The Huffington Post and Yahoo News will soon both be part of AOL, as AOL-owner Verizon completes its acquisition of Yahoo by early next year.
That means the two teams will have to get along. But there seems to be some tension brewing on both teams.
According to the Daily Beast, Huffington Post CEO Jared Grusd slammed Yahoo News at an all-hands, calling it a mere aggregator despite Yahoo’s recent efforts to beef up its editorial team. He said:
“Yahoo News is really predicated on aggregating content. They are not content creators. It’s not what happens in their DNA…They don’t have a specific voice and mission.”
Yahoo didn’t respond to those comments, but Daily Beast asked one anonymous Yahoo News employee who said this about Grusd:
“Who is this guy? I’m not aware of any content he’s created…. Aside from the fact that it’s totally impolitic, it’s not even close to the truth.”
The angry response isn’t all too surprising given how Yahoo’s been investing a lot in its news business lately. Yahoo Finance has been on a hiring spree, signing a number of star reporters recently, while some of the high-profile news staff who joined over the past few years, like Katie Couric, David Pogue, and Megan Liberman, are all still with the company.
Business Insider reached out to Grusd to see if he had anything to say about this. Grusd did not deny making those comments, but wanted to clarify his real intentions:
“Yesterday, I held several townhall meetings at HuffPost and I consistently expressed my commitment to the mission and vision of HuffPost, and, when asked about Yahoo, my admiration for the talented Yahoo News team, and my enthusiasm to further our longstanding partnership with them. At HuffPost, our newsroom is at the heart and soul of our DNA, and we have complete respect for Yahoo’s commitment to the same.”
That will likely cool down the situation a bit, but it looks like Huffington Post and Yahoo News have a long ways to go to really make this partnership work.
In fact, according to a person who spoke with Recode, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington decided to step down from her editor-in-chief role this week over concerns that the Yahoo/AOL merger will cause internal turmoil.
Huffington won’t be around to help the two news teams get closer as she’s already working on a new startup called Thrive Global. That job will be up to Grusd, who joined Huffington Post last year after 4 years at Spotify.