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Posts Tagged ‘Patricia Chui’

Figuring Out The Huffington Post Pay Model

The Huffington Post just can’t seem to get its act together when it comes to paying, or not paying, freelancers. When Patricia Chui emailed freelancers at Moviefone, fired them, then asked them to contribute for free, HuffPo said it was a mistake, and then fired her very quickly afterward.

The Huffington Post said this wasn’t their policy, that they don’t ask freelancers to contribute for free, but we just received an email from cartoonist Matt Bors, who was definitely asked by HuffPo to do just that. In a post on his blog, he explains that he was emailed last year by HuffPo to write for free, even though the site’s PR head Mario Ruiz had emailed him just recently and told Bors that they don’t ask people to do that:

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Is AOL Scapegoating Moviefone Editor?

Former Cinematical freelancer Eric D. Snider thinks so. It was Snider who made the controversial email from Moviefone editor Patricia Chui public, but now he’s coming to her defense. In said email, Chui informs freelancers that most of them would no longer be working for AOL-owned websites Moviefone and Cinematical, but that they were welcome to continue to write for the site as unpaid bloggers.

Sure, it’s a slap in the face to hear that a source of income is drying up and being asked to work for free, but Snider insists that Chui was just the messenger. Some of his tweets on the subject, from oldest to newest:




FIRED: Moviefone Editor-in-Chief Patricia Chui

The same editor who yesterday informed freelance contributors to AOL properties Moviefone and Cinematical that most of them were out of a job was herself let go today. Moviefone editor Patricia Chui has been taking heat in the media world for inviting the fired writers to continue writing for the websites — as unpaid bloggers. Kara Swisher of All Things Digital has the details:

Sources said Chui was terminated by John Montorio, the HuffPo Media Group’s culture, entertainment and lifestyle editor. Arianna Huffiington is head of all content at AOL, which recently paid $315 million to buy the Huffington Post.

This is the second time in as many months that Chui has come under fire for clumsy management. In March, she defended a Moviefone marketing employee who asked a TechCrunch writer to alter a published story because a film studio had complained.

More Freelancers Fired at AOL

On Monday, we relayed the Business Insider report that claimed AOL had fired its freelance business writers, then- because if someone is down it’s always a good idea to kick them – invited them to work for free.

Peter Goodman at AOL denied this report, but it looks like it was probably spot on, because freelancers at Moviefone/Cinematical got the same treatment. Here’s a snippet of an email sent by AOL to an ex-freelancer, which he tweeted yesterday:

http://content.screencast.com/users/coshea/folders/Jing/media/b2873991-4748-48d4-91cb-9104f1a760c4/2011-04-06_1150.png

That’s right. AOL values its freelancers, just not enough to pay them.

It’s a great time to be a writer!

UPDATE:
We received a copy of a follow-up to the above email, that, according to Mario Ruiz, Senior Vice President of Media Relations of The Huffington Post Media Group, corrected “errors.” The following is from Patricia Chui, Editor-in-Chief of Moviefone:

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UPDATED*: AOL Fires Freelancers, But Offers To Let Them Write For Free

Arianna Huffington‘s influence as editor of AOL content is being felt by Moviefone and Cinematical contributors. On Tuesday, freelance writers for the film websites received an email explaining that most of them were about to get dumped:

We will, indeed, be moving away from a freelancer model and toward one relying on full-time staffers. Sometime soon -– this week, I believe –- many of you will be receiving an email informing you that your services as a freelancer will no longer be required. You will be invited to contribute as part of our non-paid blogger system; and though I know that for many of you this will not be an option financially, I strongly encourage you to consider it if you’d like to keep writing for us, because we value all of your voices and input.

And by value, they mean undervalue.

You can read the email in its entirety here, thanks to former Cinematical contributor Eric D. Snider.

Oh, and those Moviefone employees that saw no problem with changing editorial content to please a film studio? They still have jobs. *Moviefone editor Patricia Chui, author of the controversial email above, was fired today.

Big smooches to @KarinaLongworth for the heads up!

Moviefone Defends Asking TechCrunch Writer to Appease Movie Studio by Altering Story

We might never have noticed Alexia Tsotsis‘ post on AOL’s TechCrunch about marketing strategy for the film The Source Code if a publicist at Summit Pictures hadn’t tried to dictate editorial content. But they did.

Said publicist complained about the “snarky” post to the employee at AOL’s Moviefone, who had connected Tsotsis with Summit. Moviefone then emailed Tsotsis and asked her to “tone down” the story.

Tsotsis, who you may remember from her stints at LA Weekly and SF Weekly, understandably decided against rewriting a story to please a movie studio. Instead, she published the request from Moviefone:

First wanted to thank you for covering Source Code/attending the party, etc. But also wanted to raise a concern that Summit had about the piece that ran. They felt it was a little snarky and wondered if any of the snark can be toned down? I wasn’t able to view the video interviews but I think their issue is just with some of the text. Let me know if you’re able to take another look at it and make any edits. I know of course that TechCrunch has its own voice and editorial standards, so if you have good reasons not to change anything that’s fine, I just need to get back to Summit with some sort of information. Let me know.

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