New York Times executive editor Bill Keller might soon be eating the words of this week’s column, “All the Aggregation That’s Fit To Print.”
No, not because he reveals to the world his wife’s twilight tweeting habit. Not even because of that paragraphs-long back-door brag about how important we all insist he is.
It’s Mr. Keller’s characterization of The Huffington Post (and Ms. Huffington herself) as a pirate that might be a bit short-sighted. “Buying an aggregator and calling it a content play is a little like a company’s announcing plans to improve its cash position by hiring a counterfeiter,” Mr. Keller wrote, dismissing The Huffington Post’s “small stable of experienced journalists” as a minor part of the operation.
But according to sources familiar with the HuffPo, they’re hiring quite a few journalists (like, just shy of 100) to do original journalism, with a legitimate copydesk, and at a fair wage. (Last time we checked in with the HuffPo, at around the time of the merger, they had about 25 paid full time reporters.) Maybe that’s where the payroll of the 200 AOL employees laid off today is headed. If so, The Huffington Post has hardly been acquired, as was the consensus when the merger was announced. Rather, AOL’s given them a major cash infusion, knowing it will mean free syndication of all that good, original content.
We didn’t think Tim O’Brien would leave the Times to curate kitten vids, did we?
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