By Jorge Valens
Friday, the club hosted Arianna Huffington, creator and editor of the The Huffington Post and Tim Armstrong, chief executive officer of AOL, two people who represent a possible future of my changing industry.
But I felt divided as both touted the progress of AOL and Huffington Post’s accomplishements and their role in journalism and the web.
Half of me embraces the web. I know how important it is in terms of making connections with the people I report for. I agree with Armstrong when he said that journalists need technology. We need connected devices allow people to follow us throughout the day rather than for a few moments when readers visit a website.
The other half of me, however, clings to the traditional rules of journalism. I believe that for a news organization to generate quality content it must pay its reporters and that an experienced journalist beats a citizen journalist any day of the week.
In February, Business Insider reported on a leaked an internal memo titled “The AOL Way.” The memo outlined the company’s focus on profitability, asking editors to consider page views when planning content.
That memo resonated in my mind as both Huffington and Armstrong were on the podium. I kept asking myself if journalistic integrity and profitability are mutually exclusive. I understand that a news outlet needs to make money but to me, business and editorial have always been on different floors of the building.
I was optimistic after leaving the the Press Club luncheon, though. I hope that as more journalists cross over from traditional media to online both of my halves will balance out.