Mario Ruiz, SVP of media relations at Huffington Post gave us a statement regarding the critiques from the media about Huffington Post’s business model. Specifically, not paying freelancers.
Ruiz tells FishbowlLA:
The vast majority of our bloggers understand the value of having a platform that reaches a very large audience. People blog on HuffPost for free for the same reason they go on cable TV shows every night for free – because they are passionate about their ideas, want them to be heard by the largest possible audience, and understand the value that that kind of visibility can bring (the visibility of being on HuffPost has led to our bloggers being invited on TV to discuss their posts, to paid speeches, to book deals, to a TV show – Greg Gutfeld claims he was offered his Fox show because of his writing on HuffPost). So why isn’t there an uprising calling for the heads of Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Bill O’Reilly, Joy Behar, et al? Our bloggers are free to write for HuffPost – or not write for HuffPost. They can write as often as like they like or as little as they like. So, please, enough with the sweatshop and slave ship metaphors – they are ridiculous and offensive.
We, of course, didn’t make slave comparisons – that was the LA Times.
Anyway, what do you guys think of the comparison to cable news shows? If you go on Bill O’Reilly’s show you’re guaranteed three million plus viewers. That’s if you go once. If you go every week – several times a week – that’s a) way more exposure than a post on Huffpo and b) not going to happen without being a paid contributor. You’d have to be on Huffington Post’s front page “above the fold” for nearly 12 hours to get the same amount of eyeballs. It seems to be a false equivalency. Especially since cable news pays freelancers…at least SOME freelancers. And they absolutely pay contributors.