In the article, “Arianna Huffington’s AOL deal sparks accusations of a political sell-out” refers to the selling of the blog heaven Huffington Post in 2011 for $315 million dollars to AOL. Arianna Huffington, creator and editor in chief of the site sold out to a major corporation, but can you blame her?
In founding the site, Huffington’s mission was to provide an independent liberal outlet to combat corporate media outlets such as Fox News, after having divorced her staunchly Republican husband. At he time of its founding nearly anyone could write for the site, however the catch is, they’d write for free. This was very appealing to many bloggers who were nearly invisible at the time, because now they would get noticed.
A few years after the website was launched, they were reaching 26 million unique visitors per month, an outrageous number. This traffic quickly became very overwhelming for Huffington and she was running out of money. That is when she sought out Tim Armstrong, chief executive officer of AOL. Once Huffington decided to sell her company, thousands of her bloggers were enraged. Now, instead of blogging for free for Arianna, they were blogging for free for AOL.
Jack Lule, journalism professor at Lehigh University, was quoted in the article saying, “She [Huffington] betrayed the ideals of a lot of people who were happy to work for nothing because they thought it was for a cause.”
In retrospect, I do not see the difference between writing for free for an independent or for a corporation. The outlet is still fairly liberal and still allows bloggers to write about nearly anything they would like. Additionally now, some bloggers are able to get paid for their blogs. In order to get paid for your blogs it is essential to be an avid reader/sharer of HuffPo articles, to become connected with an editor and several prominent writers and to send them a pitch as well as information about yourself.
It is not always easy to get paid for your blogs though, but by blogging for the website, it is possible to eventually get noticed and paid by linking to other blogs and by sharing, sharing, sharing.
The situation comes down to whether it is more important for a journalist to stay true to their mission and keep their independence or to gain revenue from their writings. In my opinion, Huffington was not wrong in selling her outlet, everyone wants to be a millionaire.