×

HuffPost Shuts Down Unpaid Contributor Blogger Program

The Huffington Post announced that it will immediately cease its unpaid contributors program — which led to its rise as a media brand — to improve the editorial quality of the news site and cut down on unvetted reporting.

HuffPost’s blogger network has ballooned to some 100,000 contributors. The decision to end the program by the Verizon-owned site comes under editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen, who joined in December 2016 after more than a decade at the New York Times.

“Open platforms that once seemed radically democratizing now threaten, with the tsunami of false information we all face daily, to undermine democracy,” Polgreen wrote in a blog post Thursday. “When everyone has a megaphone, no one can be heard.”

Also Thursday, HuffPost launched a new opinion section, with regular columnists and commissioned contributors, and HuffPost Personal, which will feature first-person essays by guest writers, as well as features, Q&As and interviews written by staff reporters covering celebs, newsmakers and regular people.

AOL acquired HuffPost in 2011 for $315 million, and then Verizon bought AOL in a $4.4 billion deal in 2015. HuffPost is now part of Verizon’s Oath division, which has combined AOL and Yahoo businesses under one roof.

In 2016, Arianna Huffington left her namesake online publication to focus on her new company, health and well-being startup Thrive Global.

Early on, critics of the site — which launched in 2005 — had complained about HuffPost’s network of unpaid contributors and its practice of “aggregating” other news organizations’ reporting. But in recent years Huffington Post also assembled large staff of journalists doing original reporting. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for a series on wounded veterans and their families.

Polgreen, in her blog post, said numerous notable personalities have blogged on HuffPost, including then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and Jennifer Aniston writing about body-shamers.

Ultimately, HuffPost’s sprawling contributor network simply became more trouble than it was worth. For example, an unknown party paid a Pakistani national to publish a piece on HuffPost last month defending Donald Trump business associate Felix Sater, whose tax-fraud charges were dismissed. The post has since been deleted.

More Digital

  • Hulu With Live TV Full Channel

    Hulu Hikes Price of Live-TV Bundle to $45 Monthly, Drops VOD Plan With Ads to $6

    Hulu wants to drive more customers to its ad-supported streaming package — lowering the official price from $7.99 to $5.99 per month — while it’s trying to turn a profit on the live-TV bundle with a price hike. Starting next month, Hulu With Live TV will increase by $5 per month, rising from $39.99 to [...]

  • patreon logo

    Patreon Now Has Over 3 Million Patrons, Expects to Pay $500M to Creators in 2019

    Membership services platform Patreon now has more than 3 million patrons who pay to support any of its over 100,000 creators every month, the company announced Wednesday. It’s also on track to pay more than $0.5 billion to creators this year. Patreon’s business is growing at a healthy rate. Payouts have been nearly doubling year-over-year [...]

  • YouTube TV

    YouTube TV Expanding to Cover Entire U.S., No International Launch Plans Right Now

    Soon, virtually anyone in the U.S. will be able to subscribe to YouTube TV, Google’s $40 monthly over-the-top internet television service aimed at cord-cutters. First launched in five cities in April 2016, YouTube TV has been available in the top 100 markets in the U.S., covering around 85% of households, for about a year. Starting [...]

  • BTF Media, Vince Gerardis Pact Sign

    NATPE: BTF Media, Vince Gerardis Pact for Six Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI — BTF Media, producer of breakout series “Hasta Que te Conocí” and “El Secreto de Selena,” is teaming with Vince Gerardis, a co-executive producer with George Martin on “Game of Thrones,” on a six-project co-production alliance. Spearheaded at BTF Media by founder-partner Ricardo Coeto, the agreement takes in the development and co-production of the [...]

  • Bob Bakish Variety Cover Story

    Viacom Has Acquired Pluto TV Streaming Service for $340 Million

    Viacom has acquired Los Angeles-based video streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million in cash, both companies confirmed Tuesday. “Today marks an important step forward in Viacom’s evolution, as we work to move both our company and the industry forward,” said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish in a statement. “Pluto TV’s unique and market-leading product, combined [...]

  • Bob PittmanVariety Entertainment Summit at CES,

    iHeartMedia Bankruptcy Plan Approved, CEO Bob Pittman's Contract Renewed

    A U.S. court has approved the bankruptcy plan of iHeartMedia, the biggest radio broadcaster in the U.S., which will shave down its crushing debt load and separate iHeartMedia from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings. The company said chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and Rich Bressler, president, COO and CFO, have extended their contracts by four years. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content