This Week’s Cartoon: Freelancer Riot At Huffington Palace



A rare one-panel Slowpoke. I was sure someone must have already done this idea, but couldn’t find it anywhere.

I often hear people say that Huffpo’s unpaid contributors were fools for doing all that free work in the first place. Which is mostly true, but overlooks the fact that Huffpo also seeks out work from published writers and cartoonists. And they simply refuse to pay. As Matt Bors blogged last week, Huffpo contacted him while he was in Afghanistan, filing comics for paying clients. They wanted to post his work on the site, but darned if they just didn’t have the budget to pay for it! Not only was Huffpo being unfair to him, but to the publications that were buying the work. He said no, but this sort of situation creates an unfortunate race to the bottom for freelancers and paying publications alike. Which is why I try to avoid clicking on any links to the Huffington Post if I can.

For further reading, I suggest this article in the Columbia Journalism Review about an earlier case of labor exploitation involving AOL.

Oh, and you can read my Huffpo-AOL comments and those of several other cartoonists over at Washington Post’s “Comic Riffs” blog.



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  • Marcus

    Even Google, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, plays this game as well. They asked “prominent” artists (ie. people who are used to getting paid for their work) to design themes from their Chrome browser in exchange for the “honor” of having their work be viewed by millions.

    This was the New York Time’s take on that:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/business/media/15illo.html?_r=3&ref=business

  • http://www.slowpokecomics.com Jen Sorensen

    Oh, I’m glad you mentioned that. That was absolutely outrageous, and really lowered my opinion of Google.

  • Star

    A professional writer might replace the cliche “race to the bottom,” but your point is well taken. Actually, those of us in this game for awhile prefer “circling the drain.” I wonder if Zsa will stop paying the AOL pittance.

  • Raphael

    The sad thing is, the new head of France’s Lemonde uses Huffpo as a model for how the paper should evolve… I hope the future of journalism isn’t in free labor and misleading headlines…

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jBR-vzK5_s_Q28wBowBgj7HvMvUw?docId=CNG.4c35386e11049bfe983d2dbf56383f56.121

  • http://www.slowpokecomics.com Jen Sorensen

    @Star – Sometimes a cliche says it best!

  • Quiddity

    I fondly remember an earlier Slowpoke comic that briefly mentioned Arianna (in the same way):
    http://www.slowpokecomics.com/strips/webcontent.html

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

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