Thursday, April 16, 2009

HuffPo's devious technique of giving readers what they want

Jack Schafer has a roughly 1,700-word article in Slate about the mainstream media's grievances against the Huffington Post.

Here's the key point, which appears on page 2 of the article:

I personally don't like the way the Huff Post "showcases" the work of other journalists, but I don't get heated about it, either....

Instead of getting wigged out at the Huffington Post, offended sites would be smarter to glean a lesson from experience. Top journalists aren't going to like hearing this, but not everybody has time to lounge about with the 2,000-word masterpiece that you and your editor handcrafted. They want to get to the salient point, and they want to get there now. As heretical as it may sound, the Huffington Post is adding value by skinning alive that beautiful baby seal you just birthed and serving its fresh, beating heart to readers in a hurry.

Instead of feeling diminished by the Huff Post's excerpts, more publications might want to pre-empt the site by serving distilled versions of their own articles.
Again, it took 1,700 words to make that point.