Sunday, April 24, 2005

Arianna You-know-who...pseudo-blogging

From the New York Times:

Arianna Huffington, the columnist and onetime candidate for governor of California, is about to move blogging from the realm of the anonymous individual to the realm of the celebrity collective.

She has lined up more than 250 of what she calls "the most creative minds" in the country to write a group blog that will range over topics from politics and entertainment to sports and religion. It is essentially a nonstop virtual talk show that will be part of a Web site that will also serve up breaking news around the clock. It is to be introduced May 9.

Having prominent people join the blogosphere, Ms. Huffington said in an interview, "is an affirmation of its success and will only enrich and strengthen its impact on the national conversation." Among those signed up to contribute are Walter Cronkite, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, Warren Beatty, James Fallows, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Maggie Gyllenhaal, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Diane Keaton, Norman Mailer and Mortimer B. Zuckerman.

Ms. Huffington's effort - to be called the Huffington Post ( - will also seek to ferret out potentially juicy items and give them legs. In fact, she has hired away Mr. Drudge's right-hand Web whiz, Andrew Breitbart, who used to be her researcher.

"Newspaper editors across the country are increasingly intrigued by the phenomenon of blogging and are open to finding ways to capitalize on the best of it," said John C. Twohey, the syndicate's vice president for editorial and operations.

But he said some editors were also uncomfortable with the unfiltered nature of blogs and that he had told Ms. Huffington it was a mistake for her to call the Post a blog.

As a result of that concern, Ms. Huffington said, while the bloggers will be unfiltered on the Post, they will be fact-checked and copy edited for the syndicate. Mr. Twohey said the syndicate would peddle the Post to potential clients not as a blog but as "daily excerpts from a longer-form Web site to which 300 prominent Americans are contributing." Running blogs through a grammarian's keyboard raises questions, of course, about whether they can translate to print without losing their immediacy and authenticity.

But those involved in the project seem prepared to let the site take its course. "It certainly is inspired by millions of people online who are writing away to their hearts' content," said Mr. Breitbart. "But if it doesn't look like a blog, it will become its own product unto itself."

LINK (Registration Site)

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