The VICE Channels

    The 'World's Largest & Most Popular All-Positive' Online News Outlet Pays Its Staff in High Fives

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    Senior Editor

    Felice News is a Canadian organization that labels itself as "the world's largest and most popular all-positive news outlet," and claims that it is "all run by reporters aged 12 to 25." All of the reporters and staff are so all-positive, it turns out, that they don't even need to get paid

    In a recent jobs listing on LinkedIn—it is looking for staffers to fill at least four new positions—Felice explained in the fine print of each that "this is an unpaid position (as all Felice News positions will be until later this year." Yes, if you'd like to work as Felice's Business Relationship Coordinator, its Social Media Coordinator, its Journalism Curriculum Developer, or its Reporter Supervisor, you will, unfortunately, be paid nothing. Nothing but high fives, that is. 

    High fives are offered to each of the prospective applicants, in lieu of any form of monetary compensation. The following is from the posting for the "Business Coordination" opening (emphasis Felice's): 

    Are you a resourceful, fun and determined people person that’s looking to be part of something that helps save people’s lives and make them happier?

    If you are all of the above AND experienced in a news/journalism environment, I will high five you. If you possess all of these traits and no news/journalism experience, but have an interest in the craft and a demonstrated history of recruiting in varied fields, I’d like to hear from you (and you may still get a high five further in the process!).

    I have heard that things are different in Canada, and perhaps in the Great White North high fives can be exchanged for food and lodging. Here in the United States, however, high fives are not fungible commodities.

    The journalism watchdog Poynter reached out to Max Jones, the teenage founder of Felice, and he says the listing has gotten only positive (natch) reactions.

    “We’ve had a great response about the ads’ tone," Jones said. "Since Felice is all about positivity & inspiration, we really wanted to compile a job posting that exuded our mentality."

    Which really is a great mentality. I tend to feel most positive about the news I read when I know it was produced by unpaid 12 year-olds.

    Felice News is a not-for-profit organization, but it is not asking applicants to volunteer—it is clearly framing each of its openings as a career opportunity. There seem to be a lot of nice things about Felice News; I mean, it's an organization of youngsters writing uplifting stories around the world. But running that organization by soliciting loads of unpaid labor—again, this is labor, not an internship, not volunteer work—sort of seems to undermine its feel-good mission.