Home > Uncategorized > After layoffs, AOL Huffington to hire 800

After layoffs, AOL Huffington to hire 800

AOL Inc (AOL), seeking to revive sales growth after buying the Huffington Post, is hiring as many as 800 full-time employees at local-news operations across the country and reducing the use of freelancers.

Arianna Huffington, the Huffington Post co-founder who became the editor-in-chief of AOL’s media operations, said she intends to increase content at the company’s Patch websites covering about 800 local markets nationwide. AOL may hire as many as one full-time journalist per Patch site, though the final number hasn’t been decided.

“Each site will now have its own team,” Huffington said in an interview. “It’s always greater and better to have a team.” Until now, content for each Patch website has been produced by a single full-time local editor and freelancers.

Huffington, who joined AOL as part of the $315 million Huffington Post deal completed last month, said the Patch sites will also incorporate bloggers and commentary. Those social elements helped her turn the Huffington Post news-aggregation model into a website that grew to attract 25 million unique visitors per month within six years after it began.

“We are basically going to make Patch a lot more social,” said Huffington, 60. “It’s a great way to have people in the town, from the mayor to high-school kids, engaged.”

Huffington said she will name a new editorial executive to work on the social-media initiative in the coming days.

National expansion

AOL, spun off from Time Warner Inc. in 2009, has reported declining sales for five straight quarters. After acquiring the Huffington Post to help increase online content and boost ad revenue, AOL in March said it would shed up to 900 employees from its global workforce. Patch represents about 20 percent of New York-based AOL’s employee roster, which totals 5,000.

Today, the Huffington Post and AOL were sued in New York over claims that the writers of website content weren’t paid for their work. The suit, brought by writer Jonathan Tasini, seeks class-action, or group, status.

“The lawsuit is totally without merit,” Mario Ruiz, a spokesman for the Huffington Post, said in a statement. “As we’ve said before, our bloggers use our platform — as well as other unpaid group blogs across the web — to connect and help their work be seen by as many people as possible.”

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