Manjoo: TechCrunch has moved from anti-establishment to gatekeeper
Slate | AllThingsD
Slate's Farhad Manjoo recounts a story (referenced earlier this week in David Carr's New York Times column) about how Michael Arrington blasted Flickr founder Caterina Fake and called her a liar after she broke news of a new startup herself rather than respond to his inquiry for a story. It's a good illustration, Manjoo writes, of how TechCrunch wields power in Silicon Valley. "TechCrunch started out as a break in the filter, a way for startups to get word of their ventures out to customers and investors. But as blog traffic grew and TechCrunch's conferences took off, the site has itself morphed into a gatekeeper for startups. To tech entrepreneurs, a mention on TechCrunch is seen as an essential rite in founding a business, and although Arrington has denied this, there's plenty of evidence that he's used his power to demand ever-greater exclusive access to startup news."
Manjoo predicts that if Arrington leaves TechCrunch and AOL -- Kara Swisher reports that AOL and Arrington are involved in tense severance negotiations -- another power broker will take his place because the site's editorial decisions are important signals about which companies matter. || Related: The Atlantic's Tim Maly calls tech sites "enthusiast media," noting that many of their so-called "scoops" are simply announcements that haven't been made yet. | If Arrington leaves, Paul Carr writes, TechCrunch must be able to choose its own editor.