Accuracy in Media

A 2-3 month intrenship with the Huffington Post has attracted a bid of $13,000 at a charity auction.

From Ad Age

How bad is the job market for media types? A charity auction for a two- or three-month internship at the Huffington Post has collected bids as high as $13,000.

“Jumpstart your career in the blogsphere,” the listing suggests, “with an eye-opening internship at The Huffington Post in New York or Washington.”

The auction’s beneficiary, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, seems exceptionally worthy. But are unemployed media wannabes really this worthless?

If the top bidder lives in Connecticut, the winner even has to pay sales tax on the internship.

If anyone was going to auction off an internship, though, it would be Arianna Huffington’s Huffington Post, which features tons of content generated free by bloggers and celebrities just happy to have a platform. HuffPo did recently start a fund to employ some laid-off investigative reporters, but the company thrives primarily on “citizen” journalism and news that other outlets spend money reporting.

Our own very prescient Media Guy, Simon Dumenco, wondered months ago whether HuffPo could do better than free labor. “Rather than not pay its bloggers,” he wrote, “it could charge them — for the privilege of getting to help maintain the jetsetting lifestyle of the Great Arianna, of course.”

Ms. Huffington will accept a lifetime-achievement award next month at the Mirror Awards. Too bad the presenter, the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, charges students so much money to train them as journalists. That’s money the students could have used to buy their first internship.

A Huffington Post spokesman said Ethel Kennedy asked Ms. Huffington to contribute an internship to the auction. “It was for a good cause,” he said. And it’s just one intern slot out of roughly 25 HuffPo will host this summer, he said.

The auction runs through May 28. Minimum next bid is $15,500.

Maybe HuffPo has hit on something here.  As newspapers continue to bleed red ink maybe they can auction off some of the choice jobs rather than pay journalists to write for them. Could the auction winners be any more biased than those that would presumably replace?


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