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nighttimer
02-10-2011, 12:27 AM
You can't be a good little liberal without regular visits to the Huffington Post, the wildly successful left-leaning site which was recently sold to AOL for $315 million. Fans of the HuffPo are wondering what the sale will mean to the site's content.

One thing that will not change is the HuffPo's policy of not paying freelancers.


Whatever the ultimate impact of AOL (http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/computing-information-technology/aol-llc-ORCRP0000017154.topic)'s $315-million acquisition of the Huffington Post on the new-media landscape, it's already clear that the merger will push more journalists more deeply into the tragically expanding low-wage sector of our increasingly brutal economy.

<snip>


The other partner to this dubious arrangement is the Huffington Post, which is a new-media marvel of ingenuity, combining a mastery of editing geared to game the search engines that stimulate Web traffic and overhead that would shame an antebellum plantation. The bulk of the site's content is provided by commentators, who work for nothing other than the opportunity to champion causes or ideas to which they're devoted. Most of the rest of the content is "aggregated" — which is to say stolen — from the newspapers and television networks that pay journalists to gather and edit the news.


The Huffington Post is a brilliantly packaged product with a particular flair for addressing the cultural and entertainment tastes of its overwhelmingly liberal audience. To grasp its business model, though, you need to picture a galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates. Given the fact that its founder, Huffington, reportedly will walk away from this acquisition with a personal profit of as much as $100 million, it makes all the Post's raging against Wall Street plutocrats, crony capitalism and the Bush and Obama administrations' insensitivities to the middle class and the unemployed a bit much.

link (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-rutten-column-huffington-aol-20110209,0,7406565.column)Arianna Huffington, the supposed liberal champion of the oppressed and the friend of the working man will walk away from the sale or her site to AOL with $100 million. And AOL/HuffPo will continue their tradition of not paying contributors a damn dime.

I'd rather write for a right-winger that shows me the respect of paying me for my work than a supposed "liberal" who screws me over instead of oohing and ahhing over the supreme privilege of contributing to a rich woman's website for nothing.


Huffington has built a $300 million media empire off the backs of people who write for free. The excuse that many bloggers and writers give when writing for free is that it gives them exposure. I certainly am aware that “exposure” can be a form of payment, but there are limits. You have to be choosy especially if your eventual goal is to freelance write fulltime.

On a site like HuffPo which is crowded with content, readers rarely click through to links contained in posts or their skimpy author box. When you visit HuffPo it feels like you’re being attacked with information. If you follow my pattern when I visit the site you click from article to article paying little to no attention to who wrote what. Some exposure that is!

If I’m trying to decide between submitting original content or altered reposted content to Huff Po OR some local or small magazine that pays $50, I choose the magazine. Most people know by now that almost anyone can be published on a site like Huffington Post while even small magazines have editorial standards and require some bit of expertise in the area in which you’re writing. Further, that $50 that you get from the magazine can be used to buy ads on blogads or some other site. There’s more exposure to be had advertising on a low traffic but relevant-to-your-niche blog than there is by having a couple posts on a crowded site.

link (http://mediastrut.com/2011/02/dont-write-for-free/)I like the HuffPo in some ways, but their business philosophy SUCKS and as it gains in popularity, it's freelancers who will get hit in the wallet and that doubly SUCKS. Huffington may be a hero to the Left, but she's also a cheapskate who screws over freelancers.

PinkAmy
02-10-2011, 12:32 AM
I was disappointed that she sold to AOL- I hope that it doesn't change.

Huffington has no problem getting writers for her site, why should she pay them if she's getting it for free? I don't think of her as a hero--she used to be a conservative republican. I think she's a good business person. Sure, it would be great if she paid freelancers, but I don't blame her for not.

Torrance
02-10-2011, 12:33 AM
Well isn't this all typical? Get people to believe that a party or a blog is the only thing standing between them and the evil corporations, rich guys, bible thumpers, etc... and then do them dirty just as soon as there is a buck to be made. It seems to me that Huffington has learned very well what it is to be "liberal". She surely can be liberal with the dollars these days. :D

Zoombie
02-10-2011, 12:34 AM
Not paying someone what they're owed goes against the fundamental principles of both the right and the left (who, as far as I see it, disagree more about what people are owed and what people are not owed).

You know what we call those people?

Swindlers! Fiends! Dastardly villains!

Don
02-10-2011, 12:40 AM
Gee, another supposed liberal champion of the oppressed and friend of the working man class proves to be a hypocrite.

Shocking. Who could have seen that coming? The AlGore and Michael Moore must be spinning in their graves.

MacAllister
02-10-2011, 12:40 AM
Yeah - there's a bit (http://extremeliberal.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/the-backlash-begins-for-the-huffington-post/) of backlash (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49186.html) out there (http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/huff-puff-it-down.html), and I'll be interested to see what happens if the lefties/progressives who've built and supported the site with their writing leave in droves, because they don't want to support AOL.

It's a thing that's happened over and over on the web, when someone thinks they actually own an online community (http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/), not just a web address.

Torrance
02-10-2011, 12:57 AM
Yeah - there's a bit (http://extremeliberal.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/the-backlash-begins-for-the-huffington-post/) of backlash (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49186.html) out there (http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/huff-puff-it-down.html), and I'll be interested to see what happens if the lefties/progressives who've built and supported the site with their writing leave in droves, because they don't want to support AOL.

It's a thing that's happened over and over on the web, when someone thinks they actually own an online community (http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/), not just a web address.

Well that's the real insult here, the community turns on Huffpo and it fails, does that hurt Arianna at this point? Nope. Who does it hurt? The poor bastards still trying to make a buck through an outlet which accepts their work.

AOL and Arianna have already come out and basically said, forget all of that "liberal" stuff. I think when you're walking around with a knife in your back, it's fair to contend that you've been stabbed in the back. Removal of Arianna would be a good move, but trashing the outlet... maybe, not.

Don
02-10-2011, 01:02 AM
It's a thing that's happened over and over on the web, when someone thinks they actually own an online community (http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/), not just a web address.
Wow. That's the best worst cautionary tale of a society destroyed by a governing body oblivious to the needs and demands of its citizens, and unanswerable for their actions that I've seen in some time, even down to killing the opposition (in this case, their electronic persona.)

And for it to occur in a forum with the stated intent it had... It makes me want to invoke the name of some non-existent diety.

rugcat
02-10-2011, 01:18 AM
It's a thing that's happened over and over on the web, when someone thinks they actually own an online community (http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/), not just a web address.So, when are you getting rid of the mods? And if you delete all my posts, I'll be sad. I have several( perhaps even in the tens,) that are worth reading.

the bunny hugger
02-10-2011, 01:22 AM
It's a blog. It may be a big fancy profitable blog, but its still a blog. So the fact it comments on news rather than making it, and is mainly done by amateurs is severely non-suprising.

Don
02-10-2011, 01:24 AM
So, when are you getting rid of the mods? And if you delete all my posts, I'll be sad. I have several( perhaps even in the tens,) that are worth reading.
Ha! I've been keeping copies of my best ones since day one... just in case. :D

whacko
02-10-2011, 01:32 AM
It makes me want to invoke the name of some non-existent diety.

