Third Party & Independents Archives

Hey, What do you think of this?

Newspaper Guild Calls on Unpaid Writers to Boycott Huffington Post
By Diane Macedo

What do the contributors to WatchBlog think of this story? I consider my position on WatchBlog a privilage. I am in no position to demand anything from WatchBlog. I serve at the pleasure of the Editor. I enjoy being a contributor. I would miss WatchBlog if it discontinued allowing me to contribute.

Heads Up, HuffPo! The Mob Is Turning on Crowdsourcing
By John R. Quain

And money is pouring into hip destinations like question-and-answer networking site Quora (if you haven't heard of it yet, you will soon). Even AOL got sucked in, recently paying $315 million for one of the most well-known crowdsourced blogs, The Huffington Post. There are scores of others, of course, ranging from content farms like Demand Media and Seed to niche sites like Yahoo Answers, Stackoverflow and Ask.com.

But there are flies buzzing in the crowdsourcing pool.

Readers increasingly regard such sites as notoriously inaccurate, irrelevant and generally suspect. Restaurant reviews in Yelp may be posted by relatives of restaurateurs -- or competitors. Company profiles in Wikipedia may be written by the business' own PR department. And so-called citizen journalists at The Huffington Post may be publishing material that's actually written by marketing pros spinning "news" stories.

Guild tells HuffPost writers: 'Don't work for free'
16 Mar 2011
The Newspaper Guild-CWA

The Newspaper Guild, a 26,000-member-strong national union of media workers, is committed to fair compensation for all workers, whether they are freelance bloggers or traditional employees. We are further committed to promoting quality journalism. Working for free does not benefit workers and undermines quality journalism.
Visual Art Source, http://visualartsource.com , an art publication, represents more than 50 writers who have said they will no longer write for the Huffington Post for free and who object to a company that depends on unpaid labor for its success.

"What we're trying to do is get a dialogue going with the Huffington Post," Newspaper Guild Administrative Director Tim Schick told FoxNews.com. "They obviously have a large following, but we're at a time when the standards of the industry, as far as pay and benefits, are going down and we think that because of Arianna Huffington's stated positions on what's good for middle class Americans that she should be open to discussing how to maintain the standard of living for people who write for a living."

I'm interested in the WatchBlog contributor's opinion. Should we be paid to post on WatchBlog? Will we be allowed to post on WatchBlog if the Newspaper Guild gets it's way? I'm curious! Is this the camel's nose?


Posted by Weary Willie at March 18, 2011 6:17 PM
Comments
Comment #320362

I find it interesting that a liberal Bastian like the Huff Post, who no doubt holds and prescribes to the fact that corporations are the downfall of America, is now being attacked and identified as a greedy corporation by the very unions it supposedly serves. hahahaha

It is a case of, “it’s not fair, we should be getting some of the profits”. If WB were sold for a profit, should the contributors get a cut? What does their contract say? I guess we do live by laws after all.

What we have here is an example of liberals who have created a company for profit and they are making a profit. So they are no different than any other corporation. Al Gore has managed to make millions (perhaps billions) while peddling his socialist agenda. I bet Al Gore has a company that is incorporated. So when all is said and done, liberals like to make money too, and they want to keep what they earn, but they want to use someone else’s money to pay for their socialist programs.

Posted by: 1776 at March 18, 2011 8:28 PM
Comment #320363

Weary

I positively refused to be paid for writing. Not being paid is/was a condition of my participation.

That said, it is hard for professional journalists to compete with unpaid labor. And we need professional journalists. Bloggers like us rarely produce independent information. We rely on professionals to do the hard work of reporting.

On the other hand, Huffington Post doesn’t produce much in the way of factual reporting. Adrianne Huffington spent a lot of money in an attempt to buy intellectual credibility. If you have seen her on the talk shows, you know that money can’t buy intelligence.

On the third hand - most of us would not be able to write if we demanded payment for our work. Real journalists have to write regularly and they have to check facts. They also cannot, ethically, take sides the way we do.

IMO - none of us Watchblog writers deserves to be paid for the stuff we write. Or maybe we should be paid in “internet dollars”.

Posted by: C&J at March 18, 2011 8:28 PM
Comment #320367
Bloggers like us rarely produce independent information.
maybe we should be paid in “internet dollars”.
Posted by: C&J at March 18, 2011 08:28 PM

Why shouldn’t “connecting the dots” be considered a commodity? It’s not a military function, it’s a social function.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2011 8:49 PM
Comment #320370

Add a media source and you have a cost.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2011 8:58 PM
Comment #320375

I could not pay the WB writers even if I wanted to. The small amount that I make each month running a few Google ads barely pays for the hosting of the site. There is very little left over.

Making money off of WatchBlog has never been a priority of mine. My priority has always been building and maintaining a community of people who love to discuss politics across partisan lines in a civil manner.

