Right then, I’ll get straight to it: The UK needs its own Huffington Post, and Piers Morgan is the only man for the job.
Is there any newspaper (online or otherwise) making such good investment in journalism than the Huffington Post? Last week it announced it would be investing $1.75 million in investigative journalism. The new Media Talk USA podcast asks whether Arianna Huffington could be the unlikely savour of the very finest strand of journalism — the investigators.
The Huffington Post is a strange beast. Launching in 2005 as essentially a ‘celebrity blog’, the HuffPo received a lukewarm reaction. Some disagreed with its mission, and others ignored. It was nothing too important — just a load of ego-tripping celebs doing no ‘real’ journalism. Newsweek described its aims as “[to] put heat (and perhaps even shine a little light) on the news of the day through diarylike musings, opinions and links”.
Which, for a good while, it was just that. Blogs, opinion… shouting. All good fun, but it’s no New York Times.
Taking a look at the site today, we can still see hallmarks of its birth, but it has evolved. The main content is still blogs — although for some reason they feel like columnists rather than bloggers, a set up more in keeping with Comment is Free. But it’s now referring to itself as ‘The Internet Newspaper’, dealing with news and video as well as the shouty blogs.
And now it’ll be pumping cash into its own investigations. I can’t wait to see the results — I hope the team can show the mainstream media guys how it’s done. While they’re sweating about re-writing a press release, the HuffPo can get back to the roots of journalism: finding stuff out.
But here’s what kills me: all this Huffington Post talk is very exciting — but it won’t affect me too much. Where is the UK HuffPo? Why don’t we have an online newspaper?
Why aren’t we getting investment for investigative journalism?
So I’m asking you, Piers Morgan. It’s up to you. Call it ‘The Morgan’ if you have to. Grab some friends, some cash, and set up office. Canary Wharf would be nice — you did your finest work there.
I find our lack of a good, well-read online-only newspaper very depressing. And the only thing stopping it is a lack of a big name. Someone who’s mere involvement would get clicks. For the first week — the buzz would be about it being new, but from there on in it’ll be the content that brings them back.
We’re long overdue anything like this. Piers is the only person I know who has the status, the money and, let’s face it, the skill to bring something like this to reality.
Now I know he’s busy with his career as a TV talent show judge/chat show host, but having read Piers’ book, I have a sneaky suspicion that you can take the man out of newspapers, but you can’t take newspapers out of the man. Come on Piers, I know you miss it.