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Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

The Huffington Post makes distinction between bloggers and professional journalists



The AOL merger with the Huffington Post already has meant the layoff of 200 U.S. workers. And earlier this week, 30 AOL news sites were either left without editorial staff or folded into the Huffington Post, reported Business Insider and Forbes.

Now the question is what happens to all the freelancers who were writing for the AOL blogs, and, according to TechCrunch, the shocker is that after building itself on the work of bloggers, the new "AOL HuffPost wants freelancers who are professional journalists (not bloggers) to become staffers."

“We can’t replace professional journalism with an ad hoc blogging arrangement….we don’t want to confuse professional journalists with bloggers, " said Peter Goodman, editor for business and technology news for the Huffington Post, as quoted in TechCrunch.

Capital points out that the merged entity wants to "compete editorially with outlets whose businesses have, all along, been built on traditional reporting."

As the Newspaper Guild has called on Huffington Post bloggers to strike until they receive some sort of compensation from the $315 million merger, the Huffington Post responded that it believes in fair compensation for media professionals, but that it distinguishes between "our newsroom staffers and our group bloggers – most of whom are not professional writers...The vast majority of our bloggers are thrilled to contribute. And we’re thrilled to have them. They flock to us — as well as to other unpaid group blogs across the web — to broadcast their views, not unlike writing an op-ed in a local paper. There’s no commitment." Bottom line, "nearly all of our bloggers are happy with the arrangement, and happy to access the platform and the huge audience it brings."

But for Forbes blogger Jeff Bercovici, Huffington's Post claim that working for free means bloggers aren't professional writers is "disingenuous."



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