Meanwhile, in Egypt

01/12/2011 § 2 Comments

I came back from Libya with some video footage. I was curious to see what I could do with it. In the end I didn’t use it. Most eReaders can’t handle video yet. That will change, and some reasonably well-known experiments with direct-publishing multimedia journalism already exist. « Read the rest of this entry »


Why and How A Novelist Didn’t Write a Kindle Single

01/12/2011 § 9 Comments

L.A. – based novelist Edan Lepucki just published a thoughtful takedown of electronic self-publishing, at The Millions. An excerpt:

The thought of Amazon being the only place to purchase my novel shivers my timbers. I don’t mind if someone else chooses to read my work electronically, just as I don’t mind if Amazon is one of the places to purchase my work; I’m simply wary of Amazon monopolizing the reading landscape. Self-publishing has certainly offered an alternative path for writers, but it’s naive to believe that a self-published author is “fighting the system” if that self-published book is produced and made available by a single monolithic corporation. In effect, they’ve rejected “The Big 6″ for “The Big 1.” « Read the rest of this entry »

Why and How I Wrote a Kindle Single

28/11/2011 § 8 Comments

THE WAGES PAID to foreign stringers – the occasional contributors newspapers rely on to cover vast swaths of the planet – even shock reporters. Between $200 and $300 per dispatch is common. $500 is desirable. That fee represents work taking about a day, sometimes two, to complete in a dignified manner. You identify what’s most important or interesting in a situation, talk to people about it, confirm what they tell you, perhaps travel to an event and record the details, write up the story, find a place to send it back to the publisher, and wait an hour. Then you go through one or more rounds of questions and edits. A twelve hour day is a minimum, and longer ones very common. That process doesn’t really change, whether you are covering a distillers’ convention or the Libyan Revolution.

It’s fair money if you’re sending a story every day. But you usually aren’t. « Read the rest of this entry »


26/11/2011 § 3 Comments


Me, slightly too pleased with myself

The name of this blog, $3.86 comes from the lowest balance I have had in the checking account I use for work expenses.

I’m an international reporter. Writing long-form items about faraway events is a fascinating experience. The business model for this kind of work, however, has always been a little suspect.

I am hoping to use this space to talk about my job. I’m interested in finding ways to continue doing these kinds of stories for as long as I can, and for as long as they prove useful.