Since AOL bought Huffington Post for $315 million in early March, the controversy has not let up.
In an editorial overhaul constructed by HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington (in her new role as head of editorial operations with AOL), AOL laid off hundreds of workers, 300 of those state side.
Huffington Post then hired 17 full-time journalists within the month, with staffers coming from publications like The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.
But, perhaps those making the most noise during this transitional period is the trove of unpaid bloggers that Huffington Post has relied on over the years to churn out content. The Newspaper Guild, a U.S. union of 26,000 media workers, stepped in to side with the bloggers, encouraging them to stop supplying free content. The Guild released a statement asking the unpaid bloggers to “honor this electronic picket line”. The Guild also tapped Huffington to “demonstrate her commitment to the working class she so ardently champions.”
And now the bloggers are taking their protests further. In a class action lawsuit filed today by a group of writers led by six-year Huffington Post contributor Jonathan Tasini, AOL, HuffPo and Huffington herself are being taken to court, according to the Forbes blog. According to his blog space on HuffPo’s website, Tasini is a union leader and organizer, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic and Business Week, among others.
His blog page details another legal fight the writer was involved in, Tasini vs. The New York Times, “…the landmark electronic rights case that took on the corporate media’s assault on the rights of thousands of freelance authors.” The case resulted in freelancers obtaining the copyrights of their works that were published without “explicit permission” or compensation to the writers.