Posts Tagged ‘Arianna Huffington’

Writing for free doesn’t have to mean betrayal

The US blog-led news site The Huffington Post launched its UK edition today.

It launched a Canadian version in May, but the UK edition will be the first one outside North America.

The Huffington Post was set up by Arianna Huffington in 2005 and bought by AOL earlier this year for $315m (£222m).

Since the acquisition took place complaints have been made by disgruntled unpaid bloggers on The Huffington Post who argue that some of the cash from the AOL deal should trickle down as fair compensation to those who have volunteered writing during the site’s enormous growth period.

In April, The Huffington Post was hit with a class action lawsuit by a group of bloggers who claim the massively popular site mistreats those who enrich it with content. Noted freelance journalist Jonathan Tasini is leading the proposed class action filed in New York’s federal court.

Journalist Kat Brown debates the value of writing for free in her blog on Huffington Post UK

*Arianna Huffington remains the president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group.




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Arianna Continues to Spread her Wings

Arianna Huffington apparently isn’t bothered by all the complaints from bloggers and citizen journalists who are angry they haven’t been paid for their years of contributions to The Huffington Post.

In fact, she invited bloggers this week to begin contributing to a similar venture with AOL’s

Called “Local Voices,” the new expansion of AOL’s local online news sites seeks bloggers to “complement Patch’s original reporting” in the United States, Huffington said in her announcement on Wednesday.

Local Voices “includes a vision that will utilize every possible resource to ensure accurate, relevant and comprehensive coverage,” including “our ever-expanding network of Patch editors and reporters . . . and cross-posting and amplifying the work of local bloggers who are already doing great work, providing them an even more powerful platform for expressing their views,” according to Huffington.

That’s all fine and dandy, but will this new concept anger an even larger number of bloggers and citizen journalists who would like to get paid for their work? And will those protests lead to boycotts and make AOL regret pouring millions into the project?

AOL reportedly has spent $40 million on Patch in the first quarter of this year alone. It also spent $315 million for The Huffington Post in February.

Or will this project, as AOL hopes, help it regain its prominence on the Internet?

This is one story that is fascinating to watch.

Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (

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05 2011

Do all Citizen Journalists Deserve a Paycheck?

The debate rages on over whether citizen journalists and bloggers should get paid for their work.

The most recent salvos come amidst AOL’s $315 million purchase of The Huffington Post and a class-action suit filed by a former HuffPost contributor and activist.

Jonathan Tasini believes bloggers who have contributed to the HuffPost for years should receive back pay – to the tune of $105 million, according to the suit he filed April 12 against AOL,, and Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer, the news website’s founders.

“In my view, the Huffington Post’s bloggers have essentially been turned into modern-day slaves on Arianna Huffington’s plantation,” Tasini was reported to have said in a telephone press conference. “This lawsuit is about establishing justice for the bloggers of the Huffington Post and establishing a standard going forward.”

He also said is he urging other bloggers to stop contributing to the HuffPo.

“Anybody blogging for the Huffington Post now is a scab,” he said. “They’re a strike breaker. They’re producing content for somebody who is attacking workers.”

He’s not the only one suggesting that contributors stop writing for free. On March 16, the Newspaper Guild of America joined the Visual Arts Source in urging unpaid writers to stop contributing to the website.

“We are asking that our members and all supporters of fair and equitable compensation for journalists join us in shining a light on the unprofessional and unethical practices of this company,” the Guild said in its press release.

Of course, Huffington sees things differently, reportedly saying the lawsuit is “utterly without merit.”

The UK Telegraph reported that she accused Tasini and other bloggers of changing their tune after AOL purchased the site.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, Tasini understood and appreciated the value of having a post on HuffPost – and was only too happy to use our platform’s ability to get his work seen by a wider audience and raise his profile when he was running for office,” she reportedly said.

“Until years later, when he suddenly decided that he’d changed his mind… and that instead of providing a boost to his career and political aspirations, posting on our site was actually just like being a slave on a plantation.”

As the verbal attacks fly, I have to say I can see both sides. Sure, there are some citizen journalists and bloggers who work very hard at their craft and should be paid. At the same time, there also are those who call themselves citizen journalists, but they are only out there writing to promote a cause or issue.

I have to admit that I’ve contributed both ways. I’ve been paid to contribute to a community publication when it needed help. I’ve also blogged for free about citizen journalism. Why? Because I want to promote the National Association of Citizen Journalists. Like I said, I understand both sides.

Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists ( and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (

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Bloggers take legal action over Huffington Post sale

huffingtonpost most popular blog 300x300 How Many Visitors is HuffingtonPost Driving Monthly?

Arianna Huffington, her website and AOL were on the receiving end of a $105m (?64.5m) lawsuit by a group of angry bloggers unhappy that she sold the Huffington Post for $315m without them being paid a penny.

The class action is led by Jonathan Tasini, a writer and trade unionist, who wrote more than 250 posts for Huffington Post on an unpaid basis until he dropped out shortly after the news and comment site was sold to AOL earlier this year.

Read the full story here:

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04 2011