Monday, February 7, 2011

You've Got Arianna Huffington!

The best way to approach this morning’s news about AOL and Huffington Post may well be through the first sentence of the story filed by Associated Press Technology Writer Michael Liedtke:

Internet company AOL Inc. is buying news hub Huffington Post in a $315 million deal that represents a bold bet on the future of online news.

However, those curious about just what the future behind that bet is likely to be will have to wade all the way through the Liedtke’s final paragraph, which basically tells you everything about Huffington Post that you need to know:

Huffington Post grew quickly from startup to online colossus. Over time, it launched city-specific pages and developed a roster of sections such as food and books. The work of its 70-person paid staff is augmented by content from news outlets and 6,000 bloggers who write for free.

In other words “the future of online news” is one of 6000 unpaid bloggers.  Put another way, online news will be “liberated” from professional journalism.  It is hard to imagine how a paid staff of 70 can effectively edit 6000 bloggers.  Those familiar with the Huffington Post know how this problem is resolved.  The paid staff is not responsible for editing.  Editing is a “community-based” undertaking, basically managed through comments submitted to articles, often with the style and substance of the “Wikipedia Fight Club.”  However, since the future of the press conference seems to be heading in the same direction, that just means that the future will be one of press conferences without journalists, just as those journalists will also fade from the platforms of online news.  In other words these are just more bricks in the wall of ignorance behind which the consciousness industry ultimately plans to isolate the American public.  After all, the uninformed voter is the demagogue’s strongest weapon!

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