Matt Pascarella, a New York City, USA-based writer and freelance journalist who is also the U.S. bureau chief for Demotix Images, published an e-mail interview in the November 2009 online edition of The Progressive with Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post. See “Arianna Huffington.” Among the questions Pascarella asked Huffington was this one:
Q: Why is it OK not to pay bloggers on your site? Why should people work for free for you, when you get the benefit?Huffington said, “Original blog posts and pieces from our reporters account for more than 40 percent of all content viewed on HuffPost.”
Huffington: The Huffington Post pays more than seventy full-time staffers—editors, reporters, and our tech team, as well as two dozen part-time comment moderators. Our 3,000 bloggers are not paid, but they post as often or as infrequently as they like, with no deadlines or expectations. They value the large audience and prominent platform that HuffPost provides, plus all the tech support, comment moderation, and links to their books, CDs, upcoming speeches, etc., that we offer.
I can understand that trade-off, if that’s, indeed, the arrangement. When I started at a community newspaper in the 1970s, I was paid $37.50 every two weeks. I worked at another newspaper for free. When I became a full-time correspondent with Muhammad Speaks around 1973 or 1974, I was paid $170.00 a week. I wanted to be a journalist so badly I was willing to work for free, if necessary. I figured the rewards would come later, and they did with travel to Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, appearances on radio and television news programs, participation at university and college seminars, etc.