The Washington Post Tries to Eat the Blogosphere, and Chokes

What a bunch of snobby, smug, entitled, presumptuous ASSHOLES:

Five weeks ago, I received an unsolicited offer from the Washington
Post. They asked if they could post my picture and biography on their
website and link to every new blog post appearing here if I agreed to
produce regular original content for them at their request. I turned
them down. Why?

Because they wanted me to work for them for nothing.

Post is organizing a “local blogging network” linking to selected blogs
from their website and asking bloggers to submit original content,
which would be edited by them. The Post’s rights to that content would
be enforceable under a written agreement.

Scout sent this to me. My blood pressure has been so nice and LOW for weeks now. This is outrageous and sad and depressing and insane and stupid in all the ways shit like this is always stupid.

Why would the Post even think bloggers would agree to something like this? Because. Because they think they’re the Post, and you should aspire to be them, and if you’re not aspiring to be them you should at least aspire for them to piss on you as they walk by.

Because MPW should just fall all over themselves to kiss the Post’s ring, right? They should be grateful, I mean, my God, that the Post would even NOTICE them? It’s like an ant being smiled upon by a goddess! They shouldn’t ask for money from a multi-million-dollar news corporation! They should just be honored to be allowed to share the same pixels as the Post’s actual staff writers.

After all, we’re just untutored filthy Internet people out here. None of us are trained journalists (except those who are) and none of us know enough about our livelihoods to value work properly (except those who do) and none of us have any idea how to build our own goddamn incomes (except those making more money than Washington Post writers) without being adopted by Benevolent Media Daddy and shown the ropes as, you know, a favor. I mean, we really ought to pay THEM for the right to breathe their air!

And link to them. We should totally pay to link to them.

Especially since their traffic blows:

Google Subscribers, 4/19/10

MPW: 337
Post, Maryland News Articles: 324
Post, Editorials Page (All): 208
Post, Maryland Politics Blog: 68

I’m sorry, but this whole thing is starting to remind me of that guy who swans up to you in a bar and tells you how lucky you’d be if he decided to take you home, and the whole time, his fly is open and his shirt tail’s poking through.

Congratulations, Washington Post. You’ve managed tofail harder than the Chicago Tribune. I didn’t think there was any room left under that bar but you’ve limbo-ed right beneath it. Go you!




19 thoughts on “The Washington Post Tries to Eat the Blogosphere, and Chokes

  1. I dunno – I can’t be mad about this. I guess because I sort of assume that’s how they think, but didn’t assume they’d be dumb enough to come up with the worst possible model. Really, you couldn’t make it any worse:
    1. Don’t pay.
    2. Force them to do extra work.
    3. Edit them.
    It’s like they looked at the Examiner, ChicagoNow, Huffington Post, and regular old professional journalism and decided to combine the least appealing aspects into one completely hamfisted idea.
    I just can’t be mad at them for it, because it’s like watching someone slip on a banana peel.

  2. I’ve got similar anger for other snobbish assholes, but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s posting.

  3. Just another one to add to the “No-Pay for Blogging Pay” file along with the follies of the woman our local Gambit editor Kevin Allman calls Satan’s Botoxed Handmaiden, Arianna Huffington.

  4. I might have done it, but I’m currently not making any money from blogging anyway. So all it would have done for me is raise my profile.
    That’s not to say that I think that publications that pay all their regular writers should get away with not paying bloggers, just that if someone wants to actually get my permission to syndicate my stuffthat I’m already writing for the love of it all over the place (instead of just ripping it off me and posting it without my byline, I’m looking atyou, MetroJacksonville!), that’s at least somewhat of a win for me.

  5. A few years ago, WNBC-TV invited a whole mess o’ us NYC/Jersey bloggers in, laid out a silly looking spread and asked us all to create content for them for free. A lot of bloggers you’d recognize were there. Some of the younger gossip bloggers thought it would be good for their careers. Most of us knew better.

  6. Interro, but the point of the numbers is the exposure isn’t even all that great. I could see the argument if it actually would get you a larger audience.

  7. Why would the Post even think bloggers would agree to something like this? Because. Because they think they’re the Post, and you should aspire to be them, and if you’re not aspiring to be them you should at least aspire for them to piss on you as they walk by.
    It’s not just the newspapers. Everyone seems to expect free content these days, you know, for “exposure.” Exposure to whom? More people who don’t want to pay you?
    The attitude was perfectly summed up by an account exec at an ad agency I occasionally work for. I half-jokingly told him that his people are going to have to start actually paying creatives some real money if he expects more good work out of us. His answer? “But you’re creatives! You chose this lifestyle. Why should I have to pay for it?”
    I’m going to chalk that answer up to the third bottle of pinot we had just consumed …

  8. One of the MPW commenters offered a decent solution: Since the Post’s Maryland writers don’t seem to generate as much traffic as MPW gets, it should work the other way ’round. The Post should agree to provide “content” to MPW, free of course, along with the right to edit as MPW sees fit and with MPW’s rights to the content enforceable per the written agreement — in return for a linkie from MPW.
    Of course, given the Post’s history of hiring (either unvetted or out of an edgy, po-mo, devil-may-care disregard for the whole old-fashioned idea) plagiarists, the part about the all of the work being ORIGINAL work, the writers’ own creation, and not in violation of copyright might be … howdoyousay … an ISSUE. But that’s the Post’s problem, not MPW’s.
    I wonder why all of this didn’t occur to the Posties in the first place?

  9. Let’s not forget the treatment the WaPo gave to its best and most famous in-house blogger, Dan Froomkin.

  10. Yes, locus, we shouldn’t forget that the WaPoo showed Froomkin the door.
    Nor should we forget thatthey actually paid a tendentious, craptacular, horribly overrated, plagiarizing, snot-nosed little Red State bottom-feeder named Ben Domenech for his so-called “content.”
    And that they continue to pay, and pay well, to keep the likes of moral cretins, rank ideologues and paternalistic schlubs such as George Will, Charles Krauthammer and David Broder on their editorial page.
    Moreover, they tried this same routine over a year ago with bloggers at large, and the proposal was met with stony silence, or people said, “why the fuck would I let the Post edit my work?,” or, “they’ll pay a bunch of horses’ asses but they won’t pay me?,” or, “why on earth would I associate my good name with that bunch of sycophants?”
    It’s a steep learning curve, and the WaPoo is too weak to climb it.

  11. Why doesn’t anyone object that the Huffington Post has been doing this (i.e., not paying contributors) since its inception?

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