportunities of the industry, inspirational talks and practically-focused sessions.
A stellar lineup features Trent Dalton, Michelle Law, Matt Condon, John Birmingham, Rebecca Sparrow, and more.
Earlybird ticket sales and scholarship entries end July 10:

Don’t miss SCRIVENER 101 for freelancers

Don’t miss Claire Scobie’s workshop – back by popular demand following a successful event at the 2014 Storyology Conference

Do you juggle stories, projects and lists? Are you wasting precious time shuffling between documents, or getting distracted by social media? This half-day workshop explores some simple efficiency and project management techniques and tools, before giving you a comprehensive introduction to the writing software Scrivener.

Friday June 26, 2015
10.00am – 1.00pm
Walkley Training Room
245 Chalmers St, Redfern, NSW
BYO Laptop
Workshop: $245 (MEAA member discount – $195)

Congratulations 2015 Freelancer of The Year finalists


Congratulations to the three top Australian freelancers selected as finalists in the 2015 Walkley Award for Best Freelance Journalist of the Year.

Fiona Harari, Andrew Quilty and William Verity.

The overall winner will be announced in Sydney on July 29.

More details:

This year’s awards attracted more than 60 top-quality entries, showing that freelance journalism in Australia is alive and kicking!

Australian Freelance Journo of the Year 2015

Apply now for the Walkley Award for Best Freelance Journalist of the Year 2015

This MEAA Walkley Award recognises “the unique contribution that freelance journalists make across all media platforms to the future of the industry.”

Open to residents of either Australia or New Zealand.

The winner will receive $3,000 in prize money, a full pass to the Walkley’s Storyology Summit and two tickets to the Walkley Awards Gala Dinner.

Entries are now open.

Apply online:


Hey freelancers,

Don’t miss this fantastic session for Freelancers held by Flip Prior, who is Twitter Australia’s new Partnerships Manager – News & Government, thanks to the Australian Society of Authors.

Many of you will remember Flip as the former Partnerships Manager at the Walkley Foundation where she organised some great dos for us all.


Where and when?
Wednesday 4th February 2015
6pm to 8.30pm

The course will be held at:
ASA Office, Suite C1.06, 22-36 Mountain Street, Ultimo 2007

How to book

Australian Society of Authors (ASA) at

Details: A workshop from Flip Prior – Twitter Australia’s Partnerships Manager, Government & News – on Twitter best practice for journalists. Flip will show you how to use Twitter’s free tools including photos, video and Vine, as well as demonstrate how to monitor breaking news using Tweetdeck and manage lists.

Cost: $15 including snacks and drinks.