With 300 celebrities and other bloggers, journalist Arianna Huffington is launching a new kind of online publication that could change the blogosphere, but also traditional journalism
There is still the hype about bloggers, who are supposed to change, if not revolutionize, journalism, the public sphere and the flow of information. And as it always does, what was once avant-garde, or at least innovative, and brought a new, initially not primarily commercial, moment into play, "disarmed", when it is stylized into a fashion and imitated by the masses. Plotzlich mussenen alle bloggen, so irgendwie etwas ein bisschen Subjektive einigermaben kontinuierlich von sich geben, weil das fur Aufmerksamkeit sorgt und moglich auch Geld einbringt. You don’t want to miss anything.
What was once said by "below" or at least carried this myth with it – and was also impressive because of the passion of the followers, who select and evaluate the global information and communication streams in their own way, enter new information or draw the public’s attention to certain topics, will be eroded in its dynamics when it is no longer just the "Nobodies" (Rankism), but the celebrities and attention professionals penetrated in.
For some time now – even if Germany is still a developing country here (blogger Raskal Trippin with some amptions as to why this is so) – journalists have naturally had to blog in order to show that they are at the forefront – whether officially as representatives of their medium or in passing. In addition, there are politicians and sometimes also members of the government and finally celebrities or companies and managers who believe that they can get a little of the attention out there that has so far passed them by. In the meantime, despite some still-agitated rantings of the blogosphere and some actual pushes, it just seems that you have to have a weblog just like you used to have to have a phone, then a fax, then an email address, and finally a website. Besides, there are of course already professional bloggers who are hired to promote a brand, a company, a politician or whatever (social software, corporate wikis and paid bloggers).
In the media spiral: attention for attention
Arianna Huffington is now taking this development to the extreme with a planned "Group blog" – "where some of this country’s most creative minds will weigh in on topics great and small, political and cultural, important or just plain entertaining." The former member of the Republican Party also became known beyond the U.S. for running as an independent candidate in the 2003 California gubernatorial election. The journalist and book author describes herself as a "progressive democrat", supported Kerry in the election campaign and now had the idea to exploit the hype around the blogs by getting 300 celebrities from all walks of life to write blogs under the umbrella of Huffingtonpost. However, the blog she has written so far is not very promising, but actually only refers to her own comments.
Arianna Huffington at the 2004 Democratic Party in Boston
The online publication, which is neither right-wing nor left-wing, with its prominent writers is to be financed by advertising. Huffington expects that celebrities will attract them, which is probably not wrong, after all, celebrities are the important actors of the attention economy (The attention economy and the net – part II). And because these are also again dependent on continuing to create attention, as a name – as a "Somebody" – celebrities are supposed to get their celebrity stage here, but they don’t get paid for it.
Interesting opinions, interesting topics, interesting celebrities
The celebrity blogs are supposed to provide news and commentary, for example about the media (Eat the Press). But Huffington also wants to compete with other blogs or websites, for example the Drudge Report, which every now and then breaks scandals and quickly points out something that then the mainstream media has taken over. The crew also includes former Drudge employee Andrew Breitbart, who is supposed to bring in this style and the spirit. Some news sections are in turn edited by celebrities, such as former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, who is in charge of national security, or professional journalists.
Celebrities have little difficulty with publicity, they are partners and foundation of the mainstream media and thus do not need blogs as an alternative to traditional media publicity. However, since celebrities are fans who seek attention from them and demand certain communicative quid pro quos, blogs can be good additions to the means of fan support that are cultivated anyway. Here fans can, if they are allowed to, write comments on the comments of stars and celebrities, who may even respond directly to them.
Found Huffington’s willingness of celebrities like Diane Keaton, Walter Cronkite, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, Warren Beatty, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Norman Mailer and Mortimer B. Zuckerman. The conservative spirit is supposed to be provided by people like Tony Blankley of the Washington Times, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal or David Frum, the former speechwriter of US President Bush.
However, the celebrities, if they write at all and can cope with the Internet publicity, were only allowed to provide the necessary bonnet to attract attention for the launch. Huffington, in order to secure the project and connect it to the blogosphere, also invited numerous bloggers to continue writing under their umbrella. They could just keep doing what they had been doing all along – they could just keep doing what they had been doing all along – they could just keep doing what they had been doing all along "provide interesting opinions and new views of the interesting topics of the day", they became only the "Megaphone" to provide the attention that the bloggers are looking for. According to Huffington, that’s why you don’t have to rely on a few people writing every day, since so many "interesting people" so that there will always be someone with something to report. It is to be expected that the bloggers, who love themselves for the project to win, apart from the messages from the "Editorial office" will significantly shape the publication.
When the project, which will be launched on 9. May go to the net, will actually succeed and will not be a belly landing, which then probably also a part of the hype of the blogs with itself rubbed, so it was allowed to be interesting to observe, how one deals with the comments of the readers. So far, this seems to be left to the individual bloggers. In addition to advertising, income is also to be generated from the sale of content. However, the blogs are a step back from the traditional media in that the authors can publish their content directly and without any editorial control. The articles and comments that are sold from the group blog to other media, on the other hand, should be checked for evidence and edited. But are they still blogs then? But perhaps Huffington’s group blog or website will create something new between a blog and a traditional medium, even if her project initially blurs the distinction.