How cool would it be if you could start your college application essay with: “I’m a nationally published writer”?
That is possible, and it would definitely wake up whoever is reading your application essay.
The Huffington Post and the Patch (a network of over 800 hyper-local news sites), both owned by AOL, are currently recruiting bloggers (age minimum is 13). Right now, you can easily become a blogger and actually publish articles on the Patch’s website, which is read primarily by local audiences.
The content provider has about 800 full-time writers, and it has asked all of them to recruit at least 10 writers each for a total of 8,000 writers. In other words, they are begging for people to sign up and post articles.
You can sign up at Patch's website. Simply pick the area you want to post in and click the green button “want to blog on the patch.” Then, register and hope they select you as a blogger.
The Patch publishes local reviews about restaurants, shopping centers etc and the occasional opinion piece. However, the Patch and the Huffington Post are getting ready to launch a national blog, HuffPost High School. This blog will be unique because it will be the only site on Patch that is written and edited by high school students, according to Forbes.
“On occasion, we’ve partnered with parents and schools to provide young journalists with the opportunity to have their voices and stories heard,” a Patch spokeswoman told Forbes. “As HPMG (Huffington Post Media Group) will soon be launching HuffPost High School, we’ll be expanding our sharing platform to teens.”
The blog’s editor will be Myles Miller, a 17-year-old student. Miller will be paid; however, none of the other bloggers will be paid. That announcement sparked serious outrage and lawsuits against the publisher.
The Patch and the Huffington Post have already received a lot of criticism for recruiting and not paying community bloggers. Critics believe they have exploited writers, and that the publisher has now gone too far by recruiting minors.
The site will continue to profit on advertising revenue, which has elicited a response from Simon Dumenco at Advertising Age, encouraging advertisers to boycott buying space on the page.
However, this could be a “springboard” for many aspiring young writers. Through Patch, High school students could have the opportunity to publish articles to a national audience. Students could then write a college application essay about how many readers they have attracted, which could impress admissions officers.