Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Fan blog FAQ

For those of you interested in the fan blog we announced yesterday, here are a few updates and answers to frequently-posted questions:

1. You still have time to apply. Fill out this form by 11:59 p.m. ET Sunday. We'll contact the top candidates next week to ask for a sample blog post; the blog itself will launch in September.  

2. Some commenters have asked if the new fan blog will replace content on our current staff-written blogs, or other Post-produced content. The answer is an unqualified "no." We are doing this to supplement our current coverage, because it's obvious that we have a lot of smart fans who use the web site and might like a bigger platform than the current format allows.

3. Other commenters have asked if we will pay fan bloggers. Sadly, the answer is no. We hope that for some people, the large audience a site like washingtonpost.com could provide is enough motivation to post here, but we understand that may not work for everyone. 

4. There are others who are concerned that this blog might not have quality posts. Based on what we have seen so far -- applications from hundreds of D.C. sports fans -- we are confident we'll be able to publish a great blog. And if you read it, we encourage you to tell us what you don't like -- and what you like. Nothing is set in stone other than our desire to publish a blog a lot of fans of D.C.-area teams will enjoy reading.

Have any other questions? Post them in the comments; we'll be reading and responding.

By Mitch Rubin  |  August 20, 2010; 6:27 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Brett Favre will start for Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night
Next: Live chat: Redskins-Ravens

Comments

So why only one soccer blogger yet two for baseball?

Posted by: paulkp | August 20, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Okay, it's easy to see what the Post gets out of this. Free content for the web page and probably for the print edition too. But what's in it for the bloggers? They don't get paid, but are there any other benefits? Like for instance are they considered credentialed bloggers by the Nats and the Caps, with the same access to the team as other credentialed bloggers like Nats Farm Authority, Nats 320 and the like? If a blogger's material is used in the print edition, can they say on their resume that they have written for the Washington Post when applying for jobs, degree programs, membership in the BBWAA, etc?

And what about editorial control? Aside from the obvious verboten things such as obscenity, profanity, etc, are the bloggers allowed to be critical of the Post's or other media outlets' reporting? Can they engage with other independent bloggers via the Post blog if they happen to disagree with them on some issue? Can bloggers on this Post fan blog promote their own posts on their Twitter or Facebook feeds? If they develop cults of followers or haters, how will the Post deal with that? Who retains the copyright on things written by bloggers on these fan blogs, the bloggers themselves or do they cede their personal copyright to the Post? If the Post retains the copyright on material written by bloggers, will the Post provide legal support if any lawsuits arise based on posts to these blogs? Will the Post moderate comments to these blogs, or at least do a better job of policing comments than it does on its own blogs? (And BTW, you are aware that your "Report Abuse" mechanism is completely impotent, aren't you?)

Have you even considered any of these issues at all?

Posted by: nunof1 | August 20, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Okay, it's easy to see what the Post gets out of this. Free content for the web page and probably for the print edition too. But what's in it for the bloggers? They don't get paid, but are there any other benefits? Like for instance are they considered credentialed bloggers by the Nats and the Caps, with the same access to the team as other credentialed bloggers like Nats Farm Authority, Nats 320 and the like? If a blogger's material is used in the print edition, can they say on their resume that they have written for the Washington Post when applying for jobs, degree programs, membership in the BBWAA, etc?

And what about editorial control? Aside from the obvious verboten things such as obscenity, profanity, etc, are the bloggers allowed to be critical of the Post's or other media outlets' reporting? Can they engage with other independent bloggers via the Post blog if they happen to disagree with them on some issue? Can bloggers on this Post fan blog promote their own posts on their Twitter or Facebook feeds? If they develop cults of followers or haters, how will the Post deal with that? Who retains the copyright on things written by bloggers on these fan blogs, the bloggers themselves or do they cede their personal copyright to the Post? If the Post retains the copyright on material written by bloggers, will the Post provide legal support if any lawsuits arise based on posts to these blogs? Will the Post moderate comments to these blogs, or at least do a better job of policing comments than it does on its own blogs? (And BTW, you are aware that your "Report Abuse" mechanism is completely impotent, aren't you?)

Have you even considered any of these issues at all?

Posted by: nunof1 | August 20, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

If you have to ask what a writer would get out of this, then you just dont understand. I would PAY THEM to be selected. You are technically writing for one of the largest Newspaper operations in America. Nuff said.

