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How Ariana can pay her bloggers
July 27, 2009 2:42 PM   Subscribe

How the Huffington Post can pay its bloggers, by a Huffington Post blogger.
posted by Stephen Elliott (35 comments total)

 
I imagine that this proposal would sacrifice profitability in the near term

That will be popular with the publisher.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 2:54 PM on July 27, 2009


I think we should be paid for comments. That'll be 50 cents.
posted by starman at 2:56 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been paying $20 in town.
posted by The World Famous at 2:58 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should have put via Fimoculous
posted by Stephen Elliott at 3:03 PM on July 27, 2009


In short, Arianna Huffington has figured out that content is king.

Well fuck me sideways. Content, you say? If only anyone had ever figured this out before.

if you've ever met Arianna Huffington you've noticed that she exudes a kind of warmth and authenticity that is rare for people at her level in the media world.

You're writing for her for FREE. She makes MONEY. She can afford to be/seem this way.

The voices of the passionate amateurs that The Huffington Post showcases are becoming increasingly homogenous and, in the long-term, a blog dominated by rich people and celebrities will alienate readers that aren't a part of this demographic.

My understanding was that they all had the same political views anyway.

Additionally, and perhaps less capitalistically, The Huffington Post has a responsibility as a new media pioneer to set a payment precedent that values content providers

The Huffington Post has a responsibility to make shitloads of cash.

considering that she is a woman who has been a politician, an author and a radio personality, it would seem that she isn't just in it for the money. She comes across as the type who would welcome the opportunity to shape the future of media in a way that takes into account both profitability and fairness.

Not the money, just the power then? Or is the huge pre-existing wealth a factor here?


Sorry, I just thought that this article was based on a stupid premise.
posted by djgh at 3:05 PM on July 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Step 1. Extract pure high-grade douchebaggery.
Step 2. ???
Step 3. PROFIT!
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:07 PM on July 27, 2009


It's the web. Internet publishers love free writers. I miss the old tree-based media principles. Maybe we freelace writers and ex-paper journalists should all get jobs teaching at journalism schools... er... or maybe not.
posted by zaelic at 3:09 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


A HuffPost blog post that liberally smooches Arianna's posterior! What a rare, precious thing!
posted by blucevalo at 3:09 PM on July 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's a shame HuffPo can't find copy editors who will work for free. Oh well.
posted by boo_radley at 3:10 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


All this is going to be irrelevant when the Huffington Post finally goes to a print-only version and can start selling subscriptions and advertising. They'll make shitloads of cash and be able to acquire a stable of good, steady writers who can work on a 24-hour deadline. Those guys will be worth their weight in gold and will be compensated accordingly.
posted by felix betachat at 3:11 PM on July 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Commenting on MetaFilter is its own reward.
posted by Cranberry at 3:13 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The first and foremost problem is that the author jumped from ad revenue and immediately earmarked 20% of that to go toward paying bloggers. 20% is a huge percentage, and for all we know, the site's been turning 2% profit or less. There certainly isn't 20% of the ad revenue from ANY site just lying around. If it really is available though, that means millions of dollars suddenly getting paid to bloggers instead of into Huffington's pocket. I doubt she'd give it up now if she wasn't doing so before.
posted by explosion at 3:15 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Interesting idea, though I think it sort of runs up against the brick wall of 'keep everything like I'm doing now, or give some of it away because it's the right thing to do.' It could happen, but it doesn't seem likely unless a sizable percentage of Ms. Huffington's content threatens to walk.

Coincidentally, I finally got around to deleting my bookmark for the site today when I saw one of the 'articles' was actually a direct link to Dickipedia. It had been a long time coming, I suppose.
posted by Pragmatica at 3:23 PM on July 27, 2009


Authenticity? Of all compliments, that's the one you heap on Arianna Huffington?

I assume Mefites read this exhaustive New Republic takedown, called The Puffington Host.
posted by grobstein at 3:24 PM on July 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


What a rare, precious thing!

Fun game: how far did you make it into this post before you realized there were better ways to spend the next thirty seconds? Here's where I stopped reading and started retching:

…if you've ever met Arianna Huffington you've noticed that she exudes a kind of warmth and authenticity that is rare for people at her level
posted by RogerB at 3:26 PM on July 27, 2009


HELLO MY NAME IS

Naive

posted by GuyZero at 3:43 PM on July 27, 2009 [11 favorites]


I thought the Huffington Post was supported by a patron model. I mean, her name is in the title of the website. I didn't realize that most of her writers work for free. Reading the Wikipedia page, I also didn't realize the site has been given $20 million in venture capital. Where does that money go? Is Web hosting really that expensive?

Personally, I think that the patron model is the future of journalism. Already, wealthy big-box store magnates are aiming to buy the Boston Globe, a fast-sinking ship, merely to support the news. Unlike corporate journalism, which survives by attracting readers and thus is forced into complacency and false ideas of "balanced reporting", patron-financed journalists can research whatever they want and report on it with true accuracy.
posted by shii at 3:44 PM on July 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not gonna happen.
posted by graventy at 3:50 PM on July 27, 2009


everyone at the huffington post and mefi should pay me to read their posts and comments.

(don't worry, i will still present my comments here as a gift.)
posted by the aloha at 4:19 PM on July 27, 2009


I also didn't realize the site has been given $20 million in venture capital. Where does that money go?

