Unpaid Contributors Sue HuffPost

Friday, April 29, 2011


The Huffington Post built itself into a multi-million dollar brand, in part, using unpaid contributors. It’s a quid pro quo: HuffPost gets content for free while activists and celebrities get a platform for their opinions. No harm, no foul. But when AOL ponied up $315 million for the site, onetime HuffPost blogger Jonathan Tasini thought, hey, we deserve some of that. So he filed a class-action lawsuit.

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Comments [5]

Willem Vanden Broek from Ann Arbor, Michigan

At the very beginning of the interview Tasini mentioned the legal theory relied on in his claim for recovery: "unjust enrichment." Bob Garfield continued to ask how he thought he could recover, but never asked him for details on the most direct answer he gave. Maybe this line of questioning was edited out (one never knows), and I grant that the questions that were asked produced some interesting responses.

May. 02 2011 04:43 AM
Michael Villacres from Queens, NY

Mr. Tasini does make a valid point about the value, supposedly, he and other non-paid Huffington Post (HuffPo) contributors have made to the HuffPo over the years. The value was demonstrated by the price that AOL paid for the news site.
A con to his argument is why he, and or other contributors, not sued or complained before with all the money that was coming into HuffPo from all the ads being charged by the net traffic?
This is also partly due to how Mrs. Huffington has successfully made the website different from others, such as merging social media to commenters. Contributors like Mr. Tasini in combination with Mrs. Huffington's website design is what has driven up the hits to the website and why AOL paid $315 Million dollars for the site. It is not just one factor.

May. 01 2011 06:48 PM
Jeanne Bridgforth from Richmond, VA

Fascinating story, well done. The transitioning of our media, how and where we get our news and information in the internet age is being shaped by such arguments. Mr. Tasini has many valid points, including the way in which value is established and who profits from it, and ultimately how the concept of unionism morphs in this new age.

May. 01 2011 05:19 PM
Vexatious Litigant

You know, I have been posting comments on this web site for years. Now I am not saying you owe me much but a check for $20 $30 now and again would be nice.

May. 01 2011 04:10 PM
Ilene Wolff from Royal Oak, Mich.

I find it interesting that Jonathan Tasini resents Arianna Huffington not sharing the money from the sale of HuffPo. I would love to talk to him about the ethics of providing free content to any for-profit media outlet, thereby potentially: 1) diminishing the perceived and real value of all journalists' work by working for nothing; and 2) completing an assignment or providing content for a media "platform" that could otherwise be done for pay and provide income for freelance journalists like me who need to make money to pay bills, etc. If a media outlet can get content for free, why pay for it? If Mr. Tasini wants to talk about ethics in journalism, let's have a full discussion on the topic and explore all facets of working for free.

Apr. 30 2011 10:29 PM

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