Posted by: JeffEsquire | August 20, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

yeah nunof1 I am sure one of the biggest newpaper publishing companies in the world haven't thought of any of that...

Posted by: chrislarry | August 20, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, this "biggest newspaper publishing company in the world" should decline from selling ads on the pages produced from their non-paid writers.

No, I didn't think so...

Greedy, corporate, pigs ...

Posted by: Independent11 | August 20, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

JeffEsquire,
That's sort of a sad paradox. First, you acknowledge that this is one of the "largest Newspaper operations in America" -- and yet they are so greedy (as to try and take advantage of this recession) by getting free writers whom they can sell advertising off the backs of.

Posted by: Independent11 | August 21, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

All I know is the Wizards Insider blog is loaded with a bunch of fools --- and the two individuals who get this gig are going to be selected from that group!

Posted by: MeviousMan | August 21, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

This is a legitimately bad idea. I think if you review the comments, which nobody at the Post obviously does, you'll realize your supposed suppliers of news clearly hate this idea.

Posted by: JDP_ | August 21, 2010 2:51 AM | Report abuse

nunof, independent, and JDP raise valid points. Furthermore, as one who works in publishing, I would opine that, while fans might jump at the chance for exposure, some professional writers might not be eager to work for the Post for free. It's kinda hard to make a living that way, ya know? You're technically *being used* by one one of the largest newspaper (and that's lowercase) corporations in America. Nuff said.

---

If you have to ask what a writer would get out of this, then you just dont understand. I would PAY THEM to be selected. You are technically writing for one of the largest Newspaper operations in America. Nuff said.

Posted by: JeffEsquire | August 20, 2010 11:37 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Eh, make that "operations." Daggone volunteer proofreaders. Oh well, I guess you get what you pay for. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

First, I'll stick my neck out and say that I applied for the position. Second, clearly they are viewing this as an internship, the type of low paid or free internship that will help someone get in the door or a fan blog like some of the other fan blogs (nats320.com, TheNatsblog, FJB, Nationals Fan Girls, Let Teddy Win). They certainly have every right to do that, and I expect they will get some solid content.
-------------------------------------
I do think that's shortsighted, though, especially if they don't want to take the time to argue for the supplementary benefits besides "the large audience a site like washingtonpost.com could provide is enough motivation to post here, but we understand that may not work for everyone. ".

How will this blog be competitive with the other blogs that exist if they only use free posters? That takes commitment and quality, and they will likely sacrifice some commitment and quality if they limit themselves to free posters. Someone will be doing this just for kicks and may not post as frequently or comment as frequently. Or someone may do this to move on to something greater. Regardless, I don't know how they will get professional level writing consistent with their brand if they close the door to some pay for greater quality right off the bat.
----------------------------------------
I made a comment over the original thread about my thoughts about why they were doing it. To summarize:
1) To compete with some of the other blogs that are gaining success with other readers: Zuckerman, Goessling, Federalbaseball.com, Natsfarm.com, Nationalsprospects.com, etc....
2) The teams are reaching out to bloggers more. Might be easier fans to research or connect with the teams to get info. But who knows, they may have AK handle this and not issue credentials. It would be nice if they would answer some more of the questions in this thread on benefits before they select a person so that noone wastes their time by applying under false pretenses.
3) WaPo struggles with the responsiveness side that makes other sites "stickier". I don't blame them for this; most of their authors have responsibilities on the print side. But their blogs are less successful as a result.
4) And yes, this is very affordable and there is little risk if they aren't paying.
---------------------------------
Be curious to see what the response is to this post and elsewhere from users and managers.

Posted by: souldrummer | August 21, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like free, not low-paid, from what I've read. As someone who makes a living in the publishing field, I'd not be inclined to donate my services to a for-profit organization like the Post.

Sure, the Post has a right to do it, and, of course, readers have a right to make their own decisions on partaking of fan blogger content. Speaking as a Post subscriber, I'd not pay for such content, but perhaps there are some who would. More generally, I've always had a preference for the work of professional journalists like Svrluga, Kilgore, Zuckerman, and Goessling, and I don't tend to visit fan blogs as much (whether they are credentialed or not).

As for responsiveness, I don't feel a great need to interact personally with Kilgore or Bos, so that's not really an issue for me as a reader.