Ms Huffington's hip pocket.

patron-financed journalists can research whatever they want and report on it with true accuracy.

This is satire, right?
posted by rodgerd at 4:45 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


rodgerd, journalists have to get money from somewhere. No matter who that is, they will want to influence the reporting in one way or another. But the Internet makes that influence a lot less meaningful. If Philip Morris hires a journalist to write nice things about tobacco, someone will come along and criticize the story for free. But if the CEO of Philip Morris hires a journalist to write about the state of education in Baltimore, some real investigative work can get done.
posted by shii at 5:14 PM on July 27, 2009


i don't mean to stir up a shitstorm, and maybe it's just elitism on my part, but writing for a blog does NOT equal journalism. really. it doesn't.
posted by msconduct at 5:38 PM on July 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well she does have an office in a cool building in SoHo, right by the Prince Street station.

Cooooool.
posted by kathrineg at 5:46 PM on July 27, 2009


i don't mean to stir up a shitstorm, and maybe it's just elitism on my part, but writing for a blog does NOT equal journalism. really. it doesn't.

This is so. Neither does getting a newspaper byline.
posted by brundlefly at 5:47 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


i don't mean to stir up a shitstorm, and maybe it's just elitism on my part, but writing for a blog does NOT equal journalism. really. it doesn't.

Yes, this. Blogging is not journalism and calling bloggers journalists makes you silly. I mean really.
posted by xmutex at 5:47 PM on July 27, 2009


I propose a similar system for MetaFilter, with the following payment schedule:

Everyone named "zippy" will receive $250/mo for:

1. every comment after theirs in any discussion.
2. every comment before theirs in any discussion.

I will choose to pay this forward to the person who asks the most convoluted relationship question on Ask Metafilter in months that do not contain the letter R.
posted by zippy at 6:02 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doesn't this tell us that the value of writing for the Huffington Post is zero? If there are hundreds, maybe thousands, willing to do it for free, why would the business change that?
posted by maxwelton at 6:03 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Grandiose delusion, episode 101010, that's it.

"Il Giornale" was an italian daily newspaper directed by Indro Montanelli, a very well know journalist over there. Unfortunately, the sales weren't good enough and the newspaper was about to be shut down, when our beloved sweet Berlusconi decided to buy.

Mister B. gave Montanelli full editorial freedom, much to Montanelli delight. Some years later Berlusconi decided to enter politics and announced Montanelli that from that day on, "Il Giornale" would have followed his political line.

Montanelli flatly refused to agree, but of course that wasn't enough to deter Mister B, who decided to speak directly with the journalists, bypassing the director, and suggested something to the effect of "you are either with me or out of here, but benefits for those who stay". Montanelli and about 30 more journalists left the newspaper.

Later in his life, Montanelli explained that he had much admired Berlusconi as an enterpreneur and appreciated the freedom he had enjoyed while directing "Il Giornale", but that the Berlusconi he first met wasn't the one that took back the control of the newspaper.

I think this applies to any publication owner. It goes well for a while, maybe years, but one day everything changes in a minute and you discover that your boss is still your boss and can turn boss-like in a second, no matter how famous and respected a journalist you think you are.
posted by elpapacito at 6:04 PM on July 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Matt Howie personally paid me $-5 to write this comment.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:14 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lefties are always willing to spend other people's money. Why should this lady be any different?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:26 PM on July 27, 2009


I read the Huffpo on my Kindle because they reprint articles from the NYT and getting the NYT on a Kindle costs a kidney.

So...uh... thanks Ariana for reposting the NYT! For the Kindle!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:22 PM on July 27, 2009


…she [Huffington] is also willing to let us write for her for free…

And that, m'drear, is why articles on Huffington Post are every bit as valuable as those on Something Awful. Except that S.A. has amusing shit, while Huffington Post frequently has trite shit or retarded shit.

The masses are morons. A quality media name is going to be one that is selective in who it allows to be a contributor.

Heck, I bet MeFi could improve its FPPs by charging a twenty for them. Not only will people write well for free, some of them will pay to do it!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 PM on July 27, 2009


A quality media name is going to be one that is selective in who it allows to be a contributor.

Dude, this is the internet. Typewriters are free --- so why not have infinite monkeys? One will be Shakespeare, and that one will get all the hits, and it won't matter a jot that the other 999,999,999 aren't worth the invisible bananas you pay them in.

Besides, most readers would rather continual fresh crap that they can yell at for being crap than quality rarely delivered.
posted by Diablevert at 10:31 PM on July 27, 2009


Every month authors of the 200 articles that receive the highest number of page views would receive $250 bonuses.

Creating Gawker-type pressure/incentive to writers will not save journalism, sorry. I'd love to see a list of HuffPo articles with the most page views for last month. I bet you my $250 bonus most are about trivial Hollywood and/or gossip crap.

Since so many wealthy people write for The Huffington Post and those articles are often the ones featured most prominently on the site...

...and articles *about* wealthy people are often the ones with the most page views each month...
posted by mediareport at 6:39 AM on July 28, 2009


Is there any reason to think the revenue number is accurate? The link in the article went to a login page on Advertising Age - I assume that publication has an interest in inflating ad revenue #'s...
posted by mzurer at 11:32 AM on July 28, 2009


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