Why HuffPost won’t crowdfund Donte’ Stallworth’s fellowship

Donte’ Stallworth will join The Huffington Post as a politics fellow this fall, covering national security. The former NFL wide receiver will be paid during his six-month fellowship, HuffPost Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim tells Poynter in a phone call.

“He’s getting the standard pay that all the fellows are getting,” Grim said. “Obviously he’s not getting into journalism to get rich.”

Huffington Post has between two and three such fellowships going at any time, Grim said. Former University of Maryland student Amber Ferguson will also have a politics fellowship this fall. The last class included Sam Levine, David McCabe and Marina Fang; Levine is now an associate politics editor. Others who’ve landed full-time gigs at HuffPost after the fellowship: Paige Lavender, Samantha Lachman, Ibrahim Balkhy, Ashley Alman and Shadee Ashtari.

Stallworth in 2010. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Stallworth in 2010. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The news organization took some heat for crowdfunding Mariah Stewart’s yearlong fellowship to keep covering Ferguson. That’s because there was no line item for that one on HuffPost’s budget, Grim said. “It was longer than normal; we actually doubled the compensation, so therefore we had to find a new source of funding for it.”

Related: HuffPost’s Ferguson Fellow: ‘This is huge for me’

Stallworth came into HuffPost’s orbit via reporters Sabrina Siddiqui and Amanda Terkel who struck up a friendship based on his Twitter feed, and began meeting up with him to discuss journalism and politics. Grim contacted Stallworth in May when he heard he was interested in getting into journalism.

At HuffPost, Stallworth will work three days per week. “He’s going to be doing some football commentary on the weekends, which precluded him from doing the normal fellowship schedule,” Grim said.

I asked about a Daily Caller piece that pointed out Stallworth had tweeted some 9/11 truther conspiracies in the past. “That doesn’t represent how he thinks today,” Grim said. “You know, that was five years ago, and people say dumb things, but that shouldn’t define him.”

Journalism, Grim said, “is like football in the sense that it’s done in public and people are judged by how they perform on the field or in print.”

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  • Tracksuit Al

    Breitbart’s John Nolte has an article out showing that Stallworth was tweeting Truther conspiracies as recently as last November, less than 1 year ago.
    So it wasn’t just 5 years ago and you can’t brush it off as something silly from his past.

  • Benny

    How can you hire a 9/11 Truther as a foreign policy fellow? Does. not. compute.

  • jay

    almost as good as NBC hiring chelsea clinton and jenna bush as “journalists.” wonder why journalism is no longer as respected as it once was when someone gets a select fellowship based solely on being an athlete/famous name.

  • CJinPA

    So, does he now take back his 9/11 Truther claims? ‘Cause, yes, such thinking DOES define a person.