I'd also be interested to see more responses from readers (and subscribers) as well as from Post representatives.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

@natsfan1a1
I agree with you that I can't see any scenario where they'd pay someone money at this point. Probably by low paid I mean things that don't really cost them but would save money for someone who wouldn't to do this. Blogger credential, editorial support, internship or that kind of stuff. But I totally get your comment that "As someone who makes a living in the publishing field, I'd not be inclined to donate my services to a for-profit organization like the Post."

Of course, on the flip side WaPo or any other blog would probably be happy to learn what field you work for and the informal data that you just provided by being a trusting commenter. ;-)

Posted by: souldrummer | August 21, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Mitch, How often would the chosen bloggers be expected to come up with posts? Also, would they be on topics of their choosing, or would the Post make suggestions? Thanks!

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | August 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

souldrummer, thanks for clarifying.

I suspect that the WaPo has more sophisticated methods of data mining than reading through all of our comments for clues on what any of us might do for a living. For one thing, they've got that network news thing going where they can connect to one's social networks on Facebook and so forth. I don't do Facebook, so no worries there. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Is this going to be individual fanblogs for the major sports teams, or a 'mash-up' of all sports into a single fanblog? If it's the latter, look out for even more 24/7 Redskins junk.

Posted by: BinM | August 21, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

In case I misunderstood and you were getting at something else: I don't work in the journalism industry; I am a consumer of journalism. There's more to publishing than newspapers. ;-)

---

Of course, on the flip side WaPo or any other blog would probably be happy to learn what field you work for and the informal data that you just provided by being a trusting commenter. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"They certainly have every right to do that, and I expect they will get some solid content."

Of course they have the right to do it. Just like Bill Gates has 'the right' to ask people to mow his lawn for $1 per day (not saying he does). The point is, it is sleazy and greedy to do it.

People have to support themselves. Period! And if they can get you to start at $0, then you'll probably be honored (assuming you work out) to be put on a $300 week salary to take over Michael Lee's or some other higher paid writer's job.

Ultimately, they get content from which to sell ads and they don't have to pay a livable wage. And you get to live out of your van by the river. :)

Posted by: Independent11 | August 21, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Before anyone accepts this, please read this NY Times article on this very subject:

The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/business/03intern.html

Here's a quote from that article:

"The Labor Department says it is cracking down on firms that fail to pay interns properly and expanding efforts to educate companies, colleges and students on the law regarding internships.

“If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” said Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the department’s wage and hour division. "

Posted by: Independent11 | August 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Newspapers are losing money (not loosing money! ;-) especially since a lot, if not most of here don't pay for reading the WaPo on-line.

So, they want passionate WaPo/Skins fans who would love to have their views in a blog. I'm pretty sure that there will be conditions, 2 posts a day minimum maybe and an editor to quickly look at it so that the person won't be sued for slander, for example, etc.

But there are a lot of fans - short for fanatical, of course - who live and breathe the Redskins who will be more than happy to spend hours each day on it.

Some of you people really need to lighten up a bit - you gotta have fun with it - otherwise DON'T WASTE your time on it!

If you have a billion questions about it - I wouldn't recommend for you.

Posted by: charley42 | August 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

charjey42,
So much on your theory on the Post losing money:

Washington Post Co. reports nearly eightfold rise in second-quarter earnings
By Frank Ahrens
Saturday, August 7, 2010

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080602125.html

"Second-quarter earnings at The Washington Post Co. rose nearly eightfold, compared with the same period of 2009, as profits soared at the company's education division and advertising rebounded at The Post Co.'s six television stations.

The company earned $91.9 million ($10 a share) on $1.2 billion in second-quarter revenue this year, compared with $12.2 million ($1.30) in profit on $1.1 billion in revenue in the second quarter of 2009. "

Posted by: Independent11 | August 21, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I didn't specifically say the Post was losing money - but still let's take a look.

for the sake of simple math I'll round UP the profit.

1,200,000,000 revenue
120,000,000 profit

profit margin 10% per dollar

The year before - 1% on the dollar

Huge profits - and of course, the article says that

"Kaplan, the company's education division and revenue leader, was responsible for 62 percent of The Post Co.'s total second-quarter revenue and 67 percent of the company's earnings." And they are in a bit of trouble.

Back to the paper - it earned 3.4 mill this quarter but LOST 32.4 mill in the second quarter in 2009. The reason the Post earned a profit this second quarter was because of the increased internet ad revenue.

