A bunch of people have asked why I stopped contributing to the Huffington Post. Answer is simple. I have no idea. I was asked by a colleague two years ago to occasionally do a piece for the site, usually on sports marketing or something a bit unusual, and it was fun to do, especially when it helped colleagues tell some great stories that were having trouble finding a voice for. The posts I assume were popular, as they were regularly included among the “featured columns” on the sports site.
It was fun, it didn’t take much time, it helped out some colleagues, made lots of sense. Heck I even helped recruit some other good voices for the site and featured their request for a new sports editor in the newsletter I do every Sunday, which got them some great candidates. Then as most know, Huff Po was sold for a huge sum of money, and all went quiet. Posts were never answered for weeks. Email addresses bounced back, phones rang and rang with no voice mail. A “citizen journalist” site disappeared for its contributors.
I was not alone in this experience. At least 15 or 20 others have gone through the same thing. Finally two weeks ago I received an email back from “Becky”…n. last name, a generic email, no phone number…saying that a post I had sent in weeks before “didn’t fit the focus of the site.” I asked what the editorial guidelines were, who I could speak to just to get clarification. Nothing. Not a word. One blogger who drove nice numbers for them said he was told through a third party that if you could not produce a post with a good amount of rumor or T and A then they were not interested in working with you any more. Len Berman still has his five top stories of the day, but other than that, in the sports area anyway, the posts are bizarre, old and not really worthy of the voices who used to be there.
Now I’m not losing any sleep about not being on the Huff Post blogger list these days. If they would like me to post again, great. If not, myself and several others who have been snubbed have something else in mind which can work well. The world goes on.
What's not right is the fact that a media outlet has such disregard for those who served them as volunteers with some quality and thoughtful commentary for so long. The courtesy of an email, or a call, would go a long way. Not just for me, but for all the other folks as well. It's just bad business and terrible communication. There is talk of this class action suit to get money for unpaid work. Whatever. The senior management team got their money and congrats. I didn’t do it for the money, I really did it to help tell stories. Now the one sad story is that it looks like Huff Po, at least in sports, treated those who helped them like crap. Too bad. And on we go.