Defending Arianna Huffington

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Ben Cohen
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Robert Scheer makes a compelling defense of the AOL/Huff Post merger. Key quote:

As I understand it, The Huffington Post has upward of 70 paid staffers, which is quite formidable for an Internet venture. It is no secret that with most of the Internet advertising money going to Google and other massive marketing entities that do not generate news reporting, there is little left over to pay for content, and that aggregation from threatened traditional news sources is the norm. At Truthdig we started with and continue the practice of paying for all original and syndicated content and supporting writers, photographers and artists. Obviously, with their limited resources, sites like ours are hardly a full-throated substitute for the failing print and broadcast journalism of yore. My hope is that with the more substantial funding that Huffington acquires from AOL she will vastly expand her pool of paid writers and editors and begin to fill the void.

I'm still not sure where I stand on the issue - it has definitely irritated much of the blogosphere due to the perception that she has sold out, but as a journalist I can certainly see the value in doing something to create jobs. Robert Scheer is a publisher so he understands the enormous difficulty of creating a profitable, journalist paying media outlet. It is unbelievably difficult given the times and while Arianna has made herself a lot of money, she has also provided jobs for 70 people who would otherwise be navigating the merciless world of internet dominated publishing, most likely without luck.