Let’s Do A Second True/Slant Drama Post

Here’s the followup from this morning’s True/Slant drama.

We heard from Appell, the jilted blogger, via e-mail, and from Bateman, the T/S executive director of content, over the phone. After the jump, you can read the comments from both and decide for yourself.

Appell’s e-mail (which came in first):

I started blogging for True/Slant in late November ’09. Everything was fine and by early January I was up to 700+ post views/5 days, up 130% from my first month. That’s hardly gangbusters, but I was finding my legs and no one from T/S ever said a word.

Then in mid-January they had server problems and I was unable to log in for 8 days. My readership crashed during that time (to about 100 PV/5 days). At the same time they sent me my first payment, for Dec blogging, and it was only 3/4ths of the base rate that my contract called for. Lewis Dworkin ignored my question about it, and I learned that my “boss” at T/S had left without telling me. Then Coates Bateman wrote that what I was paid was what we agreed on. My contract clearly stated otherwise, which he agreed when I sent it to him. He asked if the other 1/4th could be included in next month’s payment, because it was “more efficient.” I wrote that I’d prefer it be paid now, as per my contract. Bateman wrote back that they would be reviewing my account to see that it “worked for both parties.”

The extra payment went through, but shortly after that Bateman said they would be terminating my contract in 30 days (the contract does give them that option).

Feel free to ask questions or quote from any of this.


And our (lightly edited for clarity) transcript of our conversation with Bateman:

MJD: You said in your post you had factual errors to correct.
Bateman: The factual errors are pretty evident, from the name misspellings…
MJD: Okay, but what is your side of the story? He has posted his; what is yours?
Bateman: We don’t discuss contracts publicly. We made an error in payment. We acted to fix the error, and then decided it was best we parted ways.
MJD: So you did terminate his contract with 30 days’ notice?
Bateman: Yes. He was free to continue with us…he left [early], he could have written through February.

MJD: It seems like a shame.
Bateman: It is a shame. I think that we, you kind of [addressed this] on your blog post. Our pay is not enormous. So we really try to take care of contributors and be good to them. We screwed up on a payment.

MJD: Some others have been insinuating that it was a personality issue–that Mr. Appell’s blogging was too incendiary.
Bateman: There’s no issue with that. It was more, I mentioned to contributors at the turn of the new year, we were starting to review output as far as editorial. And that email went out and that assessment started happening.

MJD: But he just started in November–how can you assess less than three months of blogging?
Bateman: I think you can go to his page and you can see the output. I’m not going to get into the details here. I just thought that after a review we needed to move on.