It's got to be John Lennon.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can

;)

billythrilly7th
02-10-2011, 01:36 AM
How is AOL still in business?

Shadow Dragon
02-10-2011, 02:01 AM
A smart freelance writer should make sure there's a deal in place for payment before his work is put up on a site. And only trust places that he's either worked for before or have a stellar record among other writers.

leahzero
02-10-2011, 02:09 AM
How is AOL still in business?

That's the real question.

I think it may have something to do with folks like my BF's mother, who, despite having internet through a cable company, still pays AOL $20 a month for something I frankly don't understand (and I'm quite computer literate).

billythrilly7th
02-10-2011, 02:15 AM
That's the real question.

I think it may have something to do with folks like my BF's mother, who, despite having internet through a cable company, still pays AOL $20 a month for something I frankly don't understand (and I'm quite computer literate).

AOL is free.

Mom needs to call them and cancel that 20.

And she can still keep her AOL.

I still have AOL. Rarely use it. But it's free nonetheless.

Shadow Dragon
02-10-2011, 02:27 AM
I think AOL is still in business because they've merged with/own a lot of other companies.

SPMiller
02-10-2011, 03:49 AM
You can't be a good little liberal without regular visits to the Huffington Post, [...]Then I suppose I'm not a good little liberal.

MacAllister
02-10-2011, 04:05 AM
There's a thoughtful piece from James Moore, a longtime HuffPo blogger, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-moore/the-huffpo-paradox_b_819991.html):



There has not been a moment since it launched when I have not wondered about Huffington Post and its impact on journalism. I was one of Arianna's early adopters. My second book had been released and she was creating a community that was likely to attract readers. There was no money involved but, if things went well, there were likely to be people getting exposure to what I thought and wrote. <snip>

I became even more confounded when I read about the sale of Huffington Post to AOL. First, much of the original appeal, for me, of Huffpo was its renegade nature. The blog was about writers, thinkers, and other smart people coming together and going directly to the audience without corporate influence. The goal was to draw readers, I assumed, and then to create revenue through ads and syndication. Money was always one of the essential motivators but does it become the prime mover with AOL corporate ownership? Arianna is issuing assurances to everyone that things are the same and there's just more of it. Still, skepticism abounds.

The second reason I struggle with Huffington Post is because of my friends working in journalism. Their work is their currency, how they pay the bills. And much of Arianna's model is built around the concept of getting people to work for free. Free does not keep the lights on or gas in the tank. I write for free for Huffington Post. I have never been paid, which means, in some regards, I am working for free in front of a big audience and competing with my friends who get paid by newspapers to reach a smaller crowd. If enough people act like me, my friends will not have jobs very long. (And yes, I know there are other economic issues for newspapers but that is not what I am discussing just now.) If I write for free, they are not in a fair fight for survival.

Don
02-10-2011, 04:24 AM
From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

At least she got half of it right.

:D

nighttimer
02-10-2011, 05:36 AM
I was disappointed that she sold to AOL- I hope that it doesn't change.

Huffington has no problem getting writers for her site, why should she pay them if she's getting it for free? I don't think of her as a hero--she used to be a conservative republican. I think she's a good business person. Sure, it would be great if she paid freelancers, but I don't blame her for not.

I do.


Indeed, the Huffington Post’s home-grown content, for the most part, has been especially notable for its low cost to Huffington: low as in free. Although some actual paid journalists work for the organization, her blogger network is an amazing achievement; she’s persuaded untold numbers of people to write for nothing, to have their names on the page as compensation for their labor. Exploitive? Sure, in a way, but let’s also recognize the fact that people want to put their stuff on the site. No one writes for the New York Times op-ed page for the money; it’s for the platform to spread ideas.

And, based on the email (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/02/the-note-huffington-sent-to-her-bloggers-about-the-aol-acquisition/70854/) Huffington sent to her bloggers, that’s the model she plans to continue. Here’s part of that email:
Together, our companies will have a combined base of 117 million unique U.S. visitors a month — and 250 million around the world — so your posts will have an even bigger impact on the national and global conversation. That’s the only real change you’ll notice — more people reading what you wrote.
It’s hard to imagine something that sends a more dismissive message. Which is why I’m hoping that Huffington will recognize how this looks and then do the right thing: namely, cut a bunch of checks to a bunch of the most productive contributors on whose work she’s built a significant part of her new fortune. They’ve earned some of the spoils. I think Huffington is smart enough to know not just the PR value of doing this. And, and feel free to call me naive for saying this, I also think she’s wise enough to know why she should do it on more ethical grounds, too.


link (http://mediactive.com/2011/02/07/huffington-should-pay-the-bloggers-something-now/)

I started out in 1992 writing for alternative and Black newspapers for free. I had no clips and I was a raw, not yet ready, wannabee writer. This is 2011. I'll be damned if I give away my stuff for free to millionaires who reassure me my work will now be available to an even wider audience. Meanwhile, Arianna gets paid even more and her contributors still have to grab some salt and eat their clips. It's called the HUFFINGTON Post, but Arianna wasn't the only person who made the site viable enough to demand over $300 million for it.

Nobody owes me a living. I have to earn it. Well, I've earned the right as a damn good writer who's paid his dues to expect some compensation for my talents. Quality costs and if you place no value on your writing that's exactly what you'll be paid for it. I may be a freelancer, but that doesn't mean I write for free.

Alec Baldwin can afford to give his stuff to the HuffPo for nothing. I need a check. No pay, no play.

I like the HuffPo in some ways, but their business philosophy SUCKS and as it gains in popularity, it's freelancers who will get hit in the wallet and that doubly SUCKS. Huffington may be a hero to the Left, but she's also a cheapskate who screws over freelancers.

Maybe once upon a time she couldn't pay her freelancers. That time is done.

Huffington "wrote" a book called Pigs At the Trough. As greedy as she is, she should have included herself among them.

I'm not interested in working on Miss Arianna's plantation.

William Haskins
02-10-2011, 04:54 PM
i thought her book on picasso was a fun little read.

PinkAmy
02-10-2011, 06:39 PM
Not paying someone what they're owed goes against the fundamental principles of both the right and the left (who, as far as I see it, disagree more about what people are owed and what people are not owed).

You know what we call those people?

Swindlers! Fiends! Dastardly villains!
But if the policy is not paying for freelance, nobody is owed anything. Writers are consciously choosing the work under those conditions. They have a choice.

katiemac
02-10-2011, 07:14 PM
Huffington has built a $300 million media empire off the backs of people who write for free.
I like the HuffPo in some ways, but their business philosophy SUCKS and as it gains in popularity, it's freelancers who will get hit in the wallet and that doubly SUCKS. Huffington may be a hero to the Left, but she's also a cheapskate who screws over freelancers.
It's a blog. It may be a big fancy profitable blog, but its still a blog. So the fact it comments on news rather than making it, and is mainly done by amateurs is severely non-surprising.

I've always thought of it as a glorified community blog. Maybe I'm wrong in that perception. Nor am I going to say it's okay not to pay freelancers, but I do agree there's a choice on the writer's side to work for free.

