Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Huffington Post Pays for Content After All, Via $1.75 Million “Investigative Fund”


Two thoughts on the Huffington Post’s newly announced $1.75 million “Huffington Post Investigative Fund”:

  • It took a while, but Arianna Huffington has finally agreed to start paying her writers. Not the army of bloggers who contribute to the site, mind you. But the fund’s money is earmarked for “10 staff journalists who will primarily coordinate stories with freelancers,” she tells the AP. I predict that they’ll also have to hire an admin to deal with the deluge of pitches and resumes.
  • The fund won’t solve the gaping hole opening up in American journalism: The disappearing beat writers who used to cover important but unsexy topics day in and day out, like health care, education or municipal government. But it does provide a nice parallel for the role of “investigative journalism” at most newspapers over the past couple decades: specialized, high-profile projects that didn’t have a commercial payoff and were underwritten by the papers’ other sections.

And one other thought: It’s easy enough to be cynical about this venture, but a lot of it sounds appealing, at least in theory. I’m particularly interested in the notion that the fund’s output “will be free for any media outlet to publish simultaneously.” Look forward to seeing the results.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik