Arianna Huffington


Government says Sotloff video is real

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Steven Sotloff video is real: National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says a video showing the journalist’s execution by Islamic State “is authentic.” (AP) | Sotloff “began many of his articles with personal anecdotes and sprinkled his reporting with mundane details like the precise price of bread, reminding readers that faceless forces like Syria’s civil war and Egypt’s military coup were fundamentally altering the lives of real people, in divergent but no less devastating ways.” (The Atlantic) | President Obama: “His killers try to claim that they defend the oppressed but it was Steven who traveled across the Middle East risking his life to tell the story of Muslim men and women demanding justice and dignity.” (Politico) | Time Editor Nancy Gibbs: Sotloff “gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world.” (Time) | “It appears from chatter on ISIS forums that the initial video release was an unintentional leak from within ISIS circles” (Vocativ)
  2. Fred Ryan meets Washington Post newsroom: The news organization’s new publisher declined to say how he got the job, said “a key for Wapo is winning the morning.” (@erikwemple) | Washington Post reporters figure out how he got the job: He told Jean Case he was interested, and she introduced him to Post owner Jeff Bezos. (WP) | Ryan “likewise preferred to remain vague about his vision for the Post, saying it was too early to get into strategy specifics.” (Capital)
  3. News orgs ask oversight board to investigate effects of government surveillance: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 24 signatory news organizations “have asked the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) to investigate whether journalists’ confidential sources and other newsgathering is being compromised by widespread national security surveillance programs.” (RCFP)
  4. AOL content shakeup: Susan Lyne steps down from running brand group. Luke Beatty will “get the tech, automobile and entertainment brands,” Kara Swisher reports, and Maureen Sullivan will continue to run “ and the various lifestyle and money content brands.” Also: “no shockeroo, Arianna is still in charge of Arianna.” (Re/code) | “When I asked if the brand group is being scaled back as AOL invests more on the ad-tech side of the business, another AOL spokesperson on the call jumped in, saying that even though AOL has shut down some existing sites (and it spun out hyperlocal news effort Patch), it’s investing more in its existing brands.” (TechCrunch)
  5. Florida International University credentials Miami Herald reporter after all: David J. Neal “attended Saturday’s 14-12 loss to Bethune-Cookman with a ticket and sat in the stands, but did not write a game story or post-game blog, as he would have were he credentialed.” (Miami Herald) | “What good is a football team nobody covers? Chances are, FIU didn’t want to find out.” (Deadspin)
  6. Boston Globe launches site covering Catholicism: “The problem with the Vatican as a beat is it’s too far away, too weird, and utterly unlike any institution people cover,” John Allen says. “It’s hard to penetrate and it’s expensive to have someone who has the luxury to focus full time on that beat.” (Nieman)
  7. Dept. of Irony: Study about how misinformation spreads becomes the star of a poorly informed story. (CJR) | Related: The Huffington Post is running a multipart series on V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email. “Huffington Post is either not disclosing a paid-for series of posts (which would be a massive ethical breach) or they’ve been taken for a ride.” (Techdirt)
  8. New York’s shield law protects another journalist: Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman won’t have to deliver his notes to Sue Ann Hamm, who is divorcing Harold Hamm. (Village Voice) | The Hamm divorce “appears it will be the most expensive divorce in history.” (CNN)
  9. Newspaper front of the day, selected by Kristen Hare: The South Florida Sun-Sentinel fronts the murder of Steven Sotloff, who was from Pinecrest, Florida. (Courtesy the Newseum)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Fred Ryan has been named publisher of The Washington Post. Previously, he was president of Allbritton Communications Company. (Poynter) | John Reiss is now executive producer of “Meet the Press.” Previously, he was executive producer for “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” (TV Newser) | Emily Bazelon will be a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. Previously, she was a senior editor for Slate. (New York Times) | David Weigel is joining Bloomberg Politics. Previously, he was a political reporter for Slate. (Slate) | Chuck Culpepper will be a college football reporter for The Washington Post. Previously, he was a staff writer for Sports on Earth. (The Washington Post) | Susan Lyne will join AOL’s venture division to run the Build Fund. Previously, she was CEO of AOL’s brand group (Recode) | Craig Silverman will be a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. He is an adjunct faculty member for Poynter. (Poynter) | Zach Wolf is now managing editor for digital at CNN Politics. Previously, he was managing editor for news at Politico. (Fishbowl DC) | Job of the day: Women’s Wear Daily is looking for a copy editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more


HuffPost names new managing editor as Jimmy Soni moves to India

Huffington Post Managing Editor Jimmy Soni will move to New Delhi to help get HuffPost India off the ground, Arianna Huffington wrote in a note to staffers Wednesday night. National editor Kate Palmer will be the publication’s new m.e., and “We will be recruiting a new National Editor,” Huffington wrote.

Soni will return “to the newsroom in a new role, the way Nico Pitney left his position as Managing Editor and returned as Head of Product.”

Joe Pompeo wrote earlier this month that Soni is a “divisive figure” in the HuffPost newsroom, someone who has “clashed with senior figures in the newsroom, according to numerous insiders, who described him as imperious and arrogant, albeit hard-working and devoted to the site.”

Soni “sees himself as more of a change agent,” Pompeo wrote. “The newsroom is stronger, smarter and better than it was,” he told Pompeo.

Memo: Read more


Arianna Huffington made $21 million from HuffPost sale

In the 2011 sale of The Huffington Post to AOL, Arianna Huffington walked away with a total of $21 million, according to an internal AOL memo published today on The Smoking Gun. That number is much lower than was earlier speculated, The Smoking Gun reports.

