October 23, 2012

Michael Arrington is returning to TechCrunch, the rollicking blog he founded in 2005 and sold to AOL in 2010. He left after Arianna Huffington questioned whether Arrington should report on a field in which he also invested, as the founder of a partly AOL-financed venture capital fund called CrunchFund. MG Siegler, a partner at CrunchFund, will expand his contributions to TechCrunch, where he currently writes a column.

Huffington is no longer responsible for TechCrunch, and AOL business and technology head Jay Kirsch says the site will be upfront about Arrington and Siegler’s conflicts:

Are they conflicted? Yeah, of course they are, and we will be transparent on that issue at all times. But, we also believe our readers are smart enough to put these columns into context and understand the impact of CrunchFund’s investing on the editorial.

At the time of AOL’s investment in CrunchFund, CEO Tim Armstrong also said Arrington would be “transparent” about his conflicts, a point Arrington critic Kara Swisher was not willing to concede:

In this case, Tim, I am sorry to inform you that transparency is a complete canard and is more likely to end up covering up a lot more transgressions than it ever will reveal.

“I’m sure this move will go smoothly and will never come back to bite me,” Kirsch writes in today’s announcement.

Earlier this year there were rumors that AOL was going to sell TechCrunch and its other tech blogs, At the time, Arrington told Sarah Lacy, “I am not in the least bit interested” in buying the site back. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told Edmund Lee that the company was interested in partnering on the sites.

Related: AOL to finance Arrington’s new venture capital fund, will replace him as managing editor of TechCrunch | Arrington won’t hire for new blog, left AOL finally over editorial independence | Arianna Huffington acknowledges change in responsibilities at AOL

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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