I'd say it's somewhat on shaky ground if the profit margin can swing 10x in one year (or any given quarter.)

Posted by: charley42 | August 21, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The newspaper itself has been losing boatloads of money for years. The company has been profitable due to its subsidiary, Stanley Kaplan. If not for Kaplan, we'd be looking at an absolute ghost of a newspaper.

So I've asked the same question twice with no response. I guess there is not enough paid person power to answer all our questions--ah, I get it!

Posted by: paulkp | August 21, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"I'd say it's somewhat on shaky ground if the profit margin can swing 10x in one year (or any given quarter.)"

- Hard to say, because corporate profits are up all over, despite the high unemployment rate.

"The reason the Post earned a profit this second quarter was because of the increased internet ad revenue."

- And they will be selling advertising on the articles written by these so called "intern" writers.

Sorry, but I believe that violates federal labor laws, according to the NY Times article I posted earlier.

Either way, for the Washington Post to publish ongoing content by two 'hired' writers, and to not even have the decency to pay them a minimum wage -- well, that's just disgraceful.

You can bury your head in the sand all you wish on this, but they will be earning advertising revenues off of free labor. No way around that fact.

Posted by: Independent11 | August 21, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Now, if they were to open up a forum-styled blog where any person could get a username and create his own threads to be commented on, then that's different.

BUT here, The Post is more or less taking applications for two positions to be filled -- who will be writing content for free -- content which will be earning this huge corporate behemoth advertising revenues.

And during a recession, when people REALLY need an income ... sick!

Posted by: Independent11 | August 21, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

People can read what they want, the Post can post what they want, and if some fanboy/girl wants to see their name in the title, fine with me. Costs me nothing, don't care.
I'm just not clear on what I'm getting out of this. Souldrummer writes frequently already--I read a lot of it now. So does 1a, and a lot of other people--most anyone I'd be interested in seeing get this gig, I'm already reading. So I'm a little confused about the concept--what's in it for me? There's already 16,386 bloggers in Natsville.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 21, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Also, there are eight million stories in Natstown. This has been one of them. :-)

---

There's already 16,386 bloggers in Natsville.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

independent11,

I'm as anti-corporate as anyone but as far as that goes, I feel that the Post isn't that bad. (I agree with some of your points. But who in this life is so ethnically pure?)

I suggest directing your energies towards other far more horrible corporations - there are plenty in the defense, energy, financial, manufacturing and retail industries - no matter what your political views are.

I think you're over-dramatizing this whole thing. As as said earlier, if you're not going to do this for fun - don't do it. If you don't like it, read about the Skins elsewhere or just don't click on the new blog. (They do keep track.)

Posted by: charley42 | August 22, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

@natsfan1a1
I understand the difference between the publishing industry and journalism. I was more getting at I think that it's helpful for them to understand whether people work full-time who post and whether they have at least some disposable income to spend on ads that they click on. You're right in that I don't believe they are reading comments too much.

Posted by: souldrummer | August 22, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@Sec3mysofa
Personally, I comment a lot on different Nats sites right now. Most of the ones that I listed in my first post in the thread are people where folks can read my comments and reactions to things if they so choose. Still, I think there's reasons why someone who is a frequent commenter or doesn't blog very openly would consider this position and why readers would benefit.
1) They may already personally blog to a limited audience for free now. I actually fall into this bracket. I've got a blog on the minor league teams that I'm not promoting right now because I'd like to make sure I have a certain level of quality and a genuinely unique voice first.
2) It would focus someone's efforts to know that they have an audience. Whoever gets this will probably right in a better style if they new they had an audience they had to step there game for.
3) There's a lot of people who lurk and probably don't read the comments that much. Again, larger audience reading what you write.
4) Most importantly, you get to start the discussion and guide it in directions of interests. There's stuff like rallying the fan base, baseball as it relates to the DC community, looking at the Nats system big picture, highlighting individual stories of people I see when I go to the park or people that I know who are already making major unappreciated contributions to the Natmosphere that I'd write about that I don't comment about if I knew that people would actually read it.

Posted by: souldrummer | August 22, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Folks:

Thanks for all the great questions. Mitch and I are planning a longer post for Monday to answer more of your concerns, but for now, a few quick responses:

Q: "Can bloggers on this Post fan blog promote their own posts on their Twitter or Facebook feeds?" (from nunof1)
A: Of course. And they could also link to their Twitter feed/Facebook page/personal blog out of their Post blog posts.

