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TechCrunch has confirmed Business Insider’s report that Arianna Huffington’s role at AOL has been reduced. TechCrunch — owned and operated by AOL — published a story late Thursday night saying that Jay Kirsch now runs TechCrunch, Engadget, Moviefone, Stylist, AOL Video, AOL.com and TUAW. Kirsch became responsible for the Tech sites’ business operations in December 2011, when Heather Harde left her position at AOL as GM of TechCrunch, Engadget, Joystiq, and TUAW. The business responsibilities Kirsch gained then were Harde’s, not Huffington’s. Kirsch was part of the February announcement that TechCrunch had a new editor.
But Alexia Tsotsis now reports that Kirsch “will be looking for an Editorial Manager to fill a role under him and deal directly with each individual site, according to sources.” If true, that means Huffington no longer has editorial control over all the AOL brands and Web properties she began managing when AOL purchased her website over a year ago. Tsotsis’ reporting follows Nicholas Carlson’s story that Huffington was demoted, which was a response to Brian Stelter’s story in The New York Times.
Carlson said by phone Thursday night that his curiosity was aroused when he read Stelter’s story, “Huffington Gains More Control in AOL Revamping” so he checked with “very good sources” who told him that “all these media brands were hers, and now they’re not.”
I’m awaiting an official response from The Huffington Post and AOL about what, if any, changes have occurred regarding oversight of these sites and Huffington’s role with them. I’ll update when I hear back.