But Huffington Post is (was?) a start-up company. It became profitable for the first time (http://gawker.com/#%215658561/the-huffington-post-is-finally-profitable) in October 2010. The $300 million didn't only come from "the backs of people who write for free." They have an entire staff in editing, research, sales, marketing, web design and human resources who haven't been working for free, but who have been working to keep the company afloat and make sure there is a platform for the writing to exist in the first place.

Maybe it should rethink the paying writers now its becoming profitable. Or even with the buyout, maybe it still can't afford to. It'll be interesting to see where it stands a year from now.

Torrance
02-10-2011, 07:24 PM
Huffington may be a hero to the Left..."

Why exactly? Is it because she had some sort of an epiphany? She may very well be a plagiarist, so I have no idea why writers of all people would see her as any kind of a hero. What she is, is an opportunist. She is sickeningly insincere and frankly, people that change their spots a la Arianna Huffington, are never truly worthy of trust.


I'm not interested in working on Miss Arianna's plantation.

People who write for the Huffpo and do it for nothing, have an agenda... it's about getting their name out there. They are not forced into servitude. The equivocation is obscene and diminishes slavery.

Torrance
02-10-2011, 07:29 PM
I've always thought of it as a glorified community blog.

That's about right, a glorified echo chamber. Of course that's all going to change now because AOL has a more corporate approach to the whole thing, and Arianna has been bought and paid for. It would be nice if Arianna set aside $50MM and split that between all of the little people that made this all possible. That would be "spreading the wealth" and it would be a sincere attempt to give credit, where credit is due. No media website can survive without content.

Maxinquaye
02-10-2011, 08:37 PM
Money flows to the writer, not from the writer. An easy enough rule to follow for any kind of writing, and I don't see how this is any different from any other site that gets scoffed about here on this site when it comes to fiction.

Is it because it's spreading a favoured policy that it gets a free pass? Well, all it does is to undermine freelancers everywhere by legitimizing minimal pay on other sites, or no pay at all. It becomes the shining beacon for all "internet entrepeneurs" to emulate, and becomes the business model scaffolding to emulate.

It's easy to pull up the ladder after you've reached the top. But what you'll find is that once you start giving away your work for free, others will question you when you ask for payment later, when you have the audience. If you can't transmute yourself into a "media person" rather than a writer, you've just shot yourself in the foot by working for free.

robeiae
02-10-2011, 09:11 PM
Money flows to the writer, not from the writer. An easy enough rule to follow for any kind of writing, and I don't see how this is any different from any other site that gets scoffed about here on this site when it comes to fiction.
Right.

megoblocks
02-10-2011, 09:30 PM
Everyone has a price. Not surprised, but slightly amused.

nighttimer
02-10-2011, 11:40 PM
i thought her book on picasso was a fun little read.

Except for the parts she might have lifted, right?

Her Maria Callas book prompted accusations of plagiarism from a previous biographer of Callas; the case was settled out of court. Lydia Gasman, now an emeritus arthistory professor at the University of Virginia, says that Huffington’s Picasso biography included themes similar to those in her unpublished four-volume Ph.D. thesis. “What she did was steal twenty years of my work,” Gasman told Maureen Orth in 1994. Gasman did not file suit. (Huffington denied both allegations.)

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/10/13/081013fa_fact_collins#ixzz1DaJL6DY1





People who write for the Huffpo and do it for nothing, have an agenda... it's about getting their name out there. They are not forced into servitude. The equivocation is obscene and diminishes slavery.

If slavery means working for nothing while someone else profits from your labor the equivocation is both accurate and appropriate. Slavery and sweatshops still exist in Third World backwaters. Here in America, the bosses are a bit more genteel and don't physically crack a whip. They don't have to. They control the power of the (virtual) printing press and they demand your contributions for no compensation with the elusive promise that you'll get exposure to possibly millions of readers.

Yeah, so?

It's nice when people recognize your name because they have seen your byline, heard you on the radio and seen you on television, but you can't eat a compliment. As Robin Williams said, it's like peeing on yourself with black pants on: you get a warm feeling but nobody really notices.

I recognize the prevalence and the success of the Huffington Post's business model. It's a model built upon playing/preying upon the hopes of writers starving for attention with the vague hope that they will receive a bountiful feast of attention and acclaim once their work is exposed to a wider audience. I think that's a false and fleeting hope. Arianna Huffington isn't the only capitalist here. I am as well, and like her, I like money too.

If she didn't have the wherewithal to make the ends meet with $100 million the ends are meeting like a motherfucker now.

The HuffPo "aggregates" (a nice word for "steals") an estimated 40 percent of its content from other websites. I don't care whether you think freelancers should be paid or should shut up and be happy they're getting published. If someone "aggregated" your intellectual property without compensation you wouldn't feel honored for the exposure. You'd feel like you got ripped off.

Before I'd ever consider writing for Huffington, we'd have to negotiate the terms first. She didn't give her site away to AOL. She sold it for $315 million bucks. If she had written every bloody post on her site she might be able to argue its her content and she should profit from it. But she didn't. She created a web community, opened up the pages for others to contribute, built her idea into a journalistic force and is now creating a paradigm that will only leave more journalists unemployed and writers and bloggers unrewarded.

Huffington wrote about how America is becoming a Third World nation economically. By refusing to pay people for their work she's making her contribution to hastening the country toward that dubious achievement.

Every freelancer is a free agent and free agents get paid. Freelancer doesn't mean you have to write for free if you chose not to.


People write for all kinds of reasons, and there are many good and interesting bloggers, whom no editor will ever pay but are worth reading nevertheless. But let’s not be too democratic about this. Show me a writer who does not worry about money and I will show you a dilettante with a day job. As a rule of thumb, anyone with anything worth saying should always demand some compensation, however small, so that they have the financial means to devote the necessary time and energy to their work. If they’re good enough, they will find an income of sorts eventually. If not, they won’t.

Clearly many talented people, who deserved to be paid, and whom she could afford to pay, wrote for Huffington. Why they let her milk them is a mystery until you realise that nearly all writers are insecure at some time in their careers and worry in their hearts if they're up to the job. She has become a very rich woman by exploiting their insecurity and offering them "visibility" instead of payment. They must know now that they have been taken for fools. The site's rather leftish stance may have convinced them that they were fighting "the man," while all the time they were being ripped off by "the woman". If they have any self-respect left, they should resolve never to contribute to the Huffington Post again.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/nickcohen/6680293/dr-johnson-and-ms-huffington.thtml

Medievalist
02-11-2011, 12:12 AM
I'd like it if they'd actually license Movable Type, the CMS they use to produce the site.

They're running the free-not-for-profit version.

They run ads.

They just picked up a few million in profit.

Torrance
02-11-2011, 12:14 AM
Yeah, so?


The "yeah, so"... is that they have a choice. Writers that place work with Huffpo likely believe that it has the potential to open doors for them and to expose their work to a wider audience. There is no equivalency. They could try to find a paying outlet. They could build up a following and petition Arianna and the powers that be for a paid position... or they can take their writing, and their "fans", elsewhere.

Torrance
02-11-2011, 12:15 AM
I'd like it if they'd actually license Movable Type, the CMS they use to produce the site.

They're running the free-not-for-profit version.

