AOL Media has hired 150 journalists this year, its President Bill Wilson said in an interview with Media Bistro. They have also increased their staff of freelancers by over 3000, from 500 to 3500, he added.
And their memo to new staff asks them to let AOL know if they know someone who can write for them, saying that they still don't have enough writers.
"The economy obviously took a downturn last fall, and we started to see the fallouts of either cutbacks or full categories becoming less and less covered," Mr Wilson said in the interview.
"[But] people still obviously have a desire for the content. So we've seen two benefits: one, consumers looking for places to fill those needs that they no longer have, but, two, a significant influx of talent."
He rejected suggestions that consumers associate AOL with Web 1.0. "I think it's a very exciting time now," he said, "because as we spin out, it actually gives us a chance to redefine what AOL means for consumers."
MediaGlow, his division of AOL, includes over 75 websites targeted to different interests, including AOL News, AOL Music, GameDaily, Engadget and AOL Food.
This follows the news that AOL plans to implement an innovative news creation system which uses search data to predict which stories will be most popular with audiences and advertisers. This is a plan which threatens to take control away from editors and blur the distinction between editorial and advertising.
Although the heavy reliance on freelance labour raises concerns of precarity and casualisation, it's still good to hear of a media organisation hiring so many writers in the current climate.
Source: Media Bistro