Today's Top Stories

Huffpo and Patch Recruiting Bloggers as Young as 13

The Huffington Post’s best response to those critics who accuse it of exploiting writers by not paying them has always been the libertarian one: Within the boundaries of the law, consenting adults are free to enter into whatever sorts of arrangements they choose, even one that involves donating their labor to a for-profit corporation. But what about when those writers aren’t adults? That hypothetical is fast becoming reality.

Closing the Decertification Window: NLRB Decision Applauded by Labor

The National Labor Relations Board is changing labor law in

A 2007 NLRB decision allowed anti-union workers to immediately file a decertification petition to get rid of the new union that had been voluntarily recognized by an employer who had received proof that a majority of employees wanted the union. But now that window for immediate decertification has been closed, by one of three union-friendly NLRB decisions on August 26 that overturned Bush-era policies.

Want a reporting job? Then get tweeting...

If you want a job with one of Northcliffe Media's papers in the south east you'll need to get tweeting. Alan Geere, one of the publisher's executives, posted an advert for reporters this morning in which he stated that applicants must reply via Twitter. ""I'm fed up wading through turgid 'letters of application' and monstrous CVs outlining an early career in retail handling and a flirtation with the upper slopes of the Andes," he explained.

Labor’s Different Direction

After years of working closely with the Democratic Party, the nation’s largest labor federation wants its space. The AFL-CIO is becoming a more independent operator, aggressively building a permanent campaign infrastructure that will give less money to the party and more to its favored candidates. In many ways, it’s less of a divorce than an open marriage. The union wants more say in which candidates get its money and more control over its message.

Middle class suffers as unions wane

Unions have plenty of flaws; all institutions do. But they serve an important role in balancing the power of business. Power without balance becomes abusive. We have seen that with business, labor, government and even churches. It is no coincidence that the decline of middle-class income and security over the past three decades has followed the declining influence of organized labor.

In Case You Wondered, a Real Human Wrote This Column

“Wisconsin appears to be in the driver’s seat en route to a win, as it leads 51-10 after the third quarter. Wisconsin added to its lead when Russell Wilson found Jacob Pedersen for an eight-yard touchdown to make the score 44-3 ... . ” Those words began a news brief written within 60 seconds of the end of the third quarter of a football game. They may not seem like much -- but they were written by a computer. That may not seem like much, either -- except that the computers are getting smarter.

Ad Spending Grows Again in the Second Quarter -- but Growth Slows Again, Too

The growth in U.S. ad spending continued to slow in the second quarter of 2011, increasing 2.8% from the second quarter of 2010, according to a new report from Kantar Media. U.S. ad spending had increased 4.4% in the first quarter, the smallest rate of growth since ad outlays began rising again. Spending growth for the top 100 advertisers stalled in the second quarter, leaving the ad market more dependent on smaller spenders for increases.

News Trends Tilt Toward Niche Sites

As news surges on the web, giant ocean liners like AOL and Yahoo are being outmaneuvered by the speedboats zipping around them, relatively small sites that have passionate audiences and sharply focused information. Like newspapers, portals like AOL and Yahoo are confronting the cold fact that there is less general interest in general interest news. Readers have peeled off into verticals of information -- TMZ for gossip, Politico for politics, Deadspin for sports, and so on.