The Huffington Post has defended its policy of not paying for contributors’ blog posts, after the Newspaper Guild in the US accused the site of exploiting freelance journalists.
The guild launched a campaign following the site’s sale to AOL for $315m earlier this month, calling on Huffington to share a portion of the sale proceeds with contributors, because she had built a successful media empire based on unpaid work.
In an email seen by Poynter, the Huffington Post’s head of media relations Mario Ruiz responds: “It’s both wrong and offensive to insist that HuffPost is exploiting journalists.”
Ruiz wrote: “HuffPost has 143 editors, writers, and reporters on our edit team. But we feel there’s a critical distinction between our editors and reporters and the people who contribute to our group blog.
“While we pay our editors and reporters, we don’t pay for the opinion pieces submitted by our thousands of bloggers. The vast majority of our bloggers understand the value of having a platform that reaches a very large audience.
“They can write as often as like they like or as little as they like.”