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This morning’s news says that beleaguered, dinosaur of dial up AOL has bought Huffington Post and made the doyenne of digital, Arianna, an executive. Here’s the news from the New York Times:
The two companies completed the sale Sunday evening and announced the deal just after midnight on Monday. AOL will pay $315 million, $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock. It will be the company’s largest acquisition since it was separated from Time Warner in 2009.
The deal will allow AOL to greatly expand its news gathering and original content creation, areas that its chief executive, Tim Armstrong, views as vital to reversing a decade-long decline.
Arianna Huffington, the cable talk show pundit, author and doyenne of the political left, will take control of all of AOL’s editorial content as president and editor in chief of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group. The arrangement will give her oversight not only of AOL’s national, local and financial news operations, but also of the company’s other media enterprises like MapQuest and Moviefone.
Meanwhile, the bloggers at HuffPo, I’m told, the ones who provide the “original content creation” that was just sold, don’t get paid. Correct me if I’m wrong. And in an email to the bloggers this morning, Arianna told them that things would remain the same:
The HuffPost blog team will continue to operate as it always has. Arianna will become editor-in-chief not only of HuffPost but of the newly formed Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all of AOL’s content sites, including Patch, Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, PopEater, MapQuest, Black Voices, and Moviefone.
Together, our companies will have a combined base of 117 million unique U.S. visitors a month — and 250 million around the world — so your posts will have an even bigger impact on the national and global conversation. That’s the only real change you’ll notice — more people reading what you wrote.
Far from changing the Huffington Post’s editorial approach, our culture, or our mission, it will be like stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet. We’re still traveling toward the same destination, with the same people at the wheel, and with the same goals, but we’re now going to get there much, much faster.
So my initial impression– I’m sure we’ll all have time to think about this today– is that once again the writers, the bloguer@s like you and me get to continue to tickle their keyboards and bang their heads on their monitors for free, while they create all of the “content” and the money, and it is huge money this time, will not find its way into their pockets. Not a sou.
The other point has to do with consolidation of media and control of content. The more consolidation the fewer outlets with potentially different points of view. Consolidation of media is the opposite of creating a free, multiplicity of views.