Two months after AOL acquired her website the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington has begun refashioning the internet conglomerate into a gigantic digital mirror whose reporters will document every last twitch of her ego. Or so says Arianna Huffington.
"Basically everything that happens to me becomes something that is integrated into the sites," Huffington told the Wall Street Journal in a frank admission of How Things Work at HuffPo. She then let a WSJ reporter watch her tell the staff of AOL's hyperlocal news network Patch that "I heard today that local PTAs are strapped for money" and that they should also do stories on college grads who can't find jobs. Huffington has also ordered up stories on divorce and sleep.
Of course, Huffington is hardly the first blog mogul to get personally excited about a story that someone else then writes. But the scope of AOL's coverage is incredibly broad, and the company's journalists may not take well to Huffington's forceful, idiosyncratic and sometimes explosive method of imposing her will. Watching Huffington run that organization on the basis of her personal experience should be entertaining, at the very least. As former Huffington Post CEO Betsy Morgan told the Journal, Huffington's approach "can be harder and harder the bigger the company is. You have to start messaging in chains and that is not the way she works."