Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why should writers work for no pay? (LA Times)

The core of Huffington's justification for not paying is that the Huffington Post is a showcase for writers, and that exposure there leads to paying gigs and greater visibility. Huffington merely — and generously, by her estimation — provides the stage. Mario Ruiz, the Huffington Post's spokesman, claims that contributors are happy to write for free because they "want to be heard by the largest possible audience and understand the value that that kind of visibility can bring."
I can actually see both sides of this argument and it's not an easy one to solve. On the one hand, writing for free is like an internship in any other business. You get practice, make connections, and are then sent into the world better armed to get a job and create your career. On the other hand, interns (and unpaid writers) are often taken advantage of. They don't feel like they can say no when asked to do a non-work related task for fear of burning a bridge. And is a writer who just sold their first spec to di Bonaventura really going to say no to a free polish or two? It's easy to say writers who think the Huffington Post is using them should stop working with the site. It's also easy to say that people deserve to be paid for their work. Like I said, this one's not an easy fix. What do you think?

Read the full article here.

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