AOL made a big move today by purchasing the über-blog online site Huffington Post. At a cost of $315 million, the online service assumes ownership of one of the best-known digital opinion (and increasingly news) sites in the country.
It's a great move. Though I don't agree with all of site co-founder Arianna Huffington's views about news media (I think she's too one-sided in her promotion of new media; I think her site often replicates and even enlarges upon the shallowness of modern news media), I do think she's very sharp and clearly knows what she's doing with her business. I also take it as a good sign that she will remain with the site as editor-in-chief.
It's also a great move because it shows that AOL is on the right track in finding a new identity. It demonstrates that the company is serious about staying alive in the digital present. Content counts, and Huffington Post brings the company a lot of content with a lot of daily readers (including me). AOL is a company that has been written off for dead countless times in the past decade, more than a few times by people who lost millions of dollars in the epically disastrous AOL-Time Warner merger. But now we see the new AOL emerging, and it looks like it is a company to watch once again.
For more of a taste of Huffington's media views: Below is a video from 2008, in which Huffington spoke to The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco about right-wing politics and new/old media. In the question and answer portion of the hour-long program, she spars with the moderator (a local political journalist) about blogs and the news media.