The Huffington Post Media Group is launching HuffPost High School, Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici reports, which is unique in that it is produced entirely by minorsthe editor is only 17.
At the same time, Bercovici writes, Patch is recruiting middle-school and high-school bloggers as part of the network’s push to recruit thousands of bloggers to keep the hyperlocal sites chugging along.
As long as you’re thirteen and up, a spokeswoman told Bercovici, it’s fair game.
Understandably, some people are upset about this development.
“Unbelievable,” Rebecca Rosen Lum, west coast coordinator for the Newspaper Guild’s Freelance Project, told Bercovici “Watch industry follow suit and start trying to hire 10-year-olds to run machines again.”
Jonathan Tasini also had some words for the initiative (but you’ll have to read the original post to find out what they were).
There’s also a privacy issueblogging for the Huffington Post is a lot different, in terms of exposure, than a kid posting her thoughts on her Club Penguin blog or whatever it is the kids use these days.
And, we think, the issue of “free labor” from minors is even more complicated. On the one hand, asking teens to blog for free could be seen as even more exploitative than asking adults, who presumably have better decision-making faculties. On the other hand, there are worse things a teen can do for his future prospects (college/work/life) than get a popular blog on a very popular website. And it’s time better spent than playing Angry Birds and hanging out at the skate park. But on the other hand, kids or no, if they’re considered good enough writers to have their words on one of the top sites on the Internet, they should be considered good enough to be paid, right?