Kvetches of the Week: Tweeting off on Arianna

Just lost your job? Are you one of those of 14,000+ who still considers themselves journalists, despite leaving newsrooms this year? Or among the estimated 1.9 million Americans who’ve been “separated” from their jobs in 2008?

New York Magazine

Then Arianna Huffington has a deal for you: Now that you’ve got some extra time on your hands, how ’bout trying those hands at some blogging? Yes, for her glutton sites dripping with celebrity, political and other news that are growing exponentially now that she’s got an extra $25 million to play with. The ones that she’s crafted into a new media empire on the backs of largely unpaid blogging labor for the last three years. The ones that she now wants to infuse with more original reporting. What you used to do until you were rendered surplus to requirements by your news organization.

Oh yes, salivate at that sum, and then read the fine print: Arianna wants you to blog for her for free. About being laid off! You’ll feel so much better! Here’s a little appetizer kvetch to introduce this week’s winners:

“You kind of have to admire the Macy’s Parade balloon-sized pair of cojones on everyone’s favorite Greek redhead. Blogging, in La Huff’s view, is something you do for her website for free so she can get more venture capital dollars. Or should we say, the last venture capital dollars.”

What’s that you say? Maybe a little revenue-sharing deal might provide you the proper incentive? Hey, you’re unemployed! Isn’t that incentive enough! This could lead to something really big! You should be grateful for the invitation! At this rate, the jobless rate looks like it will continue to skyrocket. This is the worst economy since the months after Watergate. Beat the holiday rush, and don’t look a gift horse . . . ach, never mind.

I’m not nominating myself for the Kvetch of the Week, although I’m a bit piqued by Arianna’s chutzpah on this one. Especially after saying some nice things about her earlier this week when the fundraising total was announced (grovel), and liking her energy and passion (grovel, grovel), and sharing her optimism that old and new media can figure out a way to reinvent journalism (grovel, grovel, grovel).

I posted about this earlier today on Twitter, just asking her to please, pretty please, open up her coffers just a little bit for journalists who have plenty of value despite what their newspapers and media companies have decided. She’s got some sharp ideas about how to move on from this mess (grovel, grovel, grovel, grovel).

Yes, the scale of many new journalism enterprises won’t be like the grand old days of the legacy media. But when rich impresarios ask those of us seeking work to volunteer our professional services so they can continue to prosper handsomely, that’s not a business model I want to be a part of. I never got into to journalism to get rich, but I do like getting paid. For the moment, I’m throwing my uncompensated energies into this blog and some modestly-paying freelance work and contributing to the future of journalism from my little humble corner of cyberspace. And getting out my résumé because I know my talent, skills and experience are potentially worth a lot more to others than to her. Lousy economy be damned.

My posts are caught up in the fomenting stream of agitated Twitter users who’ve sounded off on Arianna and her little lecture about blogging this week to Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.” But mine pale in comparison to the kvetchiest offerings from the Twitterati, the Kvetches of the Week. Let ’em eat cake!

“Thank you, Arianna Huffington, for letting me know how to write a blog. I had been utterly confused for years. Phew.”

“Arianna Huffington just made me want to delete my blog.”

“Arianna Huffington is, without a doubt, the first-draft of batshit crazy.”

“Andrew Sullivan is happy Arianna liked his post “Why I Blog.”Kudos, but Andrew is not a blogger. He’s a 1.0 broadcaster.”

I feel embarrassed when Arianna Huffington says ‘blog.’

“I just saw Arianna Huffington on the Daily Show. Is it me, or does she do a really bad impersonation of the Gabor sisters? Daahhling.”

“Arianna Huffington says blog your secret passion, hers are fake Italian cheese made in Wisconsin”

“Jesus fucking christ, I thought I was tired of hearing the word ‘blogging’, then Arianna Huffington started being on TV.”

“for Arianna: why does HuffPo have a policy of not paying its bloggers?”

“Arianna Huffington on Daily Show makes me ashamed to be a blogger.”

To be just a bit fair here, some of those Tweets were in praise of Huffington:

“Okay, Just saw Arianna Huffington on the daily show. That woman is illegally hot.”

“I’m adding Arianna Huffington to my short list of female authors and leaders who inspire me and make me feel proud of my woman-ness.”

Then again, maybe that last one is tongue-in-cheek. Who knows? Read ’em all and post your own if you wish. For free, of course.


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