Posted by: WatchBlog Publisher at March 18, 2011 9:40 PM
Comment #320378

1776, C&J, you didn’t answer my question. Is this the camel’s nose?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2011 10:08 PM
Comment #320379

Could this series of events be the end of blogging as we know it?

If you have to be qualified or licenced before you can speak, shouldn’t those who aren’t licenced or qualified speak up?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2011 10:19 PM
Comment #320384

Good topic, Willie. I think it really depends on a lot of things. Like the editor said, he couldn’t even pay us if he wanted to. A site like this is more of a way for people to either build their personal “brand”, engage with a community, or develop their own writing skills. When it comes to the HuffPost, I wouldn’t write for them unless I was getting paid to do it. That site makes a whole lot more money off of viewership/etc than Watchblog does. If it’s understood that the site you’re writing for isn’t a “profit driven” venture, then there’s no problem with writing for it for free in my eyes. If, however, a corporate website makes a bunch of money off of you, your writing, and the articles composed by other bloggers then it’s perfectly reasonable to only write for them with the expectation of payment. Of course this all totally relies on who the person is, but I think it’s reasonable to expect payment from a HuffPost article. Unless the writer agreed to not be paid in the first place, of course. But I wouldn’t. Just saying.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 19, 2011 1:16 AM
Comment #320389

Who is licensed? And who decides qualified?

Posted by: womanmarine at March 19, 2011 8:40 AM
Comment #320396

Sounds like an anti-trust suit to me.

Posted by: CC at March 19, 2011 12:08 PM
Comment #320419

“IMO - none of us Watchblog writers deserves to be paid for the stuff we write. Or maybe we should be paid in “internet dollars”.”
Posted by: C&J at March 18, 2011 08:28 PM

I agree with your entire post C&J, although there are some that have passed through here worthy of monetary gain for their efforts. It is my opinion that whether you write or comment here at watchblog you get the reward of feedback from others that may or may not agree with your thoughts. That alone….

You know C&J if we were paid in internet dollars would we have to pay internet taxes to an internet government?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 19, 2011 8:15 PM
Comment #320421


When all of America is waiting breathlessly on our every word, WatchBlog manager will have the advertising revenue to pay writers.

Posted by: jlw at March 19, 2011 8:45 PM
Comment #320431

My concern here is, Will there come a point when Watchblog Editor will be required to pay his contributors to stay in business? The point being to “protect” the consumer from the untruths that come out of these environments. Will contributors, for the sake of “truth”, have to be vetted before they are allowed to voice an opinion?

Working for free does not benefit workers and undermines quality journalism.

Equal access “undermines quality journalism”? Will Editors be forced to hire their contributors in the name of quality? Could something like this be written into the upcoming Internet regulations?

http://reason.com/blog/2010/06/03/meet-the-man-and-the-mustache

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 19, 2011 11:01 PM
Comment #320437


Money is pouring into hip question and answer sites?

I knew I should have launched my Oracle of Mount Joy site last year. Always a day late and a dollar short.

I imagine the corporations will be having the greatest influence regarding what is in the upcoming Internet regulations.

Posted by: jlw at March 20, 2011 12:54 AM
Comment #320530

This blog, to me, is something personal, something I started as a means of self-expression and persuasion. It’s a friendly thing, so the thought of charging for it doesn’t have the same appeal.

But what if this blog got taken over by a big conglomerate, and pumped up into something big? What if I were more or less required to keep up a daily pace of work, instead of coming and going as I pleased?

Then, well, I would probably ask for money.

Fact is, in a market economy, people make decisions as to what their time, effort, and trouble are worth, as well as the opportunity costs. For example, I’m working on a big fantasy novel right now. I might not want to give up the time needed to post everyday, make a regular job out of it, unless I could be compensated for it. Even now, I feel tempted to walk down to a Democratic Party office and ask for a job. Why? Because it might be preferable to get paid for doing something I love, rather than just getting paid for doing something I can tolerate.

Time, effort, trouble, opportunities lost, and the need to fulfill purposes that are important to oneself. These are the things that determine whether a person will do something for free, or whether they’ll feel the need to be better compensated before they continue.

Don’t knock it, it’s how our system works.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 23, 2011 10:34 AM
Comment #320531

Weary Willie-
It is unlikely that there will be a requirement that contributors to a website get paid.

Put simply, you can do work for free in all kinds of other different fields as well. To prohibit such work for free, you’d have to shut down every personal blog out there. That’s not going to happen.

So relax, it’s just capitalism at work. The labor wants compensation. If the Huffington Post or others don’t want to pay, the writers don’t have to continue writing for them. The Post will determine its going market rate for labor, and by that, the quality of workers it gets.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 23, 2011 10:38 AM
Comment #320574

I’m not saying people shouldn’t get paid for writing. I’m worried there will be a requirement that writers must be recognized as legitimate/licenced writers before they are allowed to contribute. Much like babysitters, electricians, and radio personalities must have a licence before they can be hired.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 24, 2011 12:12 PM
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