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Friday, September 2, 2011

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington Leaves Journalism, Enters Investment World

Posted By on Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM

What conflict? - JOI VIA FLICKR
It's the kind of story whose twists and turns make you realize why Twitter can be useful.

TechCrunch's founder and coeditor, Michael Arrington, announced Thursday night that he'll be joining the investment world: He's starting a venture capital fund to invest in startups.

He also announced at the time that he'd be staying on with TechCrunch as founding blogger and writer.

But on Friday morning, after questions began being raised over conflicts of interest between Arrington's investees and the subjects covered in his highly read blog, AOL -- which owns TechCrunch -- began specifying its message, saying that Arrington was securely with AOL Ventures, the company's investment arm -- and not with editorial like TechCrunch.

TechCrunch is hiring a new managing editor now that Arrington is no longer on editorial payroll. Arrington is also promising full transparency and disclosure about his investment activity to TechCrunch readers.

"TechCrunch is a different property and they have different standards," AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told the New York Times Thursday. "We have a traditional understanding of journalism with the exception of TechCrunch, which is different but is transparent about it."

The gray area between his two potentially conflicting roles as journalist and investor have raised ethical questions about tech media. But, as some point out, Arrington is far from the first, and likely won't be the last, to get into cloudy waters in an industry known for conflicts of interest and nondisclosure.

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Ellen Huet


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