The Huffington Post is using some of its $5 mil in venture capital to become a legitimate news operation, according to The New York Times.
Arianna Huffington, who started HuffingtonPost.com, said yesterday that the site had hired Melinda Henneberger, a print journalist most recently with Newsweek magazine, as its political editor.
Ms. Huffington said Ms. Henneberger would hire a number of other journalists to begin producing original content, “with attitude.”
“Now is the time to generate our own original content,” Ms. Huffington said. “It was always our intention, once we had the money, to hire people to do reporting.”
Softbank Capital, a venture capital group, invested $5 million in the site earlier this year. Ms. Huffington said she planned to hire investigative reporters as well as a multimedia team to do video reports and wanted to make the site more interactive.
“That’s the combination you need online,” she said, adding that unlike bloggers, who generally file when they want to, her reporters will have deadlines and regular schedules and will travel for their articles. Also unlike bloggers, Ms. Huffington said, they will be paid.
I see this as a great move on Huffington’s part. But it does beg the question, “What’s a blog?” It seems clear that a media property may begin as a blog, but then morph into something bigger. There are countless ways to split blog hairs. For instance, one might argue that a site that breaks news is not a blog. Whatever the case, it’s not as simple as pointing to a site run on Moveable Type or Word Press and decalring, “Yep, it’s a blog.”