I am going to need someone to conduct an interview and write an essay. Would $400-$500 be appealing to a mid-level journalist to write up a 5000 word interview? ($80-$100 per 1,000 words.) Can anyone give me examples of typical rates or some of the better rates from recent jobs?
That would be low for anyone experienced because it doesn't really factor in the time and effort spent on conducting and writing up the interview itself before writing your article. And the amount of time and effort would depend on the availability of your subject, whether the complete interview could be done in one sitting and possibly other factors.
Not everyone here will be skilled at interviewing even if they're excellent writers so you may need to be prepared to pay more for someone who has both skills - and possibly a background in the subject matter.
It could be useful for you to browse profiles of people who profess to have these skills and take a look at what they've been paid for any projects that sound similar in the past.
You could pay a lot less than that.
You could pay a lot more than that.
It depends on who you hire.
You can look at freelancers' portfolio pieces and get a better idea of their skill level, to help you decide who to hire.
People are available who can barely write passable English. And people are available who are extremely professional, talented and experienced.