April 1, 2011 buzz: Empowering unpaid writers; attacks on abortion
Most viewed: Why should writers work for no pay?
In Friday's pages, Michael Walker, author of "Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood," takes on the Huffington Post's no-pay policy by recalling the Comedy Store comedians who went on strike in the 1970s.
The core of Huffington's justification for not paying is that the Huffington Post is a showcase for writers, and that exposure there leads to paying gigs and greater visibility. Huffington merely -- and generously, by her estimation -- provides the stage. Mario Ruiz, the Huffington Post's spokesman, claims that contributors are happy to write for free because they "want to be heard by the largest possible audience and understand the value that that kind of visibility can bring."
This was precisely the argument put forth 32 years ago by Mitzi Shore, the owner of L.A.'s Comedy Store, for not paying the comedians whose performances filled her club night after night. At the time, according to William Knoedelseder's "I'm Dying Up Here," a history of the 1970s comedy scene, the Comedy Store was grossing as much as $20,000 a week but the comedians -- including rising stars David Letterman, Jay Leno and Robin Williams -- were paid nothing.
Most commented and shared: An assault on women's right to choose
There are more than 370 bills are in the works in state capitals seeking to restrict women's constitutional right to an abortion. These are unprecedented attacks, writes the editorial board. Here’s just one example:
[I]magine you're a pregnant woman in South Dakota.
Under a law signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard last week, women who seek an abortion will have to wait 72 hours, undergo two visits to physicians to be checked for unspecified physical and mental risk factors, and be proselytized by an antiabortion counseling center before they can have the procedure. This in a state with just one center that offers abortions, which are performed by an out-of-state doctor who flies in a couple of times a month. In other words, a few days of waiting could add up to a lot more.
-- Alexandra Le Tellier