Q: "So why only one soccer blogger yet two for baseball?" (from paulkp)
- That was our original plan, but if there are two great soccer candidates -- and we're getting great response for every team so far -- we'll go with two.

Q: "Is this going to be individual fanblogs for the major sports teams, or a 'mash-up' of all sports into a single fanblog?" (from BinM)
A: The latter. Because we plan some moderation of the posts (not too heavy-handed, we promise), we had to limit the scope of this blog. We'll try to make it easy for you to find all the posts about a single team by categorizing each post, and we're discussing having some set scheduling (a Caps post every Tuesday afternoon, etc). And as we said in a previous post, nothing is set in stone -- we'll see how it goes.

More answers to come -- but keep asking questions if you have 'em. Thanks for all the input -- it is truly appreciated.

Jon DeNunzio

Posted by: Jon DeNunzio | August 22, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

charley42,
I think you missed my whole point. I'm not picking on the Post for not being pure. I know there are more grave injustices in the world, but this is a near-depression, and people are unemployed, corporate profits are up, and yet corporations are seeking under the guise of 'intern' or as you stated 'you're not going to do this for fun'.

Hey, if living with your head in the sand leads to your happiness, all the power to you, but once you personally experience the implications of what they are doing (free labor) and realize that if the Times, the Globe, the Sun and everyone else follows suit, then the marketplace for paid writers will diminish even further.

There's a populist angst in America right now and most of it is centered around employment and corporate greed -- the two ingredients you find right here for this so call 'unpaid internship'.

Posted by: Independent11 | August 22, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

charley42,
I think you missed my whole point. I'm not picking on the Post for not being pure. I know there are more grave injustices in the world, but this is a near-depression, and people are unemployed, corporate profits are up, and yet corporations are seeking under the guise of 'intern' or as you stated 'you're going to do this for fun' free labor from which to generate revenues.

Hey, if living with your head in the sand leads to your happiness, all the power to you, but once you personally experience the implications of what they are doing (free labor) and realize that if the Times, the Globe, the Sun and everyone else follows suit, then the marketplace for paid writers will diminish even further.

There's a populist angst in America right now and most of it is centered around employment and corporate greed -- the two ingredients you find right here for this so call 'unpaid internship'.

Posted by: Independent11 | August 22, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for clarifying, souldrummer. I don't look at or click on ads, and I don't publicly disclose info about my income, disposable or otherwise, so neither is relevant in my case, fwiw.

---

I was more getting at I think that it's helpful for them to understand whether people work full-time who post and whether they have at least some disposable income to spend on ads that they click on. You're right in that I don't believe they are reading comments too much.

Posted by: souldrummer | August 22, 2010 9:36 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 22, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Okay, you guys are killing me. First of all, if you don't want to blog for free, just don't do it! (It's cary that you can't figure that out on your own.) Second, there is just such juicy irony in that you are ranting about it and...well...giving the Post free content in the process. Oh, and there's my favorite - the greed thing. All a corporation is is a bunch of people banded together to accomplish something they could not do individually and in the process have an income so they can buy the things they need for themselves and their families. Isn't that what you do? Isn't that what everybody does? Or do you wander naked in the woods eating bushes and berries? Thanks so much for my daily amusement.

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | August 22, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, saying that you regularly write for the Washington Post is pretty impressive on a resume. It could lead to a paid position with some sports mag. Look at Jasno La Canfora! He sure got a well paid gig after doing the blog here! :D

There was an article recently (I think Yahoo!?) where they had a list of 10 people who were pulling in 6 figure incomes simply by posting a short video on YouTube. (One of them was the kid who rambled on in the car when he was overdrugged by the dentist.

Posted by: charley42 | August 22, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

What about the fan bloggers for the 2 female professional teams in town, the Washington Freedom and the soon to be Eastern Conference Champion and #1 seed in the Eastern Conference of the WNBA Playoffs, the Washington Mystics??!! Not to sound all feminist and all but the women's teams need to be represented as well!! Is the Terps blogger going to comment on the Lady Terps women's basketball team as well as the men's football and men's basketball teams??

Also the Univ of Maryland isn't the only college sports team in town - where's the fan bloggers for Georgetown and George Mason University??!!

The DC area fan generated sportsblog needs to represent all area teams, not just the high profile ones!!

