He’s an editor for the Huffington Post, and was asked why the HuffPo doesn’t pay its writers.
I love this question, because I’m proud to say that what we do is that we have 13,000 contributors in the UK, bloggers… we don’t pay them, but you know if I was paying someone to write something because I wanted it to get advertising pay, that’s not a real authentic way of presenting copy. So when somebody writes something for us, we know it’s real. We know they want to write it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.
See, you’re inauthentic if you get paid fairly for your work. You can trust someone if they did the work for free, which implies that you ought to be deeply suspicious of people who expect to get paid.
Isn’t that a conveniently beneficial attitude to take, if you’re rich? We saw this same thing in the Roman and British empires, where as wealth was concentrated in the hands of a few, working in the trades was scorned, merchants were despised, and laborers were the filth and scum of society. Money was evil, if you worked for it, but was simply the fair and virtuous reward given to those who had it fall into their laps.
But HuffPo has lots of traffic and lots of ads, and the money that comes in must go somewhere…just not to those wretches who only work to get paid. The Queen of Virtue is Arianna Huffington, who contributes nothing but the occasional vapid column of banality, and is rewarded with a net worth of about $50 million.
If you want something to be proud of, Freethoughtblogs pays its writers every bit of profit — there are no paid executives, we have a part-time tech we would like to pay more, we have hosting costs we pay for out of advertising revenue, and every penny we have left over gets divvied up to our bloggers. When we’ve had to invest more to improve the site, our more successful bloggers in stable jobs have voluntarily reached into their own pockets to pay for it. We can’t pay much, because we unfortunately don’t have HuffPo’s traffic, but there are no managers collecting all the money and making excuses for why the people who do the actual work can’t be paid.
Managers do have an important role to play — we’d love to have a staff who’d work and get paid for ad management and promotion and expansion — but not management who are working to screw over the people who are implementing the whole purpose of the web site.