They run ads.

They just picked up a few million in profit.

Wow an excellent point.

JamieFord
02-11-2011, 12:26 AM
Harlan Ellison said it best -- Pay the writer! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE)

Michael Wolfe
02-11-2011, 12:29 AM
The "yeah, so"... is that they have a choice. Writers that place work with Huffpo likely believe that it has the potential to open doors for them and to expose their work to a wider audience. There is no equivalency. They could try to find a paying outlet. They could build up a following and petition Arianna and the powers that be for a paid position... or they can take their writing, and their "fans", elsewhere.

Right, that seems like an obvious difference between Huffpo and slavery. Slaves are victims of coercion, whereas Huffpo writers, if they want to be paid, are simply pursuing the wrong outlet for their work.

I do think it's a shame that Huffpo doesn't pay their writers, but slavery has nothing to do with it.

Cranky
02-11-2011, 12:32 AM
Agreed. It's exploitative, but not forced on anyone.

And thanks for a link to that rant, Jamie. I always like seeing Harlan sputter like that when he gets going. :D

Noah Body
02-11-2011, 12:32 AM
Right, that seems like an obvious difference between Huffpo and slavery. Slaves are victims of coercion, whereas Huffpo writers, if they want to be paid, are simply pursuing the wrong outlet for their work.

I do think it's a shame that Huffpo doesn't pay their writers, but slavery has nothing to do with it.

But it makes for a great soundbite. ;)

robeiae
02-11-2011, 12:53 AM
Are people that call in to radio talk shows "radio personalities"?

nighttimer
02-11-2011, 02:50 AM
I could give less than a damn if nobody agrees with the slavery analogy. Whether it's forced or voluntary slavery, it's still exploitation by any other name and whether its served up by a rock-ribbed, red state Republican, or a latte-lapping, true blue state Democrat it still is a dirty deed done to those willing to work dirt cheap in the mostly in vain hope of greater exposure and glory.

For those who want to give away for nothing what someone else turns into pure profit, have a party. Enjoy the hot dogs while the big shot benefiting off of your unpaid toil cuts into their prime rib.

You too can get paid like Arianna Huffington. Pose as a conservative, convert to a progressive when your ex-hubby loses his Senate race (and comes out the closet) and rip off your writers with vague promises of fame and fortune while you bank millions off those chumps. It's easy and fun!

EmpoweredOKC
02-11-2011, 03:01 AM
You can't be a good little liberal without regular visits to the Huffington Post, the wildly successful left-leaning site which was recently sold to AOL for $315 million. Fans of the HuffPo are wondering what the sale will mean to the site's content.

One thing that will not change is the HuffPo's policy of not paying freelancers.

Arianna Huffington, the supposed liberal champion of the oppressed and the friend of the working man will walk away from the sale or her site to AOL with $100 million. And AOL/HuffPo will continue their tradition of not paying contributors a damn dime.

I'd rather write for a right-winger that shows me the respect of paying me for my work than a supposed "liberal" who screws me over instead of oohing and ahhing over the supreme privilege of contributing to a rich woman's website for nothing.

I like the HuffPo in some ways, but their business philosophy SUCKS and as it gains in popularity, it's freelancers who will get hit in the wallet and that doubly SUCKS. Huffington may be a hero to the Left, but she's also a cheapskate who screws over freelancers.

Name me one single person--conservative, liberal, doesn't matter--who is NOT a hypocrite in some aspect of their lives.

Frankly, I'd LOVE to have a column listed on HuffPo, and wouldn't worry a bit about getting paid for it. Nobody who writes for them is in a sweatshop, so Huffington's not a hypocrite. If she were to declare, "I think every blog writer ought to be paid" and THEN did what you describe, wel,, THAT would be hypocrisy. What you've described, through is not--you're using the word wrong. (Being partisan often does that to people, though)

robeiae
02-11-2011, 03:12 AM
I dunno. Ariana Huffington has made a point of defending the lower and middle classes, of showing her empathy for their plight. It seems to me that profiting from the work of others in the manner that she has might be easily seen as a bit hypocritical. Not much of a stretch, really.

Smiling Ted
02-11-2011, 03:40 AM
I don't particularly think that Arianna Huffington is an icon to anyone.
I don't recall anyone fawning over her the way they fawned over Obama - or Sarah Palin or Ronald Reagan, for that matter.

Speaking as a liberal, as someone who wrote for an AOL website, and as someone who lived in California when Arianna was still married to her formerly right-wing Republican hubby Michael, she's an opportunist, she always has been, and everybody knows it. There were rumors floating around about dirty tricks she pulled to help her husband's campaigns, and there's no question that they were pretty "socially conservative"...that is, before Michael ended his political career and came out of the closet.

As for writing for HuffPo for free...
When the late, lamented Asylum.com went under, I hit the going-out-of-business party and asked my former editor which sites I should target next. He said "Write for TheAwl.com and HuffPo. They won't pay you, but the 'right people' are reading them." My conclusion: I'll write for them...a little. Because the payback is a respected byline, not a leader in The Riverdale Grocery Shopper Digest. But I won't be making a habit of it.

And if conservatives on this thread want to snark about HuffPo paying zip, hey, Arianna's just following your free-market advice and paying as little as she can get away with. You should be applauding her laissez-faire principles.

Smiling Ted
02-11-2011, 03:44 AM
Actually...now that I think about it, robeiae is right.

Just remembering some of AH's appearances on Left, Right and Center, and how astoundingly self-righteous she can get.

To hell with her.

robeiae
02-11-2011, 03:45 AM
Granted, Nighttimer is a pretty rabid conservative...

Manuel Royal
02-11-2011, 03:49 AM
I'm a Lefty myself, but I've never been crazy about the Huffington Post. For one thing, they've become a home to all sorts of harmful pseudoscientific crap -- anti-vaccine people, homeopathic charlatans, etc.

Didn't know about how they treat freelancers. I do know that nothing Arianna Huffington said when she started the Post carried even a hint of the possibility that she might be interested in selling it for a profit down the road (as far as I can recall).

robeiae
02-11-2011, 03:50 AM
Actually...now that I think about it, robeiae is right.

Just remembering some of AH's appearances on Left, Right and Center, and how astoundingly self-righteous she can get.

To hell with her.Well, that's the thing. And I think that's NT's point. It's got nothing to do with ideology, it's all about Arianna specifically.

You know, if the Heritage Foundation gave me my own blog/column, I'd jump at the chance, even if they paid me zip. But then, it's a non-profit and the offer and my acceptance would be about supporting the org, as much as anything else. If the WSJ told me I could right a blog for them, but they wouldn't pay me in any way, I think I'd say no, straight up.

The spin of "the right people will read you" is just salesmanship. Just a way to get something for nothing.

Smiling Ted
02-11-2011, 03:55 AM
The spin of "the right people will read you" is just salesmanship. Just a way to get something for nothing.

Except that this wasn't somebody working for HuffPo trying to snow me. This was a fellow writer/editor, who makes his living at it, and who DOESN'T write for HuffPo, recommending it.

nighttimer
02-11-2011, 03:57 AM
Granted, Nighttimer is a pretty rabid conservative...

