Want my story? Pay for it

After jumping over seats on a passenger airplane to help subdue a suspected bomber, Dutch documentary filmmaker Jasper Schuringa sold his story to CNN for US$10,000. This payment, wrote The Globe and Mail’s Ian Brown “didn’t stop Mr. Schuringa’s associates from shopping him around like a fine watch.”

In a column titled “Talk is cheap, but our heroes are cheaper,” Brown continues:

“Everyone wants to sell their story these days – and why not? Pay-for-play isn’t new. The pair of miners who survived the 2006 Beaconsfield mine collapse in Australia sold their story to television for $2.6-million. David Frost reputedly paid Richard Nixon $600,000 for his part in their famous 1977 television conversation. Mo’Nique, a supporting actress in the new film Precious , is demanding payment from news organizations that want to interview her on the publicity tour…

“Morally outraged journalists (oxymoron alert) have been huffing back and forth on the issue ever since. Online gossip sites that openly pay for interviews, such as Gawker and TMZ, instantly cited CNN’s Schuringa deal as proof that the mainstream media are equally sleazy.”

Brown goes on to examine the issue of paying for interviews and concludes: “This is the way we live now. Just don’t sanctify it as “citizen journalism.” And don’t dare call it heroic.”