That request for feature writers and reviewers in another post brought back memories of early writing endeavours, specifically the wonderful world of voluntary penmanship to try and get a foot in the industry.
On the one hand, if you don't need the money and you want to add to the CV, it's always nice to be able to pitch to lifestyle, music and sports titles etc just to bump the cv up and network.
But there are a lot of publications where the competition from other writers is considerably lessened (especially niche business/hobby/interest titles), and that's where it becomes depressing when there's a general assumption that it should be unpaid for the first few articles, on good faith.
This is a massive amount of horseshit. If you've seen a sample, you've hired the writer on quality of work. You're going to make money from the article, especially if advertisers are attached to it, so why the hell not pay the writer?
It's like asking a builder to do the first conservatory wall for free and only committing to more if he does that one wall well.
I know it's not every publication, far from it, but it's FILTHY I SAY.
This, frankly, is bullshit.