Posted by: theresa21 | August 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I would opine that, although there are those who submit comments that are as long as or longer than the typical blog post, comments on a blog aren't content in the sense that a blog post is. It's delusional to think that our comments carry the same weight as a post by the Nats beat writer does, for example, imho.

---

Second, there is just such juicy irony in that you are ranting about it and...well...giving the Post free content in the process.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 22, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that the editors here might not enjoy my quibling, but I'm guessing ALL the Washington Post journalists/writers here know EXACTLY what I'm on about, and appreciate the voice I'm giving this topic.

When they're not outsourcing, or opening our borders for cheap labor, their devising ingenious "fan blog" strategies to increase their fat profits off the back of the people.

Should all these new hires (who happen to be unpaid, 'non-employees') happen to work out, why the hell pay Michael Lee or any other paid writer to work? Hell, in this economy we've got people ready and willing to do the job for free.

Why pay a software engineer $60k here, when we can hire 12 of them in india for the same price. The middle class is disappearing and some of you are too blind to see it happening all around you.

I just posted a blog on this new "fan blog" program, if anyone cares to read it: http://www.alterpolitics.com/politics/washington-post-now-hiring-unpaid-non-employees-to-produce-content/

Posted by: Independent11 | August 22, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Jon!

Posted by: paulkp | August 22, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I think what is missing here is a reality check in terms of economics. IF a blogger becomes a favorite of readers then page hits will go up and ads will be more valuable. It's just good business practice to see if you can produce the same results with less cost (writer salaries). The point I would argue is that if every Joe Shmo commentor could maintain a fan base of a blog as well as salaried employees, then perhaps that writer is over paid. What talent or skill set do they provide the Post if it doesn't attract more readers than the average person? In reality I see this fan blog as being additional reading for those of us who would like more after consuming the material produced by more qualified writers.

If at any point the Post decided to offer a blogger a salary (I'd be amazed), it would be on that individual to insure they are fairly compensated based on any number of quantifiable factors. Blogging challenges the status quo in that an inexperienced citizen may prove to have talent for writing that rivals those whom make it their career. A corporation that tries to wield that for their own benefit shouldn't be scorned. The pressure is on the writers to 'earn their keep' in a way, to continue producing entertaining pieces that keep readers coming back and viewing those ads! I know for one, that if a fan replaces a salaried writer with inferior material I will not continue to read, and it should be as simple as that.

Posted by: Bog_Reader | August 23, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Bog_Reader,
Couldn't you apply that same logic to ANY employee position in the country?

Company: We'll take you on in a unpaid role to see if you actually generate any profits for us. If you do, we'll consider giving you a salary and benefits. If not, consider yourself lucky for the opportunity.

That 'mindset' is a perfect outlook for corporations at every level to EXPLOIT the American worker.

Which is precisely why there are Federal Labor Laws that prohibit For-Profit companies to do what you are suggesting is 'fair'.

It appears you don't value "the writer or journalist" as a person who should be treated just like any other worker in America. The Post won't hire anyone for this position unless they are talented enough to create decent content. It's no different than a company determining whether to hire a software engineer or any other person from any other professions.

There's always a possibility they won't work out, but you don't NOT PAY THEM until they prove to you they have worked out, or companies will have everyone working for free for as long as they can.

Common sense...

Posted by: Independent11 | August 23, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Independent11,

I agree with what you've said, and if I was speaking about actual employment then your argument would certainly be valid, and I would agree with it. That said, we're discussing a blog, the only unique circumstance is that "washingtonpost" appears in the url instead of "blogspot". This isn't a job, its a hobby, and WaPo is just giving you a place to post it. I believe you are using the wrong verb when you say the Post will 'hire' anyone.

To further address your point, some do volunteer to contribute to for-profit companies' products. You even mentioned software engineers. Many people work on software as a matter of hobby, and many of them contribute to commercial software on a volunteer basis. If the company likes their work, or it is well liked by the using public then that individual may be offered a job. No one is going to volunteer to be a project manager at a defense contractor because it's not exactly a hobby. Writing is, for many, a hobby.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but do we even know if there will be ads on the fanblog site? There may not be any for the specific reason as to avoid this for-profit/volunteer line. If I were in management at WaPo I'd just fill the margins with links to every other part of the site where they can sell ads.

Posted by: Bog_Reader | August 24, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company