Pharyngula

Sweet Jebus, but I hate the HuffPo

It’s a woo-infested sewer, a cesspit of inanity and exploitation, and they cheat their writers. There is a strike/boycott in operation. This is what you get when an unprincipled, opportunistic hack like Arianna Huffington runs the show.

Guild tells HuffPost writers: ‘Don’t work for free’

The Newspaper Guild is calling on unpaid writers of the Huffington Post to withhold their work in support of a strike launched by Visual Art Source in response to the company’s practice of using unpaid labor. In addition, 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.

Just as we would ask writers to stand fast and not cross a physical picket line, we ask that they honor this electronic picket line.

The Newspaper Guild, a 26,000-member-strong national union of media workers, is committed to fair compensation for all workers, whether they are freelance bloggers or traditional employees. We are further committed to promoting quality journalism. Working for free does not benefit workers and undermines quality journalism.

In response to the Huffington Post’s refusal to compensate its thousands of writers in the wake of its $315 million merger with AOL, the Newspaper Guild has requested a meeting with company officials to discuss ways the Huffington Post might demonstrate its commitment to quality journalism. Thus far, the request has been ignored.

Visual Art Source, http://visualartsource.com, an art publication, represents more than 50 writers who have said they will no longer write for the Huffington Post for free and who object to a company that depends on unpaid labor for its success.

As Cherie Turner, one of the former writers, explained, “Certainly, we all have written for free for the great exposure the Huffington Post can give us, but what’s the cost? Those of us on strike feel it undermines the value of our profession and is unethical, especially in light of great profits by those at the top. We are only asking for a fair share of what we are helping to create. We are also speaking out against real journalism being run side-by-side with advertorial.”

We feel it is unethical to expect trained and qualified professionals to contribute quality content for nothing. It is unethical to cannibalize the investment of other organizations that bear the cost of compensation and other overhead without payment for the usage of their content. It is extremely unethical to not merely blur but eradicate the distinction between the independent and informed voice of news and opinion and the voice of a shill.

The Newspaper Guild and Visual Art Source urge others to join forces and no longer contribute their labor until the following demands are met:

• A pay schedule must be proposed and steps initiated to implement it for all contributing writers and bloggers; and,

• Paid promotional material must no longer be posted alongside editorial content; a press release or exhibition catalogue essay is fundamentally different from editorial content and must be either segregated and indicated as such, or not published at all.

Four things you can do NOW, if you choose to join this effort:

• Stop providing free content to Huffington Post and let your editor know you are choosing to take this action and what your demands are if he/she would like to keep you writing for HP (see above);

• Please respond and let us know you’re on board and that we are allowed to use your name in any press materials we send out regarding this strike;

• Please pass along the names and e-mail addresses of your colleagues who contribute to the Huffington Post so that we may ask for their support;

• Send a letter to your local media op-ed section letting them know how you feel about this situation.

Thank you for your consideration in joining in these efforts. Our intent is to encourage the Huffington Post to do the right thing. We would all love to continue contributing, but only if the terms are fair and promote good, healthy journalism. This is about supporting the quality and integrity of a vehicle for progressive expression, to actually help Huffington Post succeed, but on the right terms. We call on Arianna Huffington to demonstrate her commitment to the working class she so ardently champions in her writing.

For more information see:

Facebook: “Hey Arianna, Can You Spare a Dime?”

TNG-CWA Freelance Project

TNG-CWA Freelance Project Coordinators:
East Coast: Lauri Lebo, laurilebo@gmail.com

Those are reasonable demands, but realize, O Writers, you are in an abusive relationship, and you are trying to bargain with someone who doesn’t give a damn about the quality of your work. It’s never going to improve with Arianna at the helm. Let all the talent leave, and starve the monstrosity until it dies.

Well, it won’t die. It’ll still feature Andrew Breitbart on the front page, which is another reason to let it wither away.