HuffPo Contributors Seek Payday

February 10, 2011  |  

(Businessweek) — At 7:48 a.m. on Feb. 7, the morning after AOL (AOL) executives had completed a deal to purchase the Huffington Post for $315 million, the thousands of actors, authors, activists, academics, and comedians who collectively make up the blogging corps of the Huffington Post received an e-mail from the site’s founder.  “Thank you,” Arianna Huffington wrote, “for being such a vital part of the HuffPost family—which has suddenly gotten a whole lot bigger.”  Huffington assured the bloggers that although her role is shifting—she will oversee all content at the new, merged venture—their roles aren’t. “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,” she wrote. “That’s the only real change you’ll notice—more people reading what you wrote.” Conspicuously unmentioned: the subject of pay.  Since its launch in 2005, the Huffington Post has relied on unpaid contributors to stock the news-and-aggregation site with myriad opinions on everything from health care to Palin hair. It’s an arrangement unlikely to change soon. “We’re in the business of paying people for original reporting,” says Roy Sekoff, the site’s founding editor. “If people want to express their opinions, they do so on the site for free.”

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