Mayhill Fowler had one demand for the Huffington Post, if she was going to continue writing for the news platform. She wanted to get paid. Unfortunately, the editors at HuffPo didn’t really want to do that. Despite multiple attempts, the editors continued to deny Fowler’s requests for paying gigs.
So Fowler told the blogging platform that she quit. Good for her. If she wants to do the reporting thing for a paying job then she should quit, but she probably shouldn’t have blogged about all the injustice she felt while writing pro bono articles for HuffPo. Fowler knew she wasn’t going to get paid when she started, yet, seemed dumbfounded after a year of reporting that the company still didn’t pay her. In her defense, Huffington Post seemed to want her to stay.
“In the days since OffTheBus, you obviously have transitioned into one of our top line bloggers. With over 6,000 bloggers and 300 blog posts published a day, we tend to have less editorial back and forth with our group bloggers (although I know we always try to be responsive and I have personally maintained relationships with many who have been with us since “the old days”!),” wrote editor Roy Sekoff in an email response to Fowler’s resignation from the free blogging platform.
But Fowler sought editorial support and money. Despite multiple attempts, like pitching an Afghanistan story or offering to cover the Tea Party Convention in Nashville, HuffPo continued to turn Fowler down (FYI, paid freelancing submissions get turned down by the bundle and often those stories are already reported). But after her last attempt to get paid by Sekoff, Fowler wrote, “So let this be a warning to you, citizen journalism enthusiasts. In the end, what you are doing really is enhancing somebody else’s bottom line.”
Of course, that’s what every journalist does, and, unfortunately, how the industry Fowler wants to get into, works. Journalists write stories, the company gets advertising around those stories, which increases a company’s bottom line. Normally you get paid. And smart on Fowler’s part to demand pay, but she needs to prepare herself in the instance that her company doesn’t find her worth the salary. Instead she compared herself to other people and their value at the company (i.e. new writer Howard Fineman , who has 25-plus years of experience, or the works of other HuffPos writers, like Sam Stein ).
It’s a strange way to try and leverage a job as a journalist elsewhere. But good luck.