Huffington Post Folds AOL Sites, Hires a Few More; Howard Stern Sues Sirius Radio
Arianna Huffington's website, recently joined with (bought by) Tim Armstrong's AOL in an attempt to usurp the internet content throne together, has been making all sorts of media news headlines early in this 2011, and up to this point, they have fit into one of two categories. First, there's the "Legitimizing The Huffington Post as a Journalistic Organization" side, which includes big name hires, debates over paying writers and a fun battle with the New York Times and its executive editor Bill Keller. The other narrative is the "AOL Under Arianna" side, which includes huge lay offs and today, the shuttering of a handful of Armstrong and AOL's own editorial brands, which either overlap or do not fit with the HuffPo mission. This is The Huffington Show now. Let's talk more about it inside Press Clips, our daily media column. Plus, news on rich media executives, Howard Stern and the New York Times paywall.
All Arianna Everything: Of course, the two aforementioned narratives play neatly together because AOL, which named Arianna editor-in-chief of everything, must effectively get out of the way ("AOL Under Arianna") for the brand to be taken super seriously as Journalism (capitalized) and not just aggregation and cheap thrills, like the way Bill Keller sees the site now.
The narratives again align nicely because amid the Keller beef, which stemmed from a pretty bad column on his end, Huffington has taken to hiring his Times people, a pattern she continued today with the announcement that Maura Egan, an editor at the Times' style magazine T, would be joining HuffPo as deputy entertainment, culture and lifestyle editor. Huffington also grabbed Radley Balko, formerly of Reason magazine.
These real reporters and editors are building blocks for Huffington's clear objective: building a functional, competitive newsroom. (And just in time for the 2012 election.)
Another step in that process is cutting fat, which AOL has already done by the hundreds (and has plenty more), which also continued today with the scrapping of AOL sites like Politics Daily, which is eaten by HuffPo's Politics section and Urlesque, which is now one with HuffPo Comedy. Walletpop and Daily Finance become one, as do Luxist and Stylelist, TV Squad and AOL TV. More on the reorganization from All Things D, Forbes and Yahoo.
Basically, The Huffington Post will be the Super Wal-Mart of the internet, in that it's fucking huge.
Stern Sues Sirius: Already on the record as being ignorant of Howard Stern's appeal, it's pretty easy to be ambivalent about his new lawsuit against the company who feeds him millions of dollars a day, in which he alleges that he deserves the performance-based stock rewards he was promised. To the numbers: "Sirius had around 230,000 subscribers to XM's 1.3 million at the end of 2003. As of the end of December, the combined company had 20.2 million." Additionally, his fans seem like the type who would riot for their guy, the multi-millionaire, so just be careful, that's all we're saying.
How to Not Get Laid in College: Write for the newspaper. How to definitely not get laid in college: write for the newspaper about how girls never smile at you.
Really, Really Rich: Maybe skip being a journalist and just jump to media mogul because Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman made $84.5 million last year. News Corp's Rupert Murdoch took home around $22.7 million, or half of an iPad newspaper.
Paywall Blues: The New York Times paywall is only up in Canada, and doesn't hit the states until March 28, but a nerd has already made a way for other nerds to get around it with just "four lines of code," because the most creative way to not pay wins. (Prize: more blog posts about you!)
Meanwhile, the Twitter feed @FreeNYTimes, which used the newspaper's API to tweet every link, thereby evading the paywall, may already be in danger, according to Forbes: "We have asked Twitter to disable this feed as it is in violation of our trademark," said a Times spokesperson. The newspaper also responded to the above "four lines of code" hack by stating the obvious: "we expect that there will be some percentage of people who will find ways around our digital subscriptions." That's not the point: the targets are people who are busy (or lazy!) and loose with the credit card, a.k.a. adults without jobs on the internet.