I’ll be honest. When I logged onto The Huffington Post around 1 am this morning, my jaw just about hit the floor (the dog was in the way). I’m still thinking about what AOL’s acquisition of Huffington and the installation of Arianna Huffington as editor-in-chief of most (all?) of AOL’s online editorial content is going to mean for everyone involved. A few things it won’t mean, as far as I can tell:
TechCrunch, Engadget, Movifone, PopEater, Patch etc. are going to become repositories for a particular political agenda. No, they won’t.
The Huffington Post is going to, like, change so much, and in all the wrong ways. It might change a lot, and in some ways, I hope it does. But it’s not going to cease being what it’s been branding itself as for sometime now, a “beyond left and right” (Arianna’s words, not mine) general interest destination with a distinctive point of view and activist spirit. Will it continue to lean “liberal”? Of course. Has that been its main focus for the last year? On political and social matters, sure, but HuffPost has grown in that time to include 21 separate verticals, four of which focus on local news in urban areas. Like I said yesterday, it’s just not the case that the corporatization of the Huffington properties means that Ms. Huffington’s priorities have shifted. They’ve been clear for some time, and were made even more explicit by the merger. The Huffington Post, as a company, wants to cover a wider range of topics and engage a wider audience. It’s been doing that for at least the past two years, and the AOL deal means it can go on doing it in bigger, better ways. If you’re interested in seeing a hot media property complete its evolution from political niche to top-of-mind general interest, news, and information, keep your eyes on Huffington. If you’re looking for the Daily Kos, well, there’s always…the Daily Kos.
I wrote a new post for the media vertical right after reading the merge announcement last night. The editors put it up this morning, and I want to thank them for their quick turnaround. Disclosure: like most of the people creating HuffPost’s content, I don’t get paid for what I do there. I don’t have an agenda, though as a content creator, I obviously do want the venture to succeed. More thoughts on all of this as I have them.
- AOL Acquires Huffington Post for $315 Million in Cash (thenextweb.com)