"HuffPost is my baby," she said. “I feel that it’s a long time since it played it’s first cute kitten video, and here it is now seven years later winning a Pulitzer.”

BIG! EXCITING! NEWS! Our very own Joe Pompeo is a Mirror Award finalist for his profile of the Huffington Post, post-AOL merger. Congrats to Joe (and his editor, Tom) for their hard work! Winners will be announced June 13.
Read Joe’s story: The road ahead for The Huffington Post: Nine months and a merger later, ‘Capital-J Journalism’ is still a work in progress

BIG! EXCITING! NEWS! Our very own Joe Pompeo is a Mirror Award finalist for his profile of the Huffington Post, post-AOL merger. Congrats to Joe (and his editor, Tom) for their hard work! Winners will be announced June 13.

Read Joe’s story: The road ahead for The Huffington Post: Nine months and a merger later, ‘Capital-J Journalism’ is still a work in progress

Managing editor Nico Pitney to leave The Huffington Post
Jimmy Soni, Huffington’s 26-year-old chief-of-staff for the past six months, will step into his role. Joe has Arianna’s full memo.

Managing editor Nico Pitney to leave The Huffington Post

Jimmy Soni, Huffington’s 26-year-old chief-of-staff for the past six months, will step into his role. Joe has Arianna’s full memo.

The road ahead for The Huffington Post: Nine months and a merger later, ‘Capital-J Journalism’ is still a work in progress
A few gems from Joe’s story:
The stats on staffing

Huffington and two of her generals in the battle to professionalize The  Huffington Post, Tim O’Brien and Peter Goodman, told Capital that since  the merger, they’d hired 200 journalists, created a 10-person desk of  news editors, and were publishing between 50 and 60 originally reported,  real news items a day, with several large features a week clocking in  at more than 3,000 words.

On Tim O’Brien and Peter Goodman as the HuffPo’s high-quality generals

They  have adjacent offices, and one is often seen visiting the  other,  Goodman with his thick-black glasses, neatly trimmed  salt-and-pepper  beard and a bald dome that caps his six-foot-three  frame. O’Brien is a  bit shorter and a bit more stocky, and speaks in a  pitch slightly higher  than Goodman’s baritone. Numerous staffers  described the latter editor  as an avuncular boss; “caring and  understanding,” said one of  them—although others have pegged Goodman as  short-tempered and prone to  “yelling” and “testy exchanges,” as  someone who has worked with him put  it.
“I plead guilty to caring  passionately about the work that we  do, and expecting a lot from my  reporters and colleagues,” Goodman said.  “Anytime you’re in a situation  that matters, emotions can enter in.”
O’Brien  was described by  sources as a solid mentor, a meticulous editor who  takes care over  copy, as well as being a “door-is-always-open” kind of  supervisor;  although as with Goodman, several sources described a  hot-tempered  side.
“Bottom line,” said a person who has worked  with him. "If  you get bruised easily, you’re gonna have a hard time. But  if you have a  thick skin and want to do really great journalism, then  he’s a great  person to work for.”

Copy editors are real

The  vast majority of the original stories are handled by the news desk,  a  team of 10 line-editor copy-editor hybrids that O’Brien installed   immediately following the merger. They’re responsible for managing the   churn of the news flow while O’Brien, Goodman and the other senior   editors get down and dirty with hands-on editing for the more ambitious   features.

A crude divide

On  Tuesday, July 12,  Nico Pitney, the site’s managing editor, sent an  email to newsroom  staffers asking them to attend a “special meeting with  HuffPost’s  founding editor Roy Sekoff and some other guests.”
Sekoff  was the  first to address the standing-room-only crowd (and others who  were  conferenced in by phone). He guided the assembled staffers through a   PowerPoint presentation and delivered what one person in attendance   described as his standard “stump speech” about the so-called “Huffington   Post DNA.” He told them that successful aggregation means adding  value,  intelligently contextualizing the reporting of others, packaging  things  well. Don’t take too much, and ask yourself whether you’ve  extracted  all the value, he advised. He also called up some of his  favorite  headlines of late, such as the abbreviated screamer that was  splashed  across the homepage following the arrest in May of former  International  Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn: “OMG IMF.”
Next  up was  Goodman, who channeled the sort of gospel one would expect from  someone  who spent “two decades in traditional newspaper journalism,”  according  to the bio on his personal website: Be thorough. Check your  facts. Worry  about getting it right, not about getting clicks. And if  you have any  doubt as to whether you can aggregate a story fairly, no  matter how big  the story may be, better to leave it to the competitors.  The upshot,  according to insiders familiar with the meeting, was that  traffic is not  the most important thing, and that page views should be  earned by  producing content that is trustworthy and compelling, not  merely  sensational.
But then Huffington Post’s chief technology  officer,  Paul Berry, who was running late, and had therefore missed  Goodman’s  speech, showed up and put in his two cents: Traffic is the  most  important thing.
He explained that if a story gets a lot of  page  views that means it’s good: Quality and clicks correlate directly.   Goodman listened from the sidelines without interrupting. It was   awkward.
"It seemed to sum up this cognitive dissonance that’s   going on between these two theories on how to do things," an attendee   later recalled.

Aggregating for the good of humanity

Huffington is convinced that the brand can stretch wide enough to   coherently offer deep, long-form investigative journalism and slideshows   and gossip and celebrity news. In fact, it’s unapologetically part of   her vision for the site.
"If you’re talking about a contribution to humanity," she said, laughing, "I would say definitely David Wood’s series or Arthur Delaney’s stories on the unemployed or our amazing coverage   of foreclosures is driving the national conversation in a way our   slideshows of adorable kittens and babies [are not]. They definitely   provide pleasure to people who click on them, and we’ve always been from   the beginning an unashamed mixture of highbrow and lowbrow.”

