AOL Ditches Freelancers, The Engadget Story Continues
Once the announcement came that AOL was acquiring The Huffington Post, all sorts of interesting developments started happenging throuhgout the world of AOL content, and the trend continues.
For one, the Huffington Post Media Group (the new media entity that runs all AOl/HuffPost content) has reportedly put an end to its paid freelancer program. Now, you’re either no staff – working in the newsroom for a regular work week – or you’re contributing content for free.
Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget shares a note from one of those who previously contributed freelance work. Here’s an excerpt:
Well, it’s official: The Huffington Post Transition team has just eliminated all AOL freelancers and contractors (at least those in business and finance–everything under Peter Goodman). But we have been invited to continue contributing for free. We will be replaced either by a handful of people Goodman has in mind, or with young, new (read cheap) writers who have yet to be hired.
We’ve been told that all these new, full-time employees will be expected to report to the office every day for a 40-hour work week. For some reason, it’s very important to Arianna [Huffington] to have writers physically working in a newsroom in either LA, New York or Washington, DC, thus going back to an archaic newsroom model that went out with the invention of the telephone, and needlessly eliminating any talented writers in other parts of the country. So much for a global, cutting edge news team.
On a related note, AOL has appointed Tim Stevens as the new editor-in-chief at Engadget. He’s been there for four years or so. He wrote on the blog today:
Our site has obviously come a long, long way too since it launched in 2004 and became part of AOL in 2005. In that time we’ve had a string of amazing editors, including Peter Rojas, Ryan Block, and of course the man we’ve all learned to know and love since he took over in 2008, our own Joshua Topolsky.
As we all know, that man is sadly leaving to do some amazing things elsewhere, but I’m going to do my very best to fill the very large shoes that were formerly occupied by Josh’s rather sizeable feet. Over the past few weeks Engadget has lost some incredibly talented people as well. We’re going to miss those folks madly, deeply, but turn that frown upside down, dearie, because a far greater number of equally incredible people are still here doing incredible things, and we’ll soon be joined by some other new folks who you’re going to really like. We sure do.
Hugely thanks to @joshuatopolsky for everything he’s taught me over the past three years. He’ll be missed.
Swimming in love over here. Thanks for all the kind words. I promise that myself and @darrenmurph won’t let you down.
Topolsky revealed his plans in a blog post as well. He wrote:
I’ve decided to join the team at SB Nation to build something brand new in the tech space. Now I know it might seem odd to some that I would be partnering with a sports publisher to build a technology news site, but that’s only half the story. This isn’t just about sports, or tech, or lone silos. What we will to build together at SB Nation is a new media company — buoyed by the absolutely incredible work SB Nation has already done in publishing — and part of that new media company will be the as-yet-unnamed gadget and technology site that I’ll be working over the next few months to create. When we launch (hopefully in the fall), I will be editor-in-chief of a property that I hope will inform, entertain, and engage fans of technology in whole new ways.
So, in other words, it sounds like they will be working to compete directly with AOL/HuffPost.
Topolsky wasn’t the only Engadget editor to leave recently. The publication also lost Paul Miller and Ross Miller. Darren Murph is now Managing Editor at Engadget.
Interestingly, it was also revealed last week, that Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer has also started a new media company called Bedrocket.