The Odyssey's pay grade works like this: if you get the most shares that week for your school's chapter of the Odyssey, then you get paid $20.00, pretty simple. The Editor in Chief also gets paid, although I'm not sure how much. Writers have to push their own articles and hope (or ask) for people to share their work. It quickly becomes a game of either popularity or mass consumable product. This includes really relatable "listicles" (10 ways you blah blah blah) and massively relatable articles about pop culture, life, or being a college student.
I will probably never "win" this $20 and I'm pretty okay with that. Why? Well, mostly because I don't aim to create material that is massively consumable. I want to create pieces that piss people off, are thought provoking, uncomfortable, or are consumable for marginalized people. Therefore, my audience is in the minority on my campus. Usually, the kinds of articles I am trying to write are really only consumable by about the same twenty to fifty people on my campus, plus an additional ten people in my own personal networks. It's obvious that a listicle of 22 ways you know you go to the University of Puget Sound would be popular and massively consumable. It doesn't require a ton of time to read, it has pictures, and it has vaguely relatable statements. I could make a listicle of 22 ways you know you are a student of color at the University of Puget Sound, and I probably will. However, this listicle is only going to be consumable by a small minority of UPS students, and on top of that, it isn't even consumable to all students of color at UPS because many people think that I unfairly criticize the school and white kids.
I write things about white supremacy, satire making fun of white people, and loads of other things to discuss my marginalization. So of course, I do not expect to ever be paid for my work at the Odyssey. If the pay grade works on mass media shares and popularity of an article, then I don't know if I really care that I will never be paid. I would rather write about things with substance and a critical eye, than things that are relatable and consumable. Last week I wrote on Prince's death because I needed quick content but I felt pretty gross about it because I was only using a massively consumable moment in the news to get views. Therefore, I decided not to share it on my wall despite receiving several messages and e-mails telling me that I needed to. Student's writing is just more content to be put out on a platform that is fueled by massive amounts of content. I refuse to be reduced to meaningless listicles. If I choose to make a listicle, it'll undoubtedly be informative, political, and/or satirical.
I am almost certain I will never get paid for writing for the Odyssey and that is perfectly fine with me.