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Information’s Triumph? Three Ways TechCrunch Challenges Ideas Of Journalism [Headlines]

Culture

C.W. Anderson lists how the tech-industry news site forces journalists to think differently.

Amelia Riley Swan
  • 13 september 2011

In the spirit of doing what one does best and linking to the rest, I’ll dispense with a lengthy overview of the controversy that erupted when AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and Silicon Valley power-broker and TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington announced the launch of what they called “the CrunchFund” — a venture fund that will “invest in start-ups, including some that [Arrington] and his staff write about” on TechCrunch, their incredibly popular and powerful tech industry news site.

Instead, some summary links:

  • Paul Carr had the best overview of the story as it stood on September 2, complete with an insider’s perspective.
  • AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher takes a hard line on the ethical compromises — journalistic and otherwise — implicit in such an arrangement.
  • New York Times media columnist David Carr was the one who really fanned the flames, with a Labor Day column calling Arrington “a tech blogger who leaps over the line.”
  • Finally, a response to Carr penned by TechCrunch writer MG Siegler is probably the most journalistically interesting post to come out of the entire imbroglio. In it, Siegler argued that “a lot of these posts [criticizing TechCrunch] are based around a fundamental misunderstanding of how TechCrunch actually works,” and then went on to explain how it “actually worked,” from his insider’s perspective.

I spent most of the late 1990s dot-com bubble as an underpaid community organizer, working in Houston to eliminate the predatory lending practices that had just begin to plague homebuyers. The one time I went to Silicon Valley, I couldn’t get the words to the Radiohead b-side “Palo Alto” out of my head. I thus have absolutely no idea of how TechCrunch works. Nieman Journalism Lab

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