Curses! My secret identity has been revealed! :rant:

megoblocks
02-11-2011, 04:05 AM
http://www.headinjurytheater.com/phantom%20scooby%20doo%20unmask%201.jpg

Curses! I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you crazy kids!
FTFY ;)

EmpoweredOKC
02-11-2011, 11:57 PM
I'm a Lefty myself, but I've never been crazy about the Huffington Post. For one thing, they've become a home to all sorts of harmful pseudoscientific crap -- anti-vaccine people, homeopathic charlatans, etc.


You know, I've noticed that too.

nighttimer
02-11-2011, 11:59 PM
I dunno. Ariana Huffington has made a point of defending the lower and middle classes, of showing her empathy for their plight. It seems to me that profiting from the work of others in the manner that she has might be easily seen as a bit hypocritical. Not much of a stretch, really.

As some of the unpaid help are beginning to figure out...


As a freelance writer and filmmaker, money has never been my main motivator, and yet I don't subscribe to mythologies that insist that only real artists starve nor do I begrudge those who aspire to have great wealth.

What seems apparent is that we humans often teach and preach the very things we need to learn the most. And usually, it is the very forces we rebel against and denounce that eventually expose our own vulnerabilities. Ms Huffington is no exception to the rule—no matter how many times she uses the words ‘corporate’ and ‘swine’ in the same sentence.

Although my Huffpost (free) blogging days are over for now, I am grateful for the lessons learned and the reminder that sometimes righteousness is a mere diversionary tactic meant to camouflage our weaknesses--and mostly from ourselves.

In spite of a giant opportunity missed, I do wish Ariana, “all the best"--especially in her endeavors to persuade the public that she is indeed not one of the pigs at the trough she so eloquently writes about in her book.


http://www.redroom.com/blog/mollysecours/goodbye-for-now-ariana-from-a-recent-ex-huffpost-blogger

Yesterday's conservative morphs into tomorrow's liberal, but once the money starts rolling in becomes just as selfish, greedy and piggish as any bourgeois running dog capitalist exploiter.

Noah Body
02-12-2011, 12:36 AM
Some of the unpaid help should have reviewed contracts and worked out compensation ahead of time. Why give up your writing for free? If they knowingly did that, then they ain't the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Torrance
02-12-2011, 12:46 AM
Some of the unpaid help should have reviewed contracts and worked out compensation ahead of time. Why give up your writing for free? If they knowingly did that, then they ain't the sharpest knives in the drawer.

They gave their work for nothing thinking that the exposure would translate into something profitable. When that didn't pan out, it suddenly became exploitation.

Noah Body
02-12-2011, 12:59 AM
Was there any discussion of remuneration on the back end? Did Huffington promise folks she's take care of them if "things worked out"? If not, then those contributors are pretty stupid to be complaining now.

robeiae
02-12-2011, 01:01 AM
Meh. People let themselves get used, sure they made their own bed. But that doesn't mean the person doing the using is free from criticism, does it?

Noah Body
02-12-2011, 01:13 AM
I've never liked Huffington, but rallying to the defense of folks who were not smart enough to arrange things to their benefit -- like being paid for work -- seems kind of a waste of energy in this circumstance.

Torrance
02-12-2011, 01:40 AM
Meh. People let themselves get used, sure they made their own bed. But that doesn't mean the person doing the using is free from criticism, does it?

Hell no, Arianna deserves to be criticized, but I believe in assessing blame as merited.

Torrance
02-12-2011, 01:40 AM
I've never liked Huffington, but rallying to the defense of folks who were not smart enough to arrange things to their benefit -- like being paid for work -- seems kind of a waste of energy in this circumstance.

Agreed.

robeiae
02-12-2011, 02:27 AM
I've never liked Huffington, but rallying to the defense of folks who were not smart enough to arrange things to their benefit -- like being paid for work -- seems kind of a waste of energy in this circumstance.
I can't speak for NT, but I'm speaking strictly of Huffington and her hyprocrisy, here. And again, I think it's a more than fair position to yake.

rugcat
02-12-2011, 04:32 AM
Hell no, Arianna deserves to be criticized, but I believe in assessing blame as merited.The proper assignation of blame is the most important thing we can do, both in in life and esp in relationships.

Torrance
02-12-2011, 04:43 AM
The proper assignation of blame is the most important thing we can do, both in in life and esp in relationships.

Uh yeah... somehow I don't believe Mrs. Torrance would see it that way. I would recommend that you reconsider such a stance given that understanding where blame lies only helps to address a problem... it doesn't solve it.

Cranky
02-12-2011, 04:49 AM
That was sarcasm on rugcat's part, Torrance, unless I'm mistaken.

rugcat
02-12-2011, 04:53 AM
That was sarcasm on rugcat's part, Torrance, unless I'm mistaken.Not sarcasm. Just a gentle joke.

Cranky
02-12-2011, 04:55 AM
*curtsies* I have my cynic hat on today, methinks.

My apologies. :)

nighttimer
02-12-2011, 10:13 AM
I've never liked Huffington, but rallying to the defense of folks who were not smart enough to arrange things to their benefit -- like being paid for work -- seems kind of a waste of energy in this circumstance.

Why? There have always been writers willing to trade compensation for the promise of wider exposure and always publishers happy to provide them that opportunity.

When I was starting out I wrote for nothing because I had no clips. Once I accumulated enough good ones I could start asking for and receive payment for my work. With bloggers, how do you make your site stand out among the millions of blogs out there? A hot link on the HuffPo is probably a good way to spike the traffic numbers on your blog.

The trap is once you've established you'll give it away for nothing, it's really hard to demand payment when you are a blogger. I blog, but I don't look at blogging as something that is going to springboard me into a career for a mainstream media outlet.

Arianna Huffington build her media empire on free content. She never said she was going to pay her contributors. She's railed against corporations for years now. She's written books bemoaning the greed of big business (Pigs at the Trough) and the American middle class under siege (Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream).

Huffington made herself over from the trophy wife of a right-wing Republican bisexual to a born-again progressive icon. She was already rich. Now she's wealthy, but all that friend of the working class shit is out the window.

According to one member of the "Hey Arianna, Can You Spare A Dime" page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/heyarianna) she coughed up $200,000 to send people to the Jon Stewart rally last year, but not one nickel for her bloggers.

It's not absurd to rake Huffington over the coals for her disdain for the people who helped make her rich(er). It would only be absurd not to.

Torrance
02-12-2011, 06:57 PM
It's not absurd to rake Huffington over the coals for her disdain for the people who helped make her rich(er). It would only be absurd not to.

Fair enough... though disdain might be the wrong word. I think she showed a total disregard for the people and the principles that built up her franchise and sold everybody out.

Rufus Coppertop
02-14-2011, 05:22 AM
I had always imagined that the town of Huffington must be one of those picturesque New England towns and that their newspaper had been an early adopter of the internet. Now I know better.

clintl
02-14-2011, 06:18 AM
Huffington made herself over from the trophy wife of a right-wing Republican bisexual to a born-again progressive icon. She was already rich. Now she's wealthy, but all that friend of the working class shit is out the window.


a) Michael Huffington wasn't really particularly right-wing, at least not compared to most of the candidates California Republicans have nominated over the last couple of decades.

b) "Puppet master" would be a better description than "trophy wife" for Arianna during the period. It was pretty clear to observers that she was orchestrating Michael's political ambitions.

