AOL accused of ‘sweatshop’ conditions

One of AOL’s ‘hyperlocal’ editors has accused the company of making staff work 24 hours a day for relatively meager pay.

The revelations have come from an email sent to Media Nation by one of the projects editors, who claims he is paid $40,000 (£25) for a 70-hour week.

“Basically, the job is 24/7 with so far little support in getting any kind of time off – nights, weekends, vacation days guaranteed under our AOL contract,” writes the editor. “This time-off issue has become a major concern among local editors.

“You might hear about the 70-hour work weeks,” the editor continues. “Yes, it’s a start-up and all that, and I knew it would be hard work  going in. But what is becoming distressing is this sense that I can’t get a break. I’ve worked in journalism for more than 20 years as a newspaper reported, online editor, magazine editor, and I’ve never worked so hard in my life.”

The hyperlocal project is an attempt by AOL to bring news and features to specific American audiences, and currently the number of websites number 90.

It raises the question as to how sustainable the idea of hyperlocal reporting is. Similar projects launched by competitors, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, have been pulled, NYT claiming that it couldn’t make the scheme pay.

(Source: The Wall Blog)

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“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”


Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.


(Source: POLIS)

 

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