March 6, 2011

Citizen Huffington

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:09 pm

The Wrap is reporting that Arianna Huffington dared writers to go ahead with a planned strike because no one would notice. Does she honestly think that if they did the folks who just paid $315 million won’t notice that the backbone of the online publication has been removed?

The Huffington Post writers are on strike! People are starting to notice.

If the deal has been signed and witnessed, obviously Arianna can do the Liberace routine and cry (about the strike) all the way to the bank. If the deal hasn’t been finalized the folks shelling out the money might have cause to wonder if they should sign on the dotted line.

It’s a cliché to say that the Internets is a vast new frontier that is still trying to define itself and so a writers’ strike now will be historic no matter what the outcome.

There is no mention of the strike (that we can find) on the Huffington Post site. This brings to mind the strike at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner in the late Sixties.

The comic strip La Cucaracha, done by Lalo Alcaraz, has been parodying the Huffington Post strike by depicting events at the fictional “Riffington Post.”

At this point some folks may want to post a troll comment that says that if an online columnist reports on the Huffington Post strike, it is just a case of sour grapes because he never got an offer to join their posse.

As a rogue/rebel/loner columnist, who wants to buck the Internets trend and imitate the old newspaper concept of “three do journalism” as done by Walter Winschel and Herb Caen (it’s perfect for the new skim fast media), we could also sign up to go provide photo coverage of local high school games in the Berkeley area for some local news sites. We know we would do a good job because we’ve done that for various small daily newspapers and our efforts pleased the editors, but we were getting paid. Doing it again (for practice?) just doesn’t appeal to us. We’ve been to the Academy Awards and are not very much interested in seeing if we could get a media pass to do it again.

There are some things we would like to do and see and know that we could subsequently bang out an online column that would be of acceptable level quality.

We noticed that there has been some recent student protests in Berkeley last week. If we were there, we would hike up to the campus to see what’s happening, but since we are on location (reporting live from the Cow’s End Café in Venice CA, today) we’ll have to send folks to the local Berkeley news sites such as Berkeley Side and Berkeley Daily Planet.

If Aggregator Websites get the chance to cross post some demonstration arrests news from Berkeley, fine. If they don’t, “Sen loi G. I. (as the natives used to say in Saigon)”

Sure, it might be fun to win the Internets “Prom King” popularity poll and get some wider readership, but there is a certain freedom available to one of the few adherents to the three dot school of columning that appeal to this particular writer. If we get a plug from (for example) Mike Malloy on his radio show, or from Brad Friedman on his Bradblog site, that means we will see a higher number of hits listed for our efforts. It’s just a different number to us. If not, well, (as Ned Kelly once said), “Such is life.”

The folks who contribute (or should that be past tense “contributed”) to Arianna’ big online aggregate site, had to please the master, but it probably required a good amount of close proof reading, polishing, and html-ing. We can be much more loose and informal and jump from topic to topic. We don’t have a “beat” to report. We have the luxury of being able to pick items we think fit in the day’s effort, write it up, copy, post, and depart.

We extend sincere good wishes to the writers on strike and the union supporters in Wisconsin. (Is there a link to a place where we can send pizzas to the striking writers?)

We note that Keith Olbermann posted an item, on Fok News (his new blog) mentioning how much easier it was to deal with management when he had a union to back him up.

We can say we second the motion from personal experience. Do Republicans honestly believe that an individual employee could have fought unfair treatment by management at a large International News Service (that comes early in the alphabetical listings of such organizations) all alone? Do they really think an individual could get a company to say “Yes, that was unfair” and recant and relent with no one else on their side? Well, it a different ball game when the union shop steward says “when he backs down, let him save face” because if he doesn’t back down, they will strike just to protect you from unfairness regarding working on a holiday. (He did back down, they didn’t strike, and the day after my holiday, I waked in and handed in my resignation.)

Perhaps we will do a future column about how wonderful the world looks to self reliant Republicans who have completely lost touch with the reality.

What if all the striking writers from their own Aggregate website and make it a big success? Would some company offer to buy them for $315 million, and if they did would the writers reap the rewards of their labor? We hope they do because it might teach some greedheads to respect the workers.

Additonal links for more information about wrtiers’ strike

Walter Winchell has said: “Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leave practically nothing unsaid.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Ally Oop,” “Take the money and run,” and the Peanuts theme music. We have to go get the information we will need to know for a visit to the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard CA. Have a “do not cross the picket line” type week.

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