I’ve been asked to write for HuffPo but have always refused on two grounds: their “science” section is too mushy, unscientific, and sensationalistic, but mainly because their writers don’t get paid. When I brought up that issue, they told me very nicely that their budget did not allow writers any compensation, but I’d be more than compensated by the high readership.
Indeed, writing for HuffPo brings a lot of views. Still, somehow it seems like slave labor to me: you’re working for a profit-making venture, helping bring in the cash, but you don’t get a penny of it. Writing on this website is different: I don’t make a penny, but I’m not enriching anyone else either (except, perhaps, Doctors without Borders, but that’s fine). And so in some ways I feel sorry for those who write for HuffPo: they’re selling themselves too cheaply.
This week Doonesbury has been making fun of the HuffPo “write-for-free” policy:
So true! The suit to which the strip refers is described by Wikipedia:
Since March 2011, the strike and the call to boycott The Huffington Post was joined and endorsed by the Huffington Post Union of Bloggers and Writers (HPUB), the National Writers Union (NWU) and the Newspaper Guild (TNG).
In April 2011, The Huffington Post was targeted with a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed in United States District Court in New York by Jonathan Tasini on behalf of thousands of uncompensated bloggers. The suit was dismissed with prejudice on March 30, 2012 by the court, holding that the bloggers had volunteered their services, their compensation being publication.