While bloggers who wrote for free for supersite Huffington Post are angry because they weren’t brought in on the deal, the freelancers who actually worked for pay are apparently being pushed out — and invited to join the ranks of the volunteers. According to Observer.com, the freelancers who worked for two of HuffPo’s properties, MOviefone and Cinematical, received an email saying that all paid positions will be on-staff (with a few exceptions), and inviting them to continue writing as unpaid bloggers.
It’s interesting that HuffPo seems to want to retreat back to the old newsroom format, with all its writers on site. I suspect that part of its strategy isn’t only a romantic vision of a His Girl Friday-type newsroom (or a more corporate setup where writers are watched to make sure they’re not watching YouTube on company time), but also an expectation that enough of their bloggers will continue to create content for free to make up for the loss of freelancers who (gasp! choke!) insist on actually being paid for their work.
Here’s a quote from the letter, as provided by the Observer:
Sometime soon???this week, I believe???many of you will be receiving an email informing you that your services as a freelancer will no longer be required. You will be invited to contribute as part of our non-paid blogger system; and though I know that for many of you this will not be an option financially, I strongly encourage you to consider it if you???d like to keep writing for us, because we value all of your voices and input.