Michael Arrington has a new blog, scolds TechCrunch editor
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Michael Arrington may be out of TechCrunch and AOL, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop blogging.
Arrington, who founded the TechCrunch blog as an angel investor in 2005, announced on Twitter on Thursday morning that he’ll be going out on his own for now, tweeting:
‘I’ll be launching my new (personal) blog in a couple of days.’
Paul Carr, a freelance writer for TechCrunch and author, responded to Arrington asking if he can get in on the new personal blog, tweeting:
‘@arrington can I write the weekend posts on your tumblr?’
Arrington wrote back on Twitter, poking fun at AOL’s head of online content, Arianna Huffington, and TechCrunch’s new top editor, Erick Schonfeld.
‘@paulcarr I’m not sure the journo police will allow that. Will ask Erick to ask Arianna if that’s ok.’
Carr might not be simply joking about following Arrington to his new blog eventually. The writer lashed out at AOL and its CEO Tim Armstrong, in a post on TechCrunch, for its handling of criticism that was directed toward Arrington and TechCrunch when Arrington and Armstrong announced the formation of a venture fund called CrunchFund.
It was Arrington’s involvement in CrunchFund (he’s running it) that cost him his job at TechCrunch as co-editor with Schonfeld. AOL had said that its tech reporters can’t also be tech investors. AOL, however, is the main investor in Arrington’s CrunchFund.
The back-and-forth between Carr and Arrington isn’t the first time the TechCrunch founder has criticized AOL, which bought TechCrunch in Sept. 2010 for as much as $40 million, and his former co-editor Schonfeld since the break-up.
On Monday, at AOL’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Arrington appeared on stage wearing a green T-shirt printed with the text ‘unpaid blogger.’ The T-shirt was a jab at AOL and Huffington, which after announcing he was fired from his job as TechCrunch’s co-editor said he might contribute as an unpaid writer from time to time. A photo of Arrington in that T-shirt is his Facebook profile picture.
On Wednesday, Schonfeld named the finalists in a start-up competition at the Disrupt conference in a TechCrunch blog post. In naming the finalists, Schonfeld added in a few sentences trying to make clear Arrington’s involvement in the process or lack there of, writing:
(In the spirit of disclosure, two of the companies, Bitcasa and Prism Skylabs, are CrunchFund investments, but we didn’t hold that against them. Along with the other finalists, the judges scored them the highest. The CrunchFund is Michael Arrington’s new venture fund. He was not involved in the final selection of these companies).
Arrington, in a comment on that blog post, said that Schonfeld wasn’t being honest about his involvement in the process of selecting the finalists.
Erick, I’m still an Aol employee through tomorrow (15th). Also, as you know I had significant input into this list of finalists and spoke to Heather for over an hour last night about them. My final list is somewhat different from this one, though, but we agree on four of the companies. Please be careful making statements on my behalf. And remember that reader trust is what matters. You shouldn’t say ‘he was not involved in the final selection of these companies’ just because it sounds nice. Since it isn’t true, you shouldn’t say it at all. Also, going forward, I don’t know if I’ll be disclosing our investments to TechCrunch.
On Thursday, Barry Diller, chairman of InterActiveCorp., which owns 50% of the Newsweek/Daily Beast, said that AOL’s firing of Arrington for investing in tech start-ups was a move that robbed TechCrunch of its unique voice, which was Arrington’s voice.
Here’s a transcript of Diller’s statement, as reported by TechCrunch:
You buy it because it is absolutely the voice of a single person primarily, with some other people working for him -- but it’s Michael Arrington’s voice, and you know when you buy it, that that voice is biased and mean and capable of saying anything, and is playing a hundred different games. And you know that. And that’s why you buy it — because it’s a good voice, and you like it. This is, to me, the definition of that rocket going up and then getting underneath… And then somebody calls you up and says, ‘I’m the Editor in Chief, and you can’t let him do that, because he’s now in a conflict of interest.’ Instead of saying, ‘Shut up and go back to your room'… and it’s not because you don’t respect journalism, it’s because this has nothing to do with that. To apply that standard to something where the guy says, ‘I’m filled with conflicts. You don’t have to listen, you don’t have to read me. Take the stuff for whatever it’s worth.’ It’s not a journalistic enterprise, TechCrunch. And so to have treated it as such is to destroy it. So now, he’s gone, and now they own this thing, which has no voice. Congratulations. What a good piece of business.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles