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Is Writing Online for the Examiner a Real Job or a Scam?

Updated on January 10, 2013

There has been some talk that writing for the Examiner online is a scam - because some writers did not feel that they earned what they should be getting, or erroneously thought they were applying for a full-time job.

As a writer for the San Francisco Examiner online, I can say with all honesty that this is absolutely not true. I have been a publishing reporter for the Examiner now on Green Living and Climate Change for over 4 years, and although this position does not pay my mortgage or much of my bills, writing for them has helped increase my visibility, get the word out about climate change, and introduced me to many people I might not have met otherwise.

Like world known climate scientists, environmental and human rights advocates - and people that are concerned about the planet like I am.

So is it a scam? Absolutely not.

San Francisco Climate Change Examiner

My online presence at the SF Examiner - Dorsi Diaz
My online presence at the SF Examiner - Dorsi Diaz

My personal review of writing for the Examiner

When I first became an examiner for the San Francisco Examiner, I had to fill out an application and pass a background check. I also had to submit examples of my writing. Much like applying for any other job except there was no face to face interview. After being accepted I started writing about my one of my passions, Climate Change, which was the topic I was hired to write about.

I am also considered a "Green Living" examiner, so I also write about green living from time to time. My articles generally run about 500 -1,500 words, and I usually include Getty Image Photos (which are supplied free of charge via the Examiner) and I sometimes include videos from YouTube or Grab networks (Grab is supplied by the Examiner and you get a small compensation for using a Grab video)

There is a "pub" editing tool which I use to write and edit my articles in (this is also supplied and managed by the Examiner) and you can also write your article in Word then publish it though the Pub tool. Over the years, the Pub tool has been re-designed many times. making it easier and easier to use.

5 stars to the Examiner for constantly improving the tools they provide for their writers and publishers.

How much money can you earn writing for the Examiner?

OK, so now about the money part, and this is where some people may have been misled, but not by the Examiner itself. The Examiner lets you know this when you apply, that you will be paid per click, and those clicks usually mean only pennies. BUT, if you are a prolific writer, and you have a following and a hot and/or interesting topic, those pennies will turn into dollars.

The most I have made at the SF Examiner is about $100 for one month, and that was mostly from one article of news that I wrote that month about the drought that was declared a national disaster in the U.S. (which we are still in btw)

I would suppose it's possible to make a full time income writing for the Examiner, but for me it's honestly just some extra money and the idea that I'm writing about something that I'm passionate about.

I have read of some Examiners earning anywhere from $500 to almost $2,000 a month at their Examiner site, but I could't tell you what topic what they were writing about (it was obviously one of great interest and generating a lot of reads)

Writing for the Examiner also helps me to promote my other writing sites, which are here at HubPages and my own website As writers, you know cross-promotion is always important.

Poll about your writing exploits

Do you write online?

See results

The perks of writing for the Examiner

Here are the things that I consider the best things about writing for the Examiner:

  • Free access/press credentials for topic based shows, meetings and events
  • Social exposure
  • The ability to write about something that you are passionate about to a targeted crowd
  • The "Examiner University", where you can learn AP style writing and hone your writing skills (earn while you learn!)
  • Meeting other writers and like minded readers and fans
  • The ability to earn some income (This will depend on how much, how well, and what you write about)
  • Free use of Getty Images and Grab Networks
  • Great publishing tools, help and a forum for writers
  • Referral compensation for referring other good writers
  • Working for a reputable company. The Examiner online is owned by Clarity Media and Anschutz
  • Good addition to add to your resume and/or writing portfolio
  • Examiner perks and bonuses (discounts for car rentals, restaurants, hotels, etc)

Freelancing for the Examiner

4 stars for Writing for the Examiner online

My 4 star rating for working for the Examiner

As far as my rating for working with the Examiner as a freelance writer/publisher, I give them 4 stars. I would have given them 5 except that I do feel that they should give their better writers and publishers more incentives to earn.

After all, researching topics is alot of work, and it would be an additional incentive to attract and retain quality writers and reporters with better monetary incentives.

If you would like to write for the Examiner on topics or news that interests you, you can thank me for giving you this honest information by telling them you were referred by me (Dorsi Diaz ID #LYY4nX) and you can apply here to write: Write for the Examiner.

Good luck if you decide to apply, and remember, you can always tie in and cross reference and provide back-links to your hubs here at HubPages. And if you are not already hubbing, you can join HubPages here for free: Sign-Up for HubPages


Submit a Comment

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Alexander) Sorry for the late reply. I'm glad to hear that my friend. Perhaps you'll take up writing with them again.

  • Alexander Mark profile image

    Alexander Silvius 

    6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

    Thanks Dorsi. I am still able to log in despite warnings that my account / position would be eliminated, I think it was a tactic to encourage me to write. In fact, I just logged in again and the exact same message appeared that's been hanging around the top of my dashboard for months: "For a limited time, you can still publish to remain active." They've been so nice, I wish I could put something out, but occasional comments on HP is all I have time for right now :-)

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Barbara) I think you can request to write on another subject that isn't being covered. You might want to check. And since most of the articles I write are news, they are not articles I would want to take with me anyway. I thought you could take them with you though if you leave, I'll have to check on that.

    @Alexander) Alex, you may want to check and make sure you are still an Examiner, they were going to deactivate my writing account at one point because I had not written anything for several months. That's great you made that $50 dollar payout, sounds like you may have a topic that could make some money with.

  • Alexander Mark profile image

    Alexander Silvius 

    6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

    Good recommendation Dorsi, I am an Examiner writer, but I haven't written much at all for the last year and a half. I wonder how my earnings would rise if I wrote consistently? I once surpassed a 50 dollar payout because of one article about a new TV show, but that hasn't happened since :-)

  • Barbara Kay profile image

    Barbara Badder 

    6 years ago from USA

    I signed up for the Examiner awhile back. I never wrote anything after I was accepted. I don't like their policy that once you quit writing for them, you'll no longer earn even though they keep your articles.

    I chose gardening as the subject I'd write about. After I did, I was sorry. It isn't a high traffic niche since there is too much competition.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Deborah) Thanks and I appreciate you looking at them. Climate change is a very serious issue. And thanks for subscribing Deb!

    @mpropp) HP has definitely been more lucrative - I was on my way to a full-time income here until the Penguin update by Google slapped me silly.

  • mpropp profile image

    Melissa Propp 

    6 years ago from Minnesota

    Very interesting hub! It looks like you have lots of online revenue avenues besides the Examiner. I noticed that you have been at hub pages for 4 years? Just curious, and you don't have to answer, but in your experience has HP been as lucrative for you as Examiner? Or vice versa?

  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 

    6 years ago from Iowa

    BTW, I'm now a proud subscriber to the San Francisco Climate Change Examiner. : ) I checked out a few of your prior articles. Nice job!

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Lilly) Thanks my friend.

    @Deborah) I so agree with you and after reading your comment about the forums there I think I should lower the rating to 3, because you are right, the forum there leaves much to be desired. Definitely not like HP, but yes the Examiner title does give us street credibility. I think some people think I'm a climate scientist or something and I say no, I'm just a write who reports on climate news and is passionate about the subject!

    @vox) You are absolutely right, we writers are having to work harder, and I believe one of the big keys to success now is finding those niche topics and writing well and often on them.

  • vox vocis profile image


    6 years ago

    I've heard about Examiner before and I'm glad to have read about your experience with the site. I'm guessing that writing for this site is just as time-consuming and complex as writing for any other site you want to make money with. There are always people who earn quite a bit (a small number of them) and those who simply can't match the hard work with the earnings. Making money online by writing for the web is becoming increasingly more and more difficult because of the competition.

  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 

    6 years ago from Iowa

    Dorsi, great review. I just passed my one year anniversary with Examiner, so here's my take:

    While I haven't made much money at it, I do feel it gives me a little "street cred" around town to say I'm the Cedar Rapids Healthy Food Examiner. As you mentioned, they do have some nice perks, like credentials to events and the great Examiner University. The on-line community is not anywhere near as good as Hubpages. I haven't made any friends over there, as I have here. And the earning opportunities are limited. As you mentioned, the articles that do the best are news stories, of which there just aren't that many for my title. I did really well with my "pink slime" articles when that was in the news this spring and did pretty well with an article about the demise of Hostess Brands earlier this month, but my evergreen articles don't earn much at all. But, truthfully, I haven't put much time into it since they did away with the local incentive bonus earlier this year. They definitely need better monetary incentives for their writers! I'd give them a 3, with another ding for the on-line community.

    I'm glad you posted this. I will check out your titles.

  • LillyGrillzit profile image

    Lori J Latimer 

    6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

    Dorsi, this is a well laid out Hub, and gives a lot of good information on how the pros and cons of your experience with the Examiner. Congratulations on your earnings. Thank you for sharing.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    Linda, sorry to hear you haven't done anything there, I know of a writer that does pretty well but she reports alot of news. The Examiner is a news site vs. article submission site. They are looking for local "examiners" to report on local news and topics. Thanks to the Examiner, we have some pretty good citizen journalists who report on things that we don't get the hear about in the MSM (like the Louisiana Sinkhole) It's all what you put into it, just like any freelance gig,

  • LindaSmith1 profile image


    6 years ago from USA

    The name Examiner is misleading to begin with. The Examiner is a name for a newspaper, but the online Examiner is nothing but an aritcle submission site, and you get stuck on one type of articles. I have heard a lot of bad about them. I signed up, etc, but did nothing.


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