Dan Abrams is soon launching Mediaite, his very own "Drudge meets Huffington Post," which he'll certainly use to promote clients of his endlessly shady PR firm. He's now looking for contributors who, like him, have no qualms about selling out.
We want Mediaite to be a platform for great, smart takes on media, and are establishing a community of columnists and contributors to that end. We're looking to to develop a number of great, regular paid columns and intend to have a number of paid contributors on the masthead as we grow. We are still in start-up mode so compensation issues are still being hammered out, but our goal is to develop smart column/feature ideas with our contributors. We believe in strong, smart ideas executed well — and we plan to pitch those ideas to advertisers accordingly.
What does this mean for you? Well, our goal is to develop these ideas, and eventually to pay certain top contributors a revenue share and/or stipend. This will probably be at least a few months down the road, but we want to make our intentions clear from the outset. We think this will be a win-win on both sides: we provide the platform, editorial support and ad sales efforts; you provide the smart and innovative content. We are still in the very early stages, but we are fairly confident that some great, highly clickable features will come from this, and we think this is a terrific way to provide incentive beyond visibility, working with great editors and being part of an awesome new start-up site.
Yeehaw! Sounds great, right? Well, all except the part about the "compensation issues" to be hammered out, you know, whenever. You'll get a "stipend" a few months down the road. Maybe. For now you'll work for free and like it because Mediaite is so awesome y'all! After all, who needs money these days anyway?
Sklar then goes on to lay out the somewhat patronizing and legalese-heavy "columnist contributor guidelines." Here are some of the highlights:
3. Feel free to express any opinion, however unpopular; however, you must be able to support your arguments with linkable facts and/or original, verifiable reporting. We need to give the reader enough information to intelligently disagree with you; you need to be able to demonstrate to your critics why you are totally right and they are idiots.
6. Please send us the post WITH HTML already in place. If you don't know what HTML is - that's the code allowing for hyperlinks and style elements like italicizing etc. We recommend opening up an account at Blogger.com or Tumblr.com to figure it out. (It's no harder than Microsoft Word. The first post will get you up the learning curve in no time.)
7. It goes without saying that the work should be your own. Still, we're saying it because it's easy to accidentally copy and paste. For video submissions, please refresh yourselves on fair-use guidelines if using copyrighted images. Upshot: Be extra-sure to attribute all the words and/or images that are not yours. ("Hat-tips" to where you heard of something are good form, too. Links are the currency of the Internet.)
9. NB: #3 effectively precludes racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic or otherwise unsupportable/repugnant views. Provable arguments mean rational, sane thought. Since you are all sane, rational people we're not that worried, but it must be said.
13. You retain all the rights to your work. In the event that we enter into a revenue-share or some other financial deal, we reserve the right to negotiate the terms on a case-by-case basis.
So yeah, support your argument with, you know, logic and facts and stuff, put your own Goddamn links in there lazy-ass, don't pull a Maureen Dowd, don't piss anybody off (especially the Abrams Research clients we'll have you shill for occasionally), your work belongs to you, unless we decide that it doesn't, and we'll decide how little we're going to pay you when we feel like getting around to it.