Unfortunately, even in the professional industry of journalism, jealousy and cattiness can be an issue. Sure, there is always room for healthy competition, but sometimes things get ugly and distract from our true goal of reporting the real news.
On March 10, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote a piece targeting The Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington. The article, entitled “All the Aggregation That’s Fit to Aggregate,” essentially called Huffington out.
Keller said the following: “The queen of aggregation is, of course, Arianna Huffington, who has discovered that if you take celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications, array them on your Web site and add a left-wing soundtrack, millions of people will come. How great is Huffington’s instinctive genius for aggregation?”
Keller began his article by noting that Forbes magazine lists him as the 50th most powerful person in the world. After reading this I had to question if this was a publicity stunt or if this 62-year-old man was really using his celebrity to whine.
Huffington promptly posted a rebuttal the evening Keller posted his article. Her post, entitled “Bill Keller Accuses Me of “Aggregating” an Idea He Had Actually “Aggregated” From Me,” had me envisioning two children chasing each other around a playground, while sticking their tongues out.
Last month, AOL bought The Huffington Post for $315 million. Did this event play a major role in ruffling Keller’s feathers? Is either party right in their argument? Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post believes Huffington won this battle.
Frankly, I feel this entire thing is trivial. However, is aggregating news such a bad thing?
Their articles go against the very thing that Keller is discriminating upon. Keller brings attention to Huffington making a living off of the drama of sharing outrageous links, which draw people to the site. However, Keller is making a spectacle of the very thing he is criticizing.
What I do know is spitting matches like this one are not worth the time and effort it takes to post and detracts from the real issues the world should be focusing on.
Sure, I believe in professional journalism. I believe in each company working hard for their stories and creating original work. However, in this digital age, where technology and speed rules all, the public wants to obtain their news quickly. They also want to be entertained while doing so.
I agree that blogs like The Huffington Post may compromise the integrity of journalism, but things have changed. Kudos to Huffington for maintaining a site that gets people wanting to read the news in the first place!
New York Magazine adds to the mix with this article.