Smiling Ted
02-14-2011, 09:55 AM
a) Michael Huffington wasn't really particularly right-wing, at least not compared to most of the candidates California Republicans have nominated over the last couple of decades.

That's not much of a comparison. After decades in the minority, California Republicans are kerr-RAZY!

Smiling Ted
02-19-2011, 06:59 AM
And now, Ariana gets her comeuppance (http://www.colbertnation.com/ColbuffingtonRe-post).
I knew there was a reason I liked Stephen Colbert (http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/374546/february-16-2011/tip-wag---colbuffington-re-post--repo-games---whale-fail).

nighttimer
02-21-2011, 11:18 PM
Chris Hedges Skewers Huffington's Hypocrisy:

The sale of The Huffington Post (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/business/media/07aol.html) to AOL for $315 million, and the tidy profit of reportedly at least several million dollars made by principal owner and founder Arianna Huffington, who was already rich, is emblematic of this new paradigm of American journalism. The Huffington Post, as Stephen Colbert pointed out when he stole the entire content of The Huffington Post and rechristened it The Colbuffington Re-post, produces little itself. The highly successful site, like most Internet sites, is largely pirated from other sources, especially traditional news organizations, or is the product of unpaid writers who are rechristened “citizen journalists.” It is driven by the celebrity gossip that dominates cheap tabloids, with one or two stories that come from The New York Times or one of the wire services to give it a veneer of journalistic integrity. Hollywood celebrities, or at least their publicists, write windy and vapid commentaries. And this, I fear, is what news is going to look like in the future. The daily reporting and monitoring of city halls, courts, neighborhoods and government, along with investigations into corporate fraud and abuse, will be replaced by sensational garbage and Web packages that are made to look like news but contain little real news.

Any business owner who uses largely unpaid labor, with a handful of underpaid, nonunion employees, to build a company that is sold for a few hundred million dollars, no matter how he or she is introduced to you on the television screen, is not a liberal or a progressive. Those who take advantage of workers, whatever their outward ideological veneer, to make profits of that magnitude are charter members of the exploitative class. Dust off your Karl Marx. They are the enemies of working men and women. And they are also, in this case, sucking the lifeblood out of a trade I care deeply about. It was bad enough that Huffington used her site for flagrant self-promotion, although the cult of the self has reached such dizzying proportions in American society that such behavior is almost expected. But there is an even sadder irony that this was carried out in the name of journalism.

If Huffington has a conscience, she will sit down when the AOL check arrives and make sure every cent of it is paid out to those who worked free or at minimal wages for her over the last six years, starting with Mayhill Fowler, the blogger who broke the “clinging to guns and religion” story about Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and spent two years writing and reporting without a salary.

“She strung me along for two years while I repeatedly asked for funding for three projects, and then I quit,” Fowler told me from Oakland, Calif., as I spoke with her by phone. When Fowler, whom the site nominated twice for a Pulitzer, finally resigned last year in disgust, Mario Ruiz, the spokesperson for The Huffington Post, acidly told Yahoo News: “Mayhill Fowler says that she is ‘resigning’ from The Huffington Post. How do you resign from a job you never had?”

That comment says it all. It exposes the callousness of our oligarchic class and their belief that they have a right to use anyone who can contribute to the monuments they spend their lives erecting to themselves.


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/huffingtons_plunder_20110221/
http://www.truthdig.com/banners/www/delivery/lg.php?bannerid=33&campaignid=6&zoneid=8&OACBLOCK=86400&OACCAP=10&loc=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.truthdig.com%2Freport%2Fi tem%2Fhuffingtons_plunder_20110221%2F&cb=77c2ea7c0b

Chris Hedges is right on point. Huffington is as much a friend to writers and bloggers as Gov. Walker is to organized labor. :hooray:

William Haskins
03-10-2011, 07:24 PM
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said Thursday the company is cutting 200 jobs in the U.S. and 700 in India following its $315 million purchase of the Huffington Post.

Armstrong, speaking at the Bloomberg Media Summit in New York City, lamented the cuts but said AOL (AOL) is "much more healthy" than it was a few years ago.

"From a portfolio perspective, you need to continue to invest in things that make you profitable," Armstrong said. He added that he would address his employees about the cuts after leaving the Media Summit.

AOL unloaded 40% of its cash on the Huffington Post purchase last month. As part of the deal, HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington became president and editor-in-chief of all HuffPo and AOL content.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/10/technology/aol_layoffs_armstrong/index.htm

nighttimer
03-16-2011, 10:02 PM
Actions (and acquisitions) have consequences.

Queen Arianna maximizing her opportunities has already had immediate and dire consequences. As part of AOL's acquisition of The Huffington Post, 200 staffers from their sites such as Politics Daily and Daily Finance saw their jobs terminated.


“There was no contact at all from whomever was making decisions,” said one AOL editorial insider who was let go. “Not a single person on our team was interviewed, and they didn’t even ask for resumes. It’s really a big mess.”

The layoffs include PoliticsDaily‘s editor-in-chief Melinda Henneberger, a veteran political journalist who spent 10 years at The New York Times, according to FishbowlDC.

“I have just laid off dozens of the most talented journalists & product folks I know,” Jonathan Dube, AOL’s senior vice president of news, tweeted around noon. “Need talent? Let me know!”

Even for those who remain, the future is uncertain. “Everything I support appears to be disappearing,” said one AOL tech staffer who survived the cuts. “They gutted the place.”

In addition to the 200 stateside job cuts, 700 workers in India are being let go.

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/aol-cuts-900-jobs/all/1Oh well, I'm sure they will be able to get jobs writing for The HuffPo for free. All they have to do is find another way to buy food, pay bills and afford the electricity for their laptops. :Shrug:

MacAllister
04-13-2011, 10:28 PM
Blogger Jonathan Tasini has filed a class action lawsuit (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/12/writers_sue_huffpo/), seeking back pay:


Blogger Jonathan Tasini has filed a class action on behalf of more than 9,000 bloggers, claiming (http://www.huffingtonpostlawsuit.com/uploads/Tasini_et_al._v._Huffington_et_al._Filed_Complaint _April_12_2011.pdf)[pdf link] US$105m for content which the HuffPo used for its financial benefit while not paying the authors.

Tasini said the US$315m purchase of the aggregator by AOL prompted the lawsuit. His complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, names Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer as defendants.

fourlittlebees
04-15-2011, 06:01 AM
Blogger Jonathan Tasini has filed a class action lawsuit (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/12/writers_sue_huffpo/), seeking back pay:

Mac, I'm so happy you posted that, because I was coming here to do just that if it wasn't here. I'm in a very spirited debate on Twitter (as well as on the site that I work for) about the lawsuit. I'm sort of shocked that more writers aren't on the side of Tasini. Mind you, I think he's a famewh*** but I think this was a case of bait-and-switch. There's a huge difference, in my mind, between contributing content for a give-and-take situation in which I'd get increased traffic and notoriety while helping out a fledgling new media site, but I think the classy and ethical thing to do when you sell that site for $$ is to at least make some sort of token remuneration to the people who helped get you there.

