When I agreed to take part in the Huffington Post's Divorce Page event, "The Moment I Knew," I was so focused on getting over my fears about publicly writing about my divorce, I neglected to focus on the larger issue of The Huffington Post and what it means for writers.
Several of you pointed out the current boycott of the site, by writers who object to the HuffPo's policy of not paying it's contributors -- made particularly outrageous, to some, by founder Arianna Huffington's cashing out for a cool three hundred million a few months ago. (One unpaid writer has initiated a class-action suit to the tune of $105M.) Others of you have found that blogging for The Huffington Post does actually pay the dividends it promises: it provides a platform and a large audience that gives writers a platform and wide exposure that materially helps their careers.
What do you think? Inquiring minds would really like to know!
Kamy, glad you posted this as it has been bothering me for a while especially as the undercurrent seems to be a notion that professional, trained, experienced artists should just be grateful to have their work shown, read, heard, etc. while a few people make enormous profit from it. It is one thing to voluntarily put your work out there in a venue where there is little or no profit being engendered from it or if it is a help in promoting your work. On the other hand it is quite another matter when someone makes $300 million dollars from your work without adequately compensating you for it. Welcome to the new feudal age!
I've noticed that HuffPo seems a lot Huffpouffier of late and after reading the KOS article I now understand why. I probably won't be going there much anymore not out of boycott but because it's not all that great. Like most of us I don't have a lot of time and I prefer to go somewhere I can rely on for consistently good journalism. That brings me to the NYX decision to charge for on-line content. I had a similar reaction to Catherine's above because not only is it good news for the profession but as a member of the reading public I am more than happy to hand over a reasonable amount of money for work that I can rely on to be consistently good writing professionally edited and published.
And there's a lot to be said for editorial quality. There's a reason people hold NYTimes in higher regard than National Enquirer.
I've only glanced at HuffPo a handful of times, and this brouhaha has me looking up info about who's pro and con on the boycott as well as the whole business model of not just HuffPo but other outlets AND the issue of journalism itself.
Frankly, I'm tired of sex-appeal journalism and thinly veiled political rants disguised as journalism. A writer/journalist will bring a bit of him/herself into their writing no matter how hard they try not to, but surely the more professional ones try to be as unbiased as possible.
Makes me wish for the days of Walter Cronkite, really.
I have been feeling that way for quite some time time. Glad to see someone else is as well.
What are you writing for? Are you writing to build a platform or are you writing because YOU LOVE IT? It's very clear to me. Many writers spend so much time building a platform that the writing gets lost in the shuffle. Instead of focusing on the platform, why not focus on the writing. Write to write. When every single ounce of you is loving what you are doing, believe me, it will pay off and YOU WILL HAVE A PLATFORM!
So I say, YAY if you love it and NAY if you don't!
Arianna Huffington has no contractual obligation to share her profits with volunteers. However, sending some cash, a gift and/or a personal thank you to each long term contributor would demonstrate care for those who, by investing their most valuable resources--skill and time--have substantially increased her chances at success.
The person who initiated the class-action suit has a long, distinguished career in political activism for writers. While I disagree that there's a contractual obligation in this case, I certainly feel that there's a moral obligation. And I respect his passion and dedication to the cause.