Ok, in this edition of “As The PR Story Turns” we will look at the current and very public drama that AOL is having with Michael Arrington, who is the Founder of Techcrunch which was sold to AOL in 2010 for $25 t0 $30 million. This is an interesting story to watch as Techcrunch is a blog that changes the rules of the publishing forever, starting as a simple blog with a few readers to becoming a blog that breaks stories before traditional media can even get a glimpse into the situation. Telling PR professionals to kiss his … when they try to get the blog to honor embargos, and which resulted in growing to be the defacto source for startups and technology news to the point where many traditional media sites reference what is said on Techcrunch. The outcome of the current situation will again have an impact on the world of media and this will in turn have an impact on public relations. Some are now starting to question the journalism ethics of Michael Arrington.
- Last week Michael Arrington announced that he plans to launch a venture capital fund called Crunchfund and invest in startups; Techcrunch covers startups
- Arrianna Huffington (Editor-In-Chief at AOL ) immediately turned around and fired Mike or as she says “Mr. Arrington is not being paid by TechCrunch, he does not report to TechCrunch editors and does not report to her or other AOL Huffington Post Media Group personnel.”
- Tim Armstrong (AOL CEO) who supported Mike turned around and hired Mike at AOL Ventures (bandage solution)
- Mike in turn threatens AOL giving 2 choices or he’d quick Techcrunch (AOL remove TechCrunch from Arianna Huffington’s control, or AOL sell TechCrunch back to its original investors.)
The story doesn’t end there, with the ultimatum now public record, AOL/ Tim Armstrong is forced to respond.