Meet The Old Media Stars Flocking To AOL

Melinda Henneberger

AOL is becoming a landing strip for experienced print journalists who accepted buyouts, got laid off or wanted to move on to (marginally safer) digital ground.

A downside: Some won’t make as much money as they did on staff at major magazines.

Here’s a working list of some of AOL’s recent hires →

Gene Marcial

Gene Marcial, whose 'Inside Wall Street' column was recently dropped from BusinessWeek (now Bloomberg BusinessWeek), has found a new home: AOL's DailyFinance.

Marcial's online-only edition of 'Inside Wall Street' debuted today.

'A lot of people are taking a few months off, but I can't do that,' Marcial told Media Ink (via The New York Post). 'I'll be posting as often as I can, probably three columns a week.'

In today's piece, he discuss his column's history of breaking news.

More recently, Inside Wall Street created much controversy and garnered attention in 2007, when I wrote that venerable publishing company Dow Jones & Co., whose stock price was lagging, was also vulnerable to a takeover. Inside Wall Street readers learned about this before anyone else had a clue.

Who would dare launch such a buyout? I wrote the story after one of my money-manager sources, who held a stake in Dow Jones, wrote a letter to its board of directors that the share price was too undervalued, and that the company should do something to enhance its value -- including thinking the unthinkable: selling the company. There were denials everywhere, and many questions about the column's veracity. But end of story: Rupert Murdoch swept it up.

Ben Widdicombe

Widdicombe founded New York Daily News gossip column Gatecrasher. The delightful Aussie was Star magazine's editor at large before jumping aboard AOL. He freelanced for StyleList and in October, he was announced as TMZ's new executive editor, working alongside Harvey Levin on the 24-7 entertainment news site. (Today, AOL spun off from Time Warner; TMZ did not go with it).

He appears to be enjoying himself out there, tweeting: 'At a dinner with the mayor of Beverly Hills, who is dresses as Mrs. Claus. Maybe LA is my spiritual home after all.'

Diane Davis

Diane Davis is the director of AOL's StyleList, a leading style and beauty site. The energetic and charming Davis previously was the lifestyle editor at The Associated Press (where she edited some of my stuff) and the NYC metro editor at Newsday.

Jeff Bercovici

Bercovici covers the media biz at DailyFinance. The respected reporter-blogger previously manned the Mixed Media blog at Conde Nast's (which survived after Portfolio magazine shuttered), wrote about culture for now-defunct Radar magazine and focused on media at WWD's 'Memo Pad.'

Saul Hansell

As soon as Saul Hansell accepted a buyout package from The New York Times, news broke (via Silicon Alley Insider) that he had been recruited to run AOL's

The veteran tech writer -- who founded NYT's Bits blog -- will serve as programming director at Seed, AOL's platform for freelance contributors to its 80+ media sites.

Greg Couch

Couch recently joined AOL's FanHouse site after more than decade as a sports columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times. He told Tower Ticker's Phil Rosenthal, 'I just wanted to start playing offence. All newspapers, not just the Sun-Times, you're playing defence, you're hanging on for dear life. AOL seems to have found their niche, and they're thinking big. ... I just wanted to go with someone who was trying to grow rather than just trying to hang on.'

Jay Mariotti

Another Chicago Sun-Times refugee, Mariotti now writes a natonal column at In a past Tower Ticker interview, he slammed the Second City (watch it, Mariotti!!): 'If I there was one wish I had about Chicago sports fans, it would be to be more open-minded,' he said. 'It's a great sports world out there with all kinds of amazing stories every day. ... I was working in a city with a bubble around it. Yeah, sometimes they care about Tiger Woods or Michael Phelps. But I would be hard-pressed to find any metropolitan area that's more consumed with its own stuff, including sports, than Chicago.'

Jill Lawrence

The former national political correspondent for USA Today currently writes a column for Her bio says, 'She has covered every presidential campaign since 1988. Columbia Journalism Review named her one of the top 10 campaign reporters in the country in 2004. She was included in Washingtonian Magazine's 2005 list of the 50 best and most influential journalists in Washington.'

Melinda Henneberger

Henneberger is the Editor-in-Chief of Politics Daily and brings massive journalist cred. According to her bio, 'she was a reporter for The New York Times, where she worked for 10 years as a Washington correspondent and as the Rome bureau chief. Henneberger has also written a weekly column for and has contributed to publications including The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Slate, and Reader's Digest.'

Here's a Henneberger column on Amanda Knox.

Nikhil Hutheesing

Hutheesing is the tech and investing editor at DailyFinance, and was previously at Forbes for 17 years (where he wrote an investing newsletter).

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