The times, they are a-changin’. Traditional companies are adding some new media flavor to their pages (How many big newspapers have added blogs to their websites in the last year or so, for instance?) and websites are adding some of the positive characteristics of their print counterparts, such as clearly defined sections and easy front-page navigation.
No where is this more obvious then at the popular liberal news and opinion site, the Huffington Post (it seems a little wrong to call it a mere blog, although technically it is a group blog in the most sense of the word – content organized in reverse chronological order, and readers can comment on the articles). Begun by media mogul Arianna Huffington two and half years ago, today the site has forty-three employees and a reach of 3.5 million unique visitors a month. Most newspapers would love to have that kind of readership.
Characterized as an “an online version of a sprawling dinner-party conversation with a global crowd of more than a thousand well-connected friends.”, the Huffington Post currently sits at #5 on the Technorati Top 100. However, the site is shifting towards a more traditional media model, as they’ve made a “recent move to hire a handful of well-known journalists to do old-fashioned reporting. “Our goal,” Ms. Huffington says, “is basically to become an online newspaper”.” In addition, the company has tapped Betsy Morgan, former general manager of CBSnews.com, to be their chief executive officer. Obviously, the Huffpo, as it is sometimes casually referred to, is not exactly a typical blog.
“Getting somebody like this to come to our site says a boatload about where the industry is going,” said Kenneth Lerer, who has been acting as the chief executive of The Huffington Post and will move up to chairman. He founded the site along with Arianna Huffington, the political commentator.”
-From the CBSnews article about Betsy Morgan’s move.
Although many writers and traditional media types have slammed the internet as the home of dilettantes, amateurs, and hacks, that is simply not the case when websites like this exist; besides, the future belongs to those who can adapt to the changing media climate, not those who try in vain to preserve the past. In the end, there is room enough for everyone on the web – it’s not as if there is an end to the internet.
Have your own ideas for how to use the web and other digital technology to deliver the news? Check out the Knight Foundation’s news challenge and you could make them a reality.