Say No To The Huff Po

Posted on April 3, 2011 by

I’ve made some money as a writer:

Many years ago as a reporter for a progressive weekly newspaper in Vermont. 

Then in Los Angeles as a freelance journalist, PR guy and – since the mid 1980s – a union propaganda specialist. 

I earn nothing as a blogger and don’t expect to. 

I’ve never submitted anything to the Huffington Post because no one asked. 

And since I have little at stake,  I have no problem joining the recently-announced HuffPo strike (please don’t over-interpret this).

Push-back against Arianna was inevitable when she pocketed $315 million in the AOL deal.  Already wealthy, her main interest is in being a player and the money adds to her access and influence.  There are lots of mega-buck leftists in America. 

Through I shrugged off the “Arianna as oligarch” theme, I’m very sympathetic to writers – especially young ones – who put in a lot of time researching, investigating, interviewing and reporting without pay.

I don’t know how much real effort the Newspaper Guild is going to devote to this campaign.  But it would be great if some inroads are made to compensate conscientious writers – whatever their slant – who deserve more than a byline for their hard work.

One question:

Is reading the the Huffington Post during the strike equivalent to crossing a picket line?

Comments (7)

 

  1. Jeff Polman says:

    Great. And I just submitted another article to them. Give me a few days and I’ll join the strike!

  2. I’m always leery of providing free content to sites in which someone other than me is being paid, even under the guise of “joining the community.” Besides, I have enough to do at my own blog, and at my paid progressive gig.

  3. Greg says:

    my answer is not as harsh as the first one but YES!

  4. Fact check: Arianna reportedly “pocketed” $14 million.
    Unlike Lou, I never had an article published until Arianna Huffington published one of my blogs, and then all of the other blogs woke up to me. I’m not a celebrity. I don’t even play one on TV, but The Huffington Post continued to publish my work, and still does, when others like “Slate,” “Truthout,” held their nose, and most of asked me to pitch them.
    None of the “blogs” pay their writers. Why not go after OpEd News who never paid its writers, and who doesn’t have 7,000 regular bloggers on their register?
    HuffPost never promised to pay their writers, so there was never a contract, not even an implied contract.
    Anyone who “blogs” for an web site that doesn’t pay can’t suddenly wake up and say, oh give me the money now that you’re rich. It doesn’t work that way.
    Now that HuffPost and AOL have joined forces, I think it’s reasonable and fair for regular contributors to get paid, but striking when one was never ‘hired” to be a paid worker in the first place is ludicrous, and diminishes the needs and rightful expectations of all who have a paying contract.

  5. P.S. The age of the writer is not an issue. The quality of the work is. The question is, do “bloggers” consider themselves “writers,” and do they consider what they
    hammer out in a matter of minutes, or hours to be on a par with articles in the NYT by folks like Nicholas Kristof or Frank Rich?

    I do, but I knew going in that I had to cut my teeth on blogs, and get some practice before anyone would take me seriously as a “journalista.”

    As a Huffington Post blogger for close to six years, I can say only that Arianna has taken chances on writers, and has published people like me who she probably never made a dime on because she recognized, and continues to recognize the quality of the writing.

    That said, fair is fair and now that HuffPost is merging with a money-making machine, AOL, a contract must be hammered out, and writers, esp. those who regularly appear on HuffPost, deserve compensation. Writing about it is far more effective than “striking” which, given that there was never any promise of compensation is absurd.

    If one strikes against HuffPost for not paying writers, then one must strike against OpEd News, and the many other “alternative” Web sites that have been making tons of advertising money, some even bragging about it, off the labor of unpaid staff— (writers and editors in many cases, not HuffPost but others)

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