Monday, November 24, 2008

HuffPo Hits Jackpot, Makes Promises

SNL Does Arianna Huffington

After experiencing stellar traffic growth -- 474% since September 2007 -- Huffington Post has scored a new investment to the tune of about $20 million, and Times UK are reporting.

In the Times UK story, it is suggested that the new funds will go toward developing various United States local news sections, as well as more investigative journalism projects. While admirable in theory, I don't think anyone is looking at a site like HuffPo for any substance. Yet.

As the Paid Content posts states, "HuffPo’s real daily value is in its aggregation and the spin on it, and investigative, while admirable, will not bring in the dollars needed."

And while sites like HuffPo and Drudge are certainly invaluable for a frantic link-jumper and news junkie like myself -- and obviously thousands more during up-t0-the-second election coverage -- but why can't there be a balance between journalistic fast food and the fresh grown organics? The quick links and off-the-cuff commentary are the main pull, sure, but why not use those ad dollars and large investments for the bettering of the field. Imagine the stories Perez Hilton could bankroll.

New investigative outlets like the well-funded ProPublica and the budding Real News Project have a solid ideological basis of unadulterated journalism for the people, but they lack a hook. It is exactly the vaguely trashy, quite unabashedly partisan voice that HuffPo provides that can make long form, expensive investigative journalism and local news once again a viable business option.

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