The memo was part of a court filing last week in Peter Daou and James Boyce’s ongoing lawsuit against Huffington, Kenneth Lerer and the publication. Daou and Boyce claim the idea of the site was theirs. Read more

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Huffington Post will end anonymous comments


Trolls are just getting more and more aggressive and uglier, and I just came from London, where there are threats of rape and death threats,” Barb Darrow reports Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington said at a conference in Boston. Huffington said the site would rescind anonymity in September: “I feel that freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they say and not hiding behind anonymity.”

In an email to Poynter, Huffington Post spokesperson Rhoades Alderson confirms the move and says HuffPost’s army of moderators — it has about 40 — “will be freed up to engage more with the community, facilitating the kinds of productive conversations our community members want to be having.” Read more

Arianna Huffington

Stephen Colbert, Arianna Huffington among this weekend’s commencement speakers

Stephen Colbert is scheduled to speak Saturday at the University of Virginia. Arianna Huffington will speak at Smith College Sunday.

They’re among the many journalists who’ve spoken or are scheduled to speak at commencement ceremonies this spring, as many did last year.

Below, a roundup of scheduled speeches as well as some of the ones already delivered. Got an addition? Email me:

Upcoming speeches

May 18

May 19

Read more

Lawsuit over HuffPost’s origins will proceed, but CEO Armstrong won’t be questioned

Paid Content | Beet.TV

Like The Huffington Post’s annual What Time Is the Super Bowl? page, Peter Daou and James Boyce’s suit asserting they’d helped start the site just won’t die.

New York Supreme Court Judge Charles Ramos Wednesday ordered Arianna Huffington, Ken Lerer and the Huffington Post to answer the Democratic consultants’ complaint, which charges that they’d written documents that became the framework for the site.

Ramos also quashed a subpoena Doau and Boyce’s lawyers hoped to issue to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. Armstrong engineered AOL’s purchase of The Huffington Post in February 2011 but was not an original founder of the site. The plaintiffs “have not demonstrated that Armstrong had any information other than that of his company, AOL, regarding the reasons for purchasing the Huffington Post,” Ramos wrote. Read more


Huffington tells Colbert: ‘You just won a mere Peabody, we won a Pulitzer’

Arianna Huffington appeared on “The Colbert Report” Wednesday night to talk about her website’s first Pulitzer Prize win. Huffington Post started in 2005, the same year as Stephen Colbert’s show. “And you and I are just racing toward the accolades,” he said, then asked: “What specifically did Huffington Post win for? Was it for Heidi Klum nip slips? What was the article?” Here’s the exchange that followed:

Huffington: You know what Stephen, I have a feeling that you’re just bitter and jealous.
Colbert: Am I? Am I? How’s your Peabody, baby? How’s your Peabody? Maybe my Peabody could fight your Pulitzer. … As a website you win a Pulitzer Prize, right? You can also win a Peabody with a website.
Huffington: Who needs a Peabody when you have a Pulitzer? … You need to stop aggregating the Huffington Post. Do you know how much of our material you use?
Colbert: All of it. … A year ago I started the Colbuffington Re-post. You aggregate from all over the Internet, and I re-aggregate from all over your website. And I hope you’re here to give me my re-Pulitzer.

After the jokes, Huffington talked about David Wood’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work. Wood told Mallary Tenore on Monday about his win, “It’s an affirmation of what Arianna said: ‘You can do great journalism from any platform.’ ” Here’s full video of Huffington with Colbert: Read more

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Who’s right about Arianna Huffington’s role at AOL?

Business Insider | TechCrunch | The New York Times
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, 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. Read more


Huffington to news orgs: Stop fetishizing social media

Huffington Post
Arianna Huffington, whose eponymous site is uber-optimized for social media, says the media is too obsessed with “going viral” instead of reporting substantive news. In a lengthy column, Huffington acknowledges that HuffPost is “as aggressive as any media outlet in using social media,” but warns:

The media world’s fetishization of social media has reached idol-worshipping proportions. Media conference agendas are filled with panels devoted to social media and how to use social tools to amplify coverage, but you rarely see one discussing what that coverage should actually be about. … Social media are a means, not an end. And going viral isn’t “mission accomplished,” regardless of what it was that went viral.

Earlier: Plea to journalists: Stop using social media as cover for bogus trend stories (Poynter) Read more


Lawsuit over Huffington Post origins can go to trial

A New York judge has ruled that a lawsuit claiming that Arianna Huffington and Ken Lerer stole the idea for the Huffington Post has enough merit to go to trial. Jeff Roberts reports that a judge ruled that plaintiffs Peter Daou and James Boyce’s claim could go forward “under a New York law that allows people to sue if someone steals an idea that is both novel and concrete. In the ruling, the judge noted that Huffington appeared to have conceded that the idea was indeed a new one when she told Playboy in 2006, ‘There’s a tremendous advantage in being the first with something … We were the first hybrid of news and group blog.’ ” Roberts reports that the ruling, which he has in his post, increases pressure on Huffington to settle. AOL spokesman Mario Ruiz responded to the lawsuit thusly: “Seven out of the eight claims were thrown out. To describe this as any kind of victory is as laughable as their lawsuit.” || Earlier: Democratic consultants accuse Huffington of stealing their ideaHuffington Post: Vanity Fair should have killed ‘nonstory’ about lawsuit Read more


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