Contributor standard terms

Private Media are proud to partner with over 100 contributors around the world. Publishing a diverse range of contributors is key to rounding out our mastheads. While our freelance contributors are not employees of Private Media, we value their work and the breadth and depth that their voices add to our publications.

We wish to strengthen the framework for how we engage with contributors in order to provide more clarity, structure and standardisation across the group.

Below covers:

  • Minimum article fees
  • Republish fees
  • Kill fees
  • Invoicing process
  • Payment terms
  • Commissioning / publishing process
  • Quality standards and code of conduct
  • Editorial guidelines
  • Disputes process

Minimum article fees

We wish to establish standard minimum rates for original writing, in order to provide stability and certainty for contributors and for editors. We can’t have a one-size fits all approach to rates because we are a portfolio business with multiple mastheads and each masthead has distinctly different commercial models, types of journalism (longer-form analysis / feature/ opinion pieces vs. shorter news pieces) and commissioning processes.

Minimum rates for original writing by professional writers paid on a per article basis:

  • Crikey $300
  • Mandarin $250
  • SmartCompany $250


  • professional writers are those who make a living from writing. 
  • upon agreement with the freelancer, pricing may differ from above as part of a retainer.

Republish fees

For any original writing by a contributor paid for by one Private Media masthead and republished in another Private Media masthead, that contributor is paid a republish fee of 50% of the original article fee.

Kill fees

We fundamentally believe that the onus is on the editors to establish clear expectations when commissioning work. However, if in an extraordinary circumstance, a piece that has been commissioned in writing by a Private Media editor does not end up being published, a kill fee of 50% of the agreed article fee will be paid.

Invoicing process

Invoices are submitted for processing through emailing with the relevant editor copied. Invoices are approved when the editor replies all with “Approved”.

Private Media has a monthly cutoff, so any invoices for work performed in a particular month must be emailed by 11:59pm on the last day of that month.

Invoices must include:

  • Australian business number (ABN). If a contributor does not have an ABN, a statement by supplier form must be completed.
  • Invoice date
  • Masthead name
  • Article date or dates and article $ rates
  • GST amount (only if the contributor has an ABN that is registered for GST)
  • Bank details for payment
  • Email address for remittance advice

Payment terms

Standard payment terms are 14 days within submission of invoice. Accounts payable are processed every Friday, so invoices can be paid earlier than 14 days if submitted and approved by editors.

Commissioning process

Our editors will either approach writers directly to commission them, or writers are able to pitch stories. Please refer to our submission guidelines for Crikey, SmartCompany and The Mandarin.

Quality standards and code of conduct

Private Media respects and adheres to the MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics and the Australian Press Council Standards of Practice. A specific Private Media Code of Conduct also applies to all employees, freelancers and contractors. Contributors may request a copy of the Private Media Code of Conduct at any time. Please contact for a copy.

Editorial Guidelines (Crikey)

Further to above, Crikey released Editorial Guidelines covering our policy on corrections, plagiarism, how we deal with sources, conflicts of interest, privacy, fact-checking, opinion writing and more, as well as articulating what guides how we write about people or sensitive topics.


First and foremost, we encourage direct communication with editors for any issues. Building a healthy feedback culture is fundamental to how we work, and extends to how we engage with our contributors. If direct communication with the editor has not resolved an issue under these standard terms, then an escalation can be directed to by a contributor. The contributor may bring a MEAA representative as a support person and Private Media will recognise them.

Private Media commits to solicit feedback and consider revisions to these terms, where appropriate, and release revised standard terms on 1 December 2024.