Early last year, after the Huffington Post was sold to America Online, the Newspaper Guild of America asserted that Huffington Post bloggers should strike and demand compensation for their blogging. After thinking through the situation, which entailed a very complicated set of issues that I felt had resulted from historic changes in the way journalism had evolved in response to the internet, I blogged my response. Titled "Why I won't be joining the Huffington Post Strike." it was posted on a website called IlluminateMe.org.
The veteran art writer and critic Peter Plagens, who had also contributed blogs to IlluminateMe, responded immediately and negatively to my blog, and made a series of comments on the site's discussion board. In his comments he characterized unpaid Huffington Post bloggers as "volunteer slaves" and suggested that bloggers who did not observe the Newspaper Guild's proposed strike were "de-facto scabs." He also scolded, responding to the reasoning presented in my blog; "Mr. Seed's capacity for exculpatory rationalizing is truly stunning."
I had to wonder if the revered critic was suffering from a case of "gatekeeper syndrome." Hmmm...
Fast-forward to now...
Earlier this month, I saw a "Tweet" from the Getty Museum, offering to present questions to Peter Plagens, who was scheduled to present a talk there. I tweeted him the following question:
"On a discussion board last year you called HuffingtonPost bloggers "volunteer slaves." Do you still feel that way?"
Here, in a video response provided by the Getty, is his what he had to say:
In general, I appreciate Mr. Plagen's straightforward response. One thing worth noting is that Plagens is no longer lashing out at Huffington Post bloggers; his tone has softened and the one-time "de-facto scabs" are now people who "...do what they can to get their stuff out there." That said, Plagens and I still have substantially different views on whether or not the Huffington Post "owes" its bloggers. Click on the video below to learn how I see things at this point in time. I hope you will take a moment to comment when you are done watching both videos.