HuffPo outsourcing to third party organizations?
Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab examines an usual editorial relationship between the Huffington Post and a third-party fundraiser [link fixed]. The Lab says HuffPo outsources editorial control of the "Impact" section of the site to Causecast, a for-profit organization that raises money for non-profits:
In exchange for the content, HuffPo shares the advertising and sponsorship revenue the section generates with the outside company, Causecast. And Causecast gets a platform to promote its services and the nonprofits it chooses to highlight, some of which are its partner organizations.
The section on HuffPo is labeled "in partnership with Causecast," but the third-party authorship is not made explicit:
...despite having a bio and byline like other Huffington Post editors [an author of some Impact pieces] is not a HuffPo employee. He is paid by Causecast and works out of their Santa Monica offices. As part of the arrangement with the Huffington Post, Harris oversees two other writers, who are also Causecast employees, in producing the site's content, which includes short original stories and aggregation from around the web.
The Nieman Lab wonders about the ethical implications of this. Causecast says their clients cannot pay them to place a story on HuffPo. Are there other considerations? If you're reading something you think is authored by HuffPo and is actually authored by a third-party corporation, do you care? What if that third-party has undisclosed relationships with the organizations discussed in the article?