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Journalist Unions Call Off Huffington Post Boycott

[ 18 ] October 20, 2011 |

According to Mike Elk’s Twitter feed (@mikeelk), the Newspaper Guild and National Writers Union have called off the boycott of Huffington Post as Arianna Huffington has agreed to a statement of principles on its writers being paid. The NWU seems less than thrilled about it and early word suggests it was the NG who made the decision to end it first, but it is a small victory toward fair pay for internet writing.

I got a lot of flack when I first starting writing at LGM for supporting the boycott; a lot of the major bloggers seemed to think I was challenging the fact that they had risen to the top of the blogosphere on their own merit. That wasn’t true, but I was saying that the early bloggers had great timing, that it is almost impossible for new voices to get a large audience today, and if major blogs were going to make big money off the internet, the writers deserved their share of it, even if that share was small. This is one step on that road.

Now we can all move on to boycotting the Huffington Post because it sucks and gives major ink to ridiculous medical ideas that endanger public health.

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Comments (18)

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  1. Not much mystery to it. The Newspaper Guild was always interested in dinging HuffPo’s business model, while the NWU has some much more unrealistic goals in mind they’re probably never going to get.

  2. pete says:

    Thanks for your support. I can confirm that the NWU told me it was over (I’m a member) in an email with this awesome headline:

    Freelance Writers Create Wealth…Just Ask Arianna Huffington

    The delightful thing is, I kicked the HuffPo habit and have no intention of going back to the front page, though I imagine I’ll get sucked into a link or two.

  3. sleepyirv says:

    This reminds me of Yglesias arguing against this suggesting it was a start a blogger cartel. Thinking now, I made a bet with myself that Yglesias at one time argued against an occupation where young adults work for free in hope to make it in the big time and he certainly did.

    Any ideas why he would argue for one but against the other?

    • You’re comparing user submissions to HuffPo to the NCAA? Really?

      • sleepyirv says:

        Yes. Yes, I did. It seems more of a difference in scale than in principle. If you have an actual argument against it, I’m sure you could make it explain it in a polite manner.

        • Well I guess it’s possible to look at them the same way, in the way it’s possible to look at any two things that share superficial similarities and conclude that they’re the same in some manner, but the matter of scale seems quite important here. I don’t contribute to (or read, for that matter) HuffPo, but my understanding is that the “unpaid writers” in question are people who submit material for publishing, that there aren’t quotas or deadlines, that you won’t lose your right to be published if you don’t show up for work, etc. College football, by contrast, expects you to essentially function as a professional football player while forcing you to accept compensation only in the form of a scholarship.

          And that says nothing about the many practices and rules the NCAA enforces with dubious legal merit. As far as I know, there’s nothing about HuffPo’s practices that are comparable to the restitution rule or the one-year scholarship rule.

          • sleepyirv says:

            So you think the monopolist factor of college football is the problem i.e. if there were other reasonable ways to get into professional football where you were not paid, it wouldn’t be wrong for colleges not to pay their players?

            • No, I think the fact that the college football players are expected to perform a job without being meaningfully compensated for them, and that the system is reinforced with a lot of patently illegal behavior the NCAA gets away with because no one is in a position to challenge them on it.

              But I don’t see anything to suggest that people who submit content to HuffPo fall under the category of “expected to do a job,” so much as they’re just welcome to contribute their writing if they like. And that’s not to say I don’t think it’s great for them if they can extract some compensation for it, I just think even remotely comparing it to the NCAA understates how evil that organization is.

  4. Now we can all move on to boycotting the Huffington Post because it sucks

    Whoops.

    Sorry, I started without you all.

  5. booferama says:

    Now, now, the Huffington Post is a serious journalistic outfit. After all, Kim Kardashian was one of this year’s “game changers.”

  6. Dan Miller says:

    I’m no fan of HuffPo, but the fact that you were attributing the opposition to “challenging the fact that they had risen to the top of the blogosphere on their own merit” says that you didn’t pay much attention to the opposition.

  7. HMS Glowworm did 9/11 says:

    Now we can all move on to boycotting the Huffington Post because it sucks and gives major ink to ridiculous medical ideas that endanger public health.

    You are obviously a shill for “big vaccine” aiming to corrupt our precious bodily fluids.

    But, seriously, everyone should totally have been doing this since 2009.

    • Malaclypse says:

      But, seriously, everyone should totally have been doing this since 2009.

      Never before have I been this far in the vanguard of the bleeding edge of the avant-gard.

  8. c u n d gulag says:

    Never mind just the ridiculous medical ideas.

    How about the equally amazingly obnoxious and rediculous religious ones – like about what happens when you die – your afterlife, afterlives, or your pre-birth, and other shit involving god talk.

    It’s sad, because it did initialy have some good Liberal writers with interesting things to say.
    But then, not happy with the success she already had, and in her greed, Huffington decided to give the above medical and religious bullshit, and also gave Conservative assholes ‘front page’ space.

    Also, to the “People” magazine celelbrity shit.

    I want to thank L,G&M – because of you guys, I kicked the HuffPo habit!

  9. wengler says:

    Huffington Post has such shitty page design too.

    A website that doesn’t know how to edit.

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