Lots more beyond the click

The road ahead for The Huffington Post: Nine months and a merger later, ‘Capital-J Journalism’ is still a work in progress

A few gems from Joe’s story:

The stats on staffing

Huffington and two of her generals in the battle to professionalize The Huffington Post, Tim O’Brien and Peter Goodman, told Capital that since the merger, they’d hired 200 journalists, created a 10-person desk of news editors, and were publishing between 50 and 60 originally reported, real news items a day, with several large features a week clocking in at more than 3,000 words.

On Tim O’Brien and Peter Goodman as the HuffPo’s high-quality generals

They have adjacent offices, and one is often seen visiting the other, Goodman with his thick-black glasses, neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper beard and a bald dome that caps his six-foot-three frame. O’Brien is a bit shorter and a bit more stocky, and speaks in a pitch slightly higher than Goodman’s baritone. Numerous staffers described the latter editor as an avuncular boss; “caring and understanding,” said one of them—although others have pegged Goodman as short-tempered and prone to “yelling” and “testy exchanges,” as someone who has worked with him put it.

“I plead guilty to caring passionately about the work that we do, and expecting a lot from my reporters and colleagues,” Goodman said. “Anytime you’re in a situation that matters, emotions can enter in.”

O’Brien was described by sources as a solid mentor, a meticulous editor who takes care over copy, as well as being a “door-is-always-open” kind of supervisor; although as with Goodman, several sources described a hot-tempered side.

“Bottom line,” said a person who has worked with him. "If you get bruised easily, you’re gonna have a hard time. But if you have a thick skin and want to do really great journalism, then he’s a great person to work for.”

Copy editors are real

The vast majority of the original stories are handled by the news desk, a team of 10 line-editor copy-editor hybrids that O’Brien installed immediately following the merger. They’re responsible for managing the churn of the news flow while O’Brien, Goodman and the other senior editors get down and dirty with hands-on editing for the more ambitious features.

A crude divide

On Tuesday, July 12, Nico Pitney, the site’s managing editor, sent an email to newsroom staffers asking them to attend a “special meeting with HuffPost’s founding editor Roy Sekoff and some other guests.”

Sekoff was the first to address the standing-room-only crowd (and others who were conferenced in by phone). He guided the assembled staffers through a PowerPoint presentation and delivered what one person in attendance described as his standard “stump speech” about the so-called “Huffington Post DNA.” He told them that successful aggregation means adding value, intelligently contextualizing the reporting of others, packaging things well. Don’t take too much, and ask yourself whether you’ve extracted all the value, he advised. He also called up some of his favorite headlines of late, such as the abbreviated screamer that was splashed across the homepage following the arrest in May of former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn: “OMG IMF.”

Next up was Goodman, who channeled the sort of gospel one would expect from someone who spent “two decades in traditional newspaper journalism,” according to the bio on his personal website: Be thorough. Check your facts. Worry about getting it right, not about getting clicks. And if you have any doubt as to whether you can aggregate a story fairly, no matter how big the story may be, better to leave it to the competitors. The upshot, according to insiders familiar with the meeting, was that traffic is not the most important thing, and that page views should be earned by producing content that is trustworthy and compelling, not merely sensational.

But then Huffington Post’s chief technology officer, Paul Berry, who was running late, and had therefore missed Goodman’s speech, showed up and put in his two cents: Traffic is the most important thing.

He explained that if a story gets a lot of page views that means it’s good: Quality and clicks correlate directly. Goodman listened from the sidelines without interrupting. It was awkward.

"It seemed to sum up this cognitive dissonance that’s going on between these two theories on how to do things," an attendee later recalled.

Aggregating for the good of humanity

Huffington is convinced that the brand can stretch wide enough to coherently offer deep, long-form investigative journalism and slideshows and gossip and celebrity news. In fact, it’s unapologetically part of her vision for the site.

"If you’re talking about a contribution to humanity," she said, laughing, "I would say definitely David Wood’s series or Arthur Delaney’s stories on the unemployed or our amazing coverage of foreclosures is driving the national conversation in a way our slideshows of adorable kittens and babies [are not]. They definitely provide pleasure to people who click on them, and we’ve always been from the beginning an unashamed mixture of highbrow and lowbrow.”

Lots more beyond the click

jaketbrooks:

The American Journalism Review reveals how Arianna Huffington was able to lure Peter Goodman from the Times. It also reveals Goodman’s own self-loathing for taking the offer that was “too amazing to turn down.” So what did it? Freedom (and I’m sure the money wasn’t bad either).

(Source: jaketbrooks)

"The point is, when journalists are called on to redirect the corporate culture of an organization, sometimes it works in a small way, but usually it doesn’t; and almost never on a vast scale. If management’s idea for a brand overhaul is to import cool, or gravitas, or intelligence, the best-case scenario is almost always that the importees exist successfully but completely separately: valuable parts that don’t add much to the sum. (Part Two is they always leave.)"

Tom McGeveran on Huffington’s cultural revolution at AOL. There are so many quotable passages in this piece that it was hard to pick just one. We recommend you read the whole thing.

"If you’re like me and tend to think of places like The New York Times and The New Yorker and Gawker and Huffington Post when someone says “media” to you, rather than AOL or Yahoo! or Google, then this big purchase looks like even less of a “bet on news” than it does to most people actually in the business. The bet here is that a site can attract enough readers on a small enough budget that advertising will bring in significant profits without having to charge readers for reading. And at the moment, plenty of people think that is a long-odds bet already. It probably only really happens at the low and high end of the scale, for now, that kind of monetization."

Tom McGeveran has smart things to say about the AOL-Huffington Post marriage.