Shoot, when Ev sold Blogger to Google, those of us who were using Blogger Pro (including Arianna, I might add) got free sweatshirts out of the deal. I think she could have done something for the writers on whose backs she made her money.

nighttimer
04-15-2011, 09:36 AM
Mac, I'm so happy you posted that, because I was coming here to do just that if it wasn't here. I'm in a very spirited debate on Twitter (as well as on the site that I work for) about the lawsuit. I'm sort of shocked that more writers aren't on the side of Tasini. Mind you, I think he's a famewh*** but I think this was a case of bait-and-switch. There's a huge difference, in my mind, between contributing content for a give-and-take situation in which I'd get increased traffic and notoriety while helping out a fledgling new media site, but I think the classical and ethical thing to do when you sell that site for $$ is to at least make some sort of token remuneration to the people who helped get you there.

I agree, but it appears the prevailing sentiment is, "Well, they knew what they were getting into and now it is a little late to turn around and stick their hands out."

Which seems to say to me more writers identify with the exploiter than the exploited. Maybe because one day they hope to be sitting next to Queen Arianna sipping fine wine and enjoying the view of the little people toiling away beneath them in obscurity?

fourlittlebees
04-15-2011, 09:44 AM
Man, I am completely incoherent when I'm this tired. That should have been "Between blah, blah AND contributing content for the express purpose of having the site owner sell the site for $315M."

night, I wondered that myself. I mean, colleagues who work in the same industry are thinking it's totally fine and I'm a pinko Commie to suggest otherwise. I just don't get it. When people help you succeed isn't the right thing to do share that success? I'm not saying they need millions, but shoot... I'm betting a $50 check to anyone who contributed X number of articles over a set period would have gone a LONG way toward good will. Instead, yes, she looks like a huge hypocrite.

William Haskins
04-15-2011, 04:38 PM
heh...



Jonathan Tasini, the litigious freelancer who's suing the Huffington Post (http://gawker.com/#%215791224/huffpo-writers-sue-for-their-piece-of-the-pie) for not paying its contributors, has a blog that invites readers to contribute. No, he doesn't pay them.

Tasini's blog, Working Life (http://www.workinglife.org/blogs/), was launched in 2004 as a "community of people who want to discuss, share ideas and exchange information and stories about work, the economy and labor (http://www.workinglife.org/wiki/index.php?page=About)," where "vigorous opinions are encouraged." Accordingly, Tasini frequently publishes his readers' comments, which he regards as the heart and soul of Working Life: "This blog was started precisely so that people could have a place to debate and bring news of their own (http://www.workinglife.org/blogs/view_post.php?content_id=3098)." Sound familiar?


Working Life doesn't have any ads that we can see, but Tasini does offer instructions on how to purchase advertising on the site's "About" page (http://www.workinglife.org/wiki/index.php?page=About). So we called him to ask if he ever sold any ads and, if so, how much he paid the "community" that made his site what it is.

"It hasn't had any ads in several years, but there were a couple unions that did buy some advertising," he said. "They wanted to support the work I was doing." So how much of that did he kick back to commenters and readers whose e-mails he ran? "There was never a thought that we would do that," he said. "Oh, I see what you're doing. Are you comparing my little blog to the Huffington Post? That's absurd."
http://gawker.com/#!5792078/guy-suing-huffpo-for-not-paying-bloggers-doesnt-pay-bloggers (http://gawker.com/#%215792078/guy-suing-huffpo-for-not-paying-bloggers-doesnt-pay-bloggers)

Noah Body
04-15-2011, 05:42 PM
I lulz at such outright hypocrisy.

William Haskins
04-15-2011, 05:51 PM
huffington responds to the lawsuit:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/huffington-post-lawsuit_b_848942.html

fourlittlebees
04-15-2011, 07:58 PM
*sigh* Gawker always goes for the stupid angle. HuffPo sold ads against the content the whole time. That's not the point. It's the later SALE of the site and its content for a large sum of money. At THAT point, yes, Tasini would be a hypocrite.

aruna
04-16-2011, 02:43 PM
I haven't read this whole thread and 'scuse me if ths POV has been aired already, but here's a Huffpost blogger's take:
http://www.businessinsider.com/arianna-huffington-lawsuit-unpaid-bloggers-2011-4

fourlittlebees
04-17-2011, 06:05 AM
I haven't read this whole thread and 'scuse me if ths POV has been aired already, but here's a Huffpost blogger's take:
http://www.businessinsider.com/arianna-huffington-lawsuit-unpaid-bloggers-2011-4

This is my biggest frustration with the journos who've come out against the lawsuit: The majority are successful and currently in well-paying jobs. It's easy to say "Well, I did it unpaid" when you did it for a short term between well-paying gigs and you have a ton of experience to back up the little bit you did for HuffPo (which, btw, might look like you were a paid HuffPo writer on a CV if it's sandwiched between really good gigs).

She was also a paid HuffPo blogger at one point, so I'm more than a little curious about why she would stay on unpaid.

nighttimer
04-17-2011, 10:46 AM
This is my biggest frustration with the journos who've come out against the lawsuit: The majority are successful and currently in well-paying jobs. It's easy to say "Well, I did it unpaid" when you did it for a short term between well-paying gigs and you have a ton of experience to back up the little bit you did for HuffPo (which, btw, might look like you were a paid HuffPo writer on a CV if it's sandwiched between really good gigs).

I have real doubts being an unpaid blogger for the HuffPo in any way, shape, or form makes you more attractive to a prospective employer. All it would tell me if I were reading your CV is you were willing to sell your work for the lowest possible price. Nothing.

Money matters. If you don't believe it doesn't next time you see your boss tell him you don't need to be paid anymore. Just the honor of working for him is reward enough.



In the great debate over whether the Huffington Post should/must/will pay its bloggers (http://blogs.forbes.com/jeffbercovici/2011/04/12/aol-huffpo-suit-seeks-105m-this-is-about-justice/), there’s one refrain you keep hearing from the site’s defenders: Huffpo’s blog section is like a big op-ed page. From The New York Times (http://finapps.forbes.com/finapps/jsp/finance/compinfo/CIAtAGlance.jsp?tkr=nyt&tab=searchtabquotesdark) on down, every newspaper publishes op-eds from outside contributors, who write to get their views out rather than for the small pay checks involved.

Hilary Rosen, communications strategist and Huffpo blogger, was one of the defenders to offer this rationale recently. “News flash to the New York Times –every op-ed submission you receive would still want you to print their column even if you didn’t pay the $150 bucks!” she wrote (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-rosen/why-huffposts-blogger-mod_b_820501.html) (grammar sic).

“When John Kerry writes an op-ed for us, he’s not angling to make $50,” wrote Jason Linkins (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/10/huffington-post-bloggers_n_821446.html), a Huffpo reporter. “Ditto for people like Alec Baldwin.”

Well, when you put it that way…why does the Times pay for op-eds? Does it pay all the time, even if the contributor is, say, the president of the United States (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/opinion/16obama.html)?

