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Knight Center


AOL bets on viability of online news with acquisition of Huffington Post

A day after the announcement that AOL agreed to purchase The Huffington Post for $315 million, speculation has run rampant among bloggers and others in the media industry about what the merger means for the future of journalism, especially in light of the fact that "readers are more likely to interact with the Huffington Post reblog of a New York Times article than they are with the article itself," as Tom McGeveran wrote for Capital.

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington told the Washington Post that with AOL's backing, she's planning on launching a huge citizen journalism expansion, using AOL's network of hyperlocal journalism sites,, to increase news coverage in advance of the 2012 presidential election.

While a concern has arisen whether the sale to AOL means the Huffington Post will abandon its progressive roots, Huffington said the site has been transitioning away from "progressive politics" for a while. "Huffington Post can either be an alternative voice, or it can be a very mainstream magazine of the Internet, and it has clearly evolved into that,” said Tina Dupuy, editor of Fishbowl LA and sometime Huffington Post contributor, as quoted by Politico.

Jason Pollock noted in a Huffington Post piece that the deal with AOL could mean great things for social media. The New York Times speculates about which news websites -- and their community of readers -- might be snapped up next, especially considering that "the deal for The Huffington Post is expected to raise the bar for other independent online media companies whose audiences have surged with the help of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook."

John Nichols of The Nation wrote for NPR that this deal should come as no surprise as media companies look toward journalism's place in a digital future. "This is about a lot more than AOL and Huffington Post," he wrote. "Indeed, it's about a lot more than media companies and their millions — make that billions. This deal and arrangements like it approach fundamental questions of producing journalism when traditional sources are revenue are drying up, and go to the heart of much broader debates about how citizens will get the information they need to engage in a democratic process that is now far from functional...Huffington's challenge, a huge one, will be to remove the uncertainty and create a pro-journalism, pro-democracy digital future that is dramatically different, and dramatically better, than what big media combinations have produced up to now."

Other Related Headlines:
» The Associated Press (How HuffPo became a star, and why AOL wants it)
» The Wall Street Journal (AOL, Huffington Double Down On Free News)


CJ wrote 7 years 6 weeks ago


I doubt AOL will have much of an impact considering they failed to do anything with Bebo when they purchased it and after a while just ended up selling it again.

I havent really seen any changes with any other sites they have purchased either.

Infozooms wrote 7 years 6 weeks ago

AOL on a shopping sprees

It certainly looks like they have been on a shopping spree in the last few months, especially for content-driven sites (TechCrunch, 5Min, ThingLabs, StudioNow, etc.).

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