Per our sister blog 10,000 Words’ recent entry “Five Things AOL’s Patch Is Doing Right,” the community news venture is not all bad. Which is why AOL’s recent decision to force Patch to follow the Huffington Post’s free-blogger approach was so puzzling, and depressing.
Over the weekend, the Guild Freelancers arm of the Pacific Media Workers Guild posted an open letter to Patch, to that effect. In so doing, the author(s) noticed something we had also here at FishbowlLA:
A lot of the Patch solicitations for unpaid bloggers read like your local editors were uncomfortable even writing them. Having endured our share of questionable assignments over the years, we sympathize. This one’s even worse than landing the weather story. What self-respecting journalist wants to beg people to work for free and somehow try to make it sound like a good idea?
Especially when you add in the fact that Patch sites get nowhere near the traffic that the original Huffington Post did.