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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Entertainment Weekly is hiring writers! as long as those writers don’t want to get paid

This sort of shit makes me physically ill. From Digiday:

Time Inc.’s Entertainment Weekly is the latest publisher to take a platform turn, joining fellow Time Inc. property People and Forbes in following the Huffington Post path of opening up to outside contributors. For EW, that means a contributor network, The Community, to expand its coverage of TV and eventually other areas its staff reporters don’t cover deeply. The idea is familiar: enlist passionate experts to expand coverage — and generate audience at a low cost.

EW will be keeping costs low in the same way that Forbes and HuffPOS do: by not paying those writers. Because why on Earth should a multibillion-dollar global corporation like Time Inc. have to pay its employees? That’s an unnecessary burden on a business.

If you haven’t thrown up yet, this might make you:

“The expansion here hopefully allows us to tap into new audiences who are increasingly having conversations in fragmented locations,” said Liz White, general manager of EW.com and People.com.

Let me translate that for you: Are you running your own little blog or Twitter feed devoted to a TV show you love? Then you are taking traffic away from EW that should rightfully be theirs. You’re probably not making any money from your little blog, so why not come over to EW, give your traffic to them, and continue not making any money? It’s win-win for everyone!

In case there is any doubt that EW wants slave contributors who will come to EW with a built-in audience, there’s this from The Community’s FAQ:

Fans who signed up to write for Entertainment Weekly because they love TV, love EW, and have been blogging about TV and/or actively sharing their opinions on social networks.

And if you’re tempted to sign up with EW for the “prestige” it will give you, as Digiday puts it, consider this, from Sam Adams at Indiewire:

The overriding rationale is that these kind of foot-in-the-door gigs can “lead to something,” but that can’t happen if the jobs they’re meant to lead to keep being replaced.

Every person who takes a “job” like this in the hopes that it will lead to a paying gig absolutely makes it less likely that there will ever be a paying gig for anyone ever again. It is a sucker’s game. And as soon as you get tired of being the sucker working for free, a dozen other young idiots will step up behind you to take your place, certain that it’s gonna work out for them. It won’t.

Just say no to volunteer jobs, kids.

posted in:
Net buzz
  • Jurgan

    They’re not “volunteer jobs,” they’re “unpaid internships!” Get with the times, guys!

  • LaSargenta

    Look, let’s be clear here, what these volunteers or interns are, really, is scabs. Maybe this doesn’t fit the traditional definition — as there is no actual strike — however, a case can be made that this complete change in an entire industry is a kind of a lock-out and anyone who does go in and do the work is, essentially, a scab.

  • Bluejay

    Maybe EW’s editors and directors and managers should just be paid in “prestige” as well. Even lower costs!

  • RogerBW

    Meanwhile televisionwithoutpity is not only stopping posting new content but being taken off the web completely, because it didn’t make enough money for its corporate masters.

    Free writing drives out cheap. Because the sort of consumer that EW wants just likes to read about TV programmes, and doesn’t care about the quality of what he reads.

  • OnceJolly

    You don’t have strong unions or governments that are willing to enact and/or enforce workplace policies that prevent firms form exploiting interns. So of course those terrible “scabs” are responsible for the deteriorating work conditions in the industry…

  • Karl Morton IV

    The Community, huh? No prizes for guessing what you are if you don’t choose to exist within The Community. The people in this country who want to do away with the minimum wage are salivating all over schemes like this.

  • LaSargenta

    Hey! Nice to see you again…hadn’t seen you posting for a while. *waves*

    No, they are simply not exhibiting any kind of solidarity AND they don’t even get paid for it. At least in the old sense of the word, the scabs got their 30 pieces of silver.

    Note that I wrote “a case can be made that this complete change in an entire industry is a kind of a lock-out”. That explicitly puts the blame in the publisher/media-mega-corp’s court.

    Btw, today I came across an interesting article that shows that the legal situation for interns is changing, at least in NYC: http://www.propublica.org/article/interns-are-now-protected-against-sexual-harassment-in-nyc?google_editors_picks=true

    Eventually, there is going to be a big enough body of case law that this “internship” shit is going to change. However, that doesn’t stop the desperate-for-any-kind-of-publicity volunteer from providing their ‘content’ to HuffPo and its ilk.

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