Eh, maybe. The two Street Team members we heard from were certainly happy about the money. One called it "a nice gesture on MTV's behalf." Another called an MTV executive a "class act" in the comments section of last week's story on Viacom's apologies. (There are several new comments there from Street Team members.)
But it's a safe bet that MTV is planning to seek more money from the philanthropic foundation that sponsored its 2008 election "Street Team" of citizen journalists, the Knight Foundation. Paying bonuses could help mitigate the fallout from how it handled the last $700,000 grant, unapologetically (until the end) withholding paychecks for weeks or even months.
Plus there's the PR benefit of doing right by screwed-over charity workers.
We'll grant that the $500 was a praiseworthy act of decency. But we also won't begrudge anyone who refers to the payments as "interest" rather than "bonus."