Huffington Post Hires Handful, Ditches AOL-ers; NPR Videos 'Inappropriately Edited'

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Since becoming a pair with his company's $315 million purchase of The Huffington Post, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington have overseen the cutting of hundreds of content providers on the parent company's side, with Armstrong presiding over the laying off of over 2,000 since his tenure began. But on her side, Huffington is doing some big name hiring, and of real journalists too, probably much to the dismay of anyone rooting for the robots or Bill Keller. More on her pick-ups, plus a new music editor for our own Village Voice, and other media news inside the Press Clips daily round-up.

Staffing Up After Buckling Down: "Even before we merged with AOL, HuffPost had 148 full-time editors, writers, and reporters engaged in the serious, old-fashioned work of traditional journalism," wrote Huffington in response to Keller's claims that her sites merely pilfered content from real publications like the New York Times.

Then she went and announced the hirings of a few ex-Times people, in addition to a some younger gets. There's the previously noted Peter Goodman and Tim O'Brien, who will run the business and national beats for Arianna, and now John Montorio, an ex-associate managing editor of the Times, more recently managing editor of the Los Angeles Times. In addition, Trymaine Lee moves to Huffington's web after four years at the Times Metro section. Other additions, via the press release:

Yahoo's Michael Calderone has been named Senior Media Reporter, ... the New York Daily News' Michael McAuliff has been named Senior Congressional Reporter, and The Daily's Jon Ward has been named Senior Political Reporter. Bonnie Kavoussi, about to graduate from Harvard, has been named Business Reporter, and Lucas Kavner, the founding editor of Unigo, which covered college life, has been named Entertainment Reporter.

Yahoo, an admitted direct competitor of AOL's, says the moves "put some weight behind HuffPo's perceived transformation from a website long anchored by celebrity rants, search-friendly aggregation and unpaid bloggers, to a respected journalism entity with institutional gravitas." But it's not all sunshine over there post-lay offs, with two editors from the hugely influential AOL tech blog, Engadget, leaving the company citing the corporation's editorial shifts. Two of the site's previous editors left recently.

Expect much more of this as Arianna settles in, picks her favorites and gets knee deep in the numbers. We look forward to someone using the term "growing pains." But they're getting a nap room! Take that, Times.

NPR Still Waffling: Way too long after softly crumbling under the feigned outrage sparked by conservative activist James O'Keefe and his secret cameras, National Public Radio is admitting that the shady 'journalist' "inappropriately edited the videos with an intent to discredit" the company. A spokesman maintained that the executive on tape, Ron Schiller still made some "egregious statements." (Chief Executive Vivian Schiller also resigned due to the semi-scandal.)

Dave Weigal at Slate notes that NPR made its first statement condemning the matter before higher-ups even had a chance to the watch the full tape and look for deceiving edits. He continues:

I'm as bored by meta discussions of Media and What It All Means as anyone, but these are as much media stories as they are about politics. Possibly more so. NPR and the USDA reacted so swiftly because they saw the news cycle at a faster speed than, say, the speed of assigning some intern to watch a two-hour video and take notes. Would NPR have responded differently, in the middle of a battle over congressional funding, if it had reason to question the tape?

From what may seem like an unlikely source, the Glenn Beck-backed website The Blaze has a full analysis of the controversial edits, which include, for example, a cut that makes Ron Schiller seem like he's laughing about a "Sharia law" joke when really he does no such thing. The other editing issues are myriad.

Warm Welcomes, Sad Goodbyes: The Village Voice has named Maura Johnston our new music editor, while Rob Harvilla departs for San Francisco and fatherhood. Congrats to all!

Is The Daily Worth It?: We've had fun with the first few weeks of the world's first iPad newspaper, but Ad Age's Simon Dumenco asks the tough question one month in: Is It Worth Paying For? (We've never spent the 14 cents.) According to Dumenco, the manager at his McDonald's won't pay for it even though he loves his iPad, calling out the digi-tabloid for publishing old news.

"Right now, the paper is just so erratic and unfocused that reading it is like witnessing a new identity crisis every day," Dumenco writes. Get the whole review here.

A Million Little Dollars: Professional publicity whore James Frey wrote a book, to be distributed not via a publisher, but by an art gallery, in which the Messiah "smokes pot, has sex with a prostitute and makes out with men." That is all, good night!

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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