Mike, you're guilt of selective perception here. The water flows two ways: Some of those bloggers, don't forget, are respected professionals who lent their veracity to a start-up they believed in and brought barnloads of traffic its way, helping to make it a $315 million enterprise. So who owes who here?
Secondly, many of the Huffington Post bloggers were led to believe they would be paid. Visit Facebook.com/heyarianna for specifics.
Unpaid commentary by those who feel passionately about an issue, a program, or a piece of legislation is not new to the news biz. Broadcast news makes room for guest editorials; newspapers have run op-eds and letters to the editor.
But the Huffington Post is another animal entirely. We're talking about an aggregator that was built on the unpaid labor of others -- and no, Mike, most of those people did not get themselves a windfall in book sales and TV shows like the Huffington Post's spokesman suggests. Many are independent journalists, involuntarily unmoored from their jobs in American newsrooms, keeping their hands in and hoping more work leads to more work.
Huffington is doing what many online aggregators and web publishers are doing these days: Taking advantage of the glut in independent journalists by offering little or no compensation.
Incidentally, our members work in multi-media, online journalism, video, audio, photography, design and more, and have launched innovative news nonprofits that have picked up investigative journalism where print moguls abandoned it. The characterization of the Guild as an "old boys' network" of luddites is off the mark.