A decade ago, we had the quaint notion that the blog would open up journalism to anyone with talent. I'd take particular pleasure in finding a writer from the sticks โ€” like Joel Johnson of Kansas City, now I think of it. All too often they'd turn out to be media veterans, but still, the principle was there.

Let this mark the return of that principle, embodied in Joel's new Recruits program, designed to provide a career ladder for newbie writers and a source of talent for the Gawker Media sites.

Recruits are short-term contractors who will be paid $5 per 1,000 uniques their stories bring in. For those we think can reach the level on a regular basis, we'll guarantee $1,500 per month for 300,000 uniques. I'll let Joel explain in detail.