After making all the obvious arguments — the Huffington Post had 148 full-time journalists on staff before being bought by AOL, its journalism has won awards and been praised by Paul Krugman and many other Times staffers — Huffington addresses Keller’s worst claim: that she stole one of his talking points from a panel they were on and repeated it verbatim on a radio show a few minutes later.
The fun part: Huffington did some actual journalism to prepare her response, digging up transcripts of both Keller’s remarks on the panel and her remarks on the radio show.
Here’s what he said on the panel in April 2010:
But what I think will happen, and you can already start to see it, is there’s a little bit of a convergence going on. We’ve talked a lot about how some of the mainstream organisations we represent are adapting the tools and more important, the kind of culture and psychology, of a more open media world. I think it’s also true that a lot of the alternatives — the startups — are beginning to see the need for discipline, resources, standards.
And here’s what she said a few minutes later:
Well, I think there is a convergence happening. There was a big debate over the last few years about whether the newspapers will survive, whether the future is going to be only online. And I think we are realising now, increasingly, that online, purely online news operations like The Huffington Post are more and more adopting the most traditional, basic tenets of journalism. Accuracy, fairness, fact-checking, reporters, more and more editors, and mainstream traditional operations like the New York Times or NPR are adopting more and more of the digital tools that can bring in the community to make it part of the creation of journalism, through citizen journalism, through reports from the ground, through video, through Twitter feeds, through all the new media available to us.
First of all, apart from the use of the word “convergence,” the two statements don’t have that much in common. They’re both pretty general statements of the future that most media commenters now agree on.
More damningly, Huffington had been saying the same thing — and using the word “convergence” — for years. Here’s what she said in May 2008:
I think that what we are seeing is a kind of convergence of the mainstream media doing more and more online, and those of us in online media and the blogosphere doing more and more reporting, along with citizen-journalism projects.
And in November 2008:
There’s this real convergence, where basically you found that the best and most accurate rose to the top, whether it originated from Time magazine or from Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com, which did not exist before the election.
And in January 2010:
And then we can have a hybrid future where there is a convergence between old media and new media. It’s not an either/or world.
So who’s aggregating whom?
It’s Keller’s move next.