Now that the Huffington Post has taken over editorial operations at AOL, freelance AOL movie writers will be transitioned to a new compensation model that replaces contractual pay with deep, deep appreciation and possibly compliments.
According to an email sent out to freelance writers for the Moviefone and Cinematical divisions, contractors are being laid off and offered the exciting option of editorial slavery, "because we value all your voices and input." This is how AOL treats people it values, apparently:
Dear Moviefone/Cinematical Writers,
I know there's been a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of freelancers and your status as a writer for the site. I personally apologize for the lack of communication, but I'll tell you what I can.
We will, indeed, be moving away from a freelancer model and toward one relying on full-time staffers. Sometime soon -– this week, I believe -– many of you will be receiving an email informing you that your services as a freelancer will no longer be required. You will be invited to contribute as part of our non-paid blogger system; and though I know that for many of you this will not be an option financially, I strongly encourage you to consider it if you'd like to keep writing for us, because we value all of your voices and input...
Update: HuffPo spokesman Mario Ruiz writes,
The Huffington Post Media Group has provided freelancers with as much clarity as possible about our intention to build a great team of full-time editors, writers, and reporters, and we regret that Patricia's email misrepresents these efforts. In fact, we have been very forthcoming and transparent in our communication with freelancers through multiple calls and emails and have encouraged freelancers to apply for full-time positions. But we never asked freelancers to become unpaid bloggers — that is not how our group blog works. Our bloggers, many of whom are not professional writers, post on the HuffPost platform to expose their views to a wide audience, and to raise their profiles.