TechCrunch founder urges others not to write about ‘the future of media’

In 2011, after founding news aggregation website TechCrunch, founder Michael Arrington wrote a feature about the way his young child was being monetized, and was upvoted on TechCrunch. Months later, he unveiled his latest…

TechCrunch founder urges others not to write about ‘the future of media’

In 2011, after founding news aggregation website TechCrunch, founder Michael Arrington wrote a feature about the way his young child was being monetized, and was upvoted on TechCrunch. Months later, he unveiled his latest project, a news website called CrunchBase. Big news, we heard. And the site started to work its magic. It is becoming one of the most valuable properties in Silicon Valley. But according to Michael Arrington, it may not be so great for everyone else.

“I think it will end up being more than one person can take care of,” Michael Arrington writes in a lengthy Facebook post this week, regarding life as a media mogul. He went on to suggest that a company like the Huffington Post needs to use real-world ties, and not simply pull ideas from the air, because they have very limited budgets. “I think it’s important for a blog like HuffPo to treat its advertisers like real business partners that can be relied on to do legitimate business with them,” he wrote. He went on to say he thinks going forward, there will be few, if any, bloggers with the capacity to host as many as $15,000 a month worth of actual revenue on their blogs. And he recommends avoiding “media entrepreneurs” like Oprah Winfrey — or anybody else, actually — because they don’t have a point of view to offer.

Turns out, Michael Arrington might be the epitome of “media entrepreneur” himself. The 74-year-old is considering putting his still bustling website up for sale, but it’s not for the money — it’s for the legacy. Following the events of last year, when a vague accusation surfaced from another journalist that a female TechCrunch writer had been raped by Arrington at a bar, Michael Arrington felt both the need and the obligation to speak out. In August 2017, Arrington admitted his past encounters with “bad actors” had “influenced” him to have a different opinion of women in tech, and he offered a contrite apology to the woman. Now, however, he doesn’t appear to be interested in having such a personal discussion about sexism in the industry again.

Michael Arrington closed his Facebook post by asking readers if the subject of his comments should keep writing about people’s mistakes or decide to write about “the future of media.” And so began an exchange of viewpoints over media entrepreneurship that rarely sees the light of day these days. Indeed, at a conference later that day, Michael Arrington insinuated that he doesn’t really know whether TechCrunch — or the rest of the news industry — is worth anything at all.

Another commenter suggested that Michael Arrington owned TechCrunch, and that everyone else should just give up and stop talking about it. Indeed, TechCrunch, like many other publications, has struggled to maintain readership as the web devours the news all around it. But Michael Arrington remains a big draw for people around the world. And what the writer was pushing might just be the straw that finally breaks the foundation of a seemingly ancient industry. If there are people out there still willing to spend $5,000 a month on Huffington Post articles, then we have another media model to worry about.

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