True/Slant Drama Erupts Over $50

Update: We’ve heard from both parties involved, and you can read the follow-up story here.
True/Slant drama has erupted over the weekend with one writer, David Appell, calling out the site on his personal blog for what he calls “abuse.”

Appell says he moved his blog, Quark Soup, to True/Slant in December after agreeing to a base rate of $200 a month. (Side note: boy, we hope those traffic bonuses are good!) Then, according to Appell, here’s what happened:

They cut me a check for December blogging for $150. When I asked about the remaining $50, things started to get interesting:

1) True/Slant’s Leonard Dworkin [sic] ignored my inquiry

2) I was unable to log in to True/Slant’s site for 8 days — all inquiries to T/S tech support went unanswered

3) My contact at True/Slant, Katie Drummond, failed to tell me she has quit T/S and that I should inquire elsewhere, and

4) Coates Bates[sic] terminated my contract when I asked that the missing $50 be paid now instead of carried over to next month.

Coates Bateman, True/Slant executive director of content, responded on the site yesterday:
“I’m happy to address any questions and correct the factual errors posted at [Appell’s blog].”

Most commenters are taking T/S’s side, maybe in part because Appell, in one commenter’s words, “flub[bed] two different names in the space of, like, two hundred words.” And there’s the whole “if we can’t trust you to spell correctly then how can we trust you to report accurately?” thing. But if a real newspaper doesn’t have copyeditors anymore, how can you expect a guy getting paid $200 a month to blog to check his spelling?

Anyway, all we’re saying is don’t judge based on a couple typos. The story could still be horsepuckey for all we know. We’ve got e-mails out to both Bateman and Appell and will update when we have more information.