“We pay varying amounts for Op-Eds,” a Times spokeswoman explains. “Public figures, politicians and the like, get nothing. Other writers get various amounts depending on who they are and what the work is, how long, etc.”

If you’re Kerry, then, Huffpo and the Times pay exactly the same: diddly-squat. If you’re someone who writes for a living, on the other hand, the Times offers the better deal, even if the dollar amount involved is modest. The trade-off is that, while Huffpo bloggers can cross-post their work on other sites and republish it as they please, the Times wants to own what it publishes. It’s a matter of principle, explains Andy Rosenthal, the paper’s editorial page editor.

The basic concept is that we think writers should be paid for their work. We insist on exclusivity for Op-Ed whether we are paying or not, or how much we are paying. The Times Op-Ed doesn’t need to reprint things. We can get lots of great stuff that is exclusive.
Of course, the Times publishes just a couple op-eds a day. Huffpo publishes hundreds of blog posts, so if it were to pay even a token amount for each one, the sums would add up pretty quickly. Then again, Huffpo claims most of its bloggers aren’t professional writers (http://blogs.forbes.com/jeffbercovici/2011/03/18/huffpo-claims-its-bloggers-arent-writers-is-that-true/), so it could choose to pay only the ones who are — if it wanted to be more like the Times, that is.

link (http://blogs.forbes.com/jeffbercovici/2011/04/14/why-the-times-pays-writers-even-when-it-doesnt-have-to/)

I'm a contributor to The Root.com and when I write something for them they like they get the exclusive rights to publish it. That was a deal I made with them when I first signed the contract they sent me and it's a deal I would happily do again six days a week and twice on Sunday. Why not? They get a good story and I get a good check. Fair trade and a fucksight better deal than what those poor bastards toiling on Queen Arianna's blog get.

That is my prime reason I'm down on the HuffPo. If this business model catches on the people who get screwed are freelance writers hoping to one day get paid for their work.

Freelance doesn't mean "free." Unless your name is Arianna Huffington.



She was also a paid HuffPo blogger at one point, so I'm more than a little curious about why she would stay on unpaid.

Maybe the illusion of being part of Queen Arianna's inner circle is a comforting one for those into masochism. Since I'm not, I wouldn't be happy being one of her servants. You should read her Facebook page. The ass-kissing is sickening.

I've referred to Mayhill Fowler before, but here's a former HuffPo contributor who chose to boogie rather than remain an unpaid drudge. Remember the flap over Obama's "clinging to guns and religion" during the 2008 campaign? Fowler is the one who broke the story.

She makes far more sense to me than the smart-asses already drawing a check while they sneer at other writers who feel they deserve some compensation for contributing to Queen Arianna's success.



I want to be paid for my time and effort—or at a minimum, to get a little remuneration in return for the money I spend myself in order to do original reportage. I would not expect to be paid for punditry. The Huffington Post business model is to provide a platform for 6,000 opinionators to hold forth. Point of view is cheap. I would never expect to be paid there when the other 5,999 are not. However, the journalism pieces I have done in the past year seem to me as good as anything HuffPost’s paid reporters Sam Stein and Ryan Grim produce. Why do they get money, and I do not? I don’t recall either of them writing the story about Barack Obama waxing large on “clinging to guns and religion,” which seems more and more as time goes by to be the one big story out of the last presidential election to live on.

The dignity pay confers upon work. I think this about sums it up. So let this be a warning to you, citizen journalism enthusiasts. In the end, what you are doing really is enhancing somebody else’s bottom line. And think for a minute what it means when you throw yourself into working for a place, as I did, without first walking into the company’s human resources office to sign some paperwork that legally binds you and your employee to a relationship.

mayhill fowler (http://www.mayhillfowler.com/politics/why-i-left-the-huffington-post/)

Ink-Stained Wretch
04-17-2011, 11:18 AM
I sympathize with those bringing the lawsuit but think it has no merit, because they agreed to write for free all along, and can't turn around now and demand retroactive compensation. And while I will not write for free (except for my own blog, of course, and a couple instances where I do pro bono writing for certain causes I believe in), if I were the type to write for free, then frankly, I'd rather do it for AOL than HuffPo. Anyone who makes money off the unpaid labor of others is greedy scum, but someone who makes money off the unpaid labor of others whilst simultaneously saying "Yes, dahlink, I care verra verra much about the poor," -- whether or not they say it with a cute Zsa Zsa accent -- is greedy scum and a hypocrite to boot. AOL is actually the lesser of two evils, here.

fourlittlebees
04-17-2011, 03:22 PM
That is my prime reason I'm down on the HuffPo. If this business model catches on the people who get screwed are freelance writers hoping to one day get paid for their work.

Freelance doesn't mean "free." Unless your name is Arianna Huffington.

Oh, it's already caught on. Free or close-to-free is the prevailing business model. In arguing with one of the writers at work, he quoted Arianna as saying she plans on hiring 800 writers. One can only assume those are for Patch, and we'll see the same business model as sites like Examiner. Just look at the boards around here, and the number of people who are writing for Examiner. I can try to explain to potential freelancers that if you are living on click rates, you aren't getting paid your worth until I'm blue in the face, but it does no good. The sharp drop in what most gigs were willing to pay was the main reason I quit freelancing and got a steady job. Most blame the economy, but the real reason is that most places aren't willing to pay what content is worth when you see thousands of others willing to write content for pennies or "to get your name out there."

Noah Body
04-18-2011, 07:39 PM
I'm a contributor to The Root.com and when I write something for them they like they get the exclusive rights to publish it. That was a deal I made with them when I first signed the contract they sent me and it's a deal I would happily do again six days a week and twice on Sunday. Why not? They get a good story and I get a good check. Fair trade and a fucksight better deal than what those poor bastards toiling on Queen Arianna's blog get.


Geez man, make up your mind... are you defending these poor hapless souls for being caught up in the meat grinder against their will, or are you lamenting the fact they didn't have the business acumen to make the necessary arrangements to get paid for their output?

nighttimer
04-18-2011, 11:28 PM
Geez man, make up your mind... are you defending these poor hapless souls for being caught up in the meat grinder against their will, or are you lamenting the fact they didn't have the business acumen to make the necessary arrangements to get paid for their output?

You're straining your brain and completely misinterpreting my point. I'm both defending and lamenting. Maybe you need to go back and reread the thread?

I don't think the writers who contributed to the HuffPo as hapless souls at all. I'm sure the vast majority of them are happy, well-adjusted souls. But I also think they were gamed by a slick Greek bearing gifts of "oh, you're going to be faaaaaaamous, darling."

Go back and read what Mayhill Foster said, "I would not expect to be paid for punditry. The Huffington Post business model is to provide a platform for 6,000 opinionators to hold forth. Point of view is cheap. I would never expect to be paid there when the other 5,999 are not."

Now I am a pundit. I write commentaries and op-eds as well as features and hard news. I know the value of my work and I have no reluctance in expecting to receive some compensation for it. Which is why I'll never see a byline on The HuffPo.

For many of those who do contribute there it's enough for them to be able to say they write for Arianna Huffington. Goody for them. What they are also saying to me is they lack confidence in themselves as writers or they don't know once they gain confidence their writing has value to it and you can get paid for doing it.