The good and bad news of the HuffFeed deal

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Consolidation has become so common in the media industry that the sadness of the trend—good outlets being forced into defensive maneuvers by a terrible business climate—can sometimes feel secondary to its sense of inevitability. “BuzzFeed and HuffPost, for all their issues, represented prototypes of good faith digital news operations,” Emily Bell, the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia, . “As they consolidate, and possibly shrink a little, consider the political money currently growing bottom-feeding wildly misleading networks of local and national news.”

Management at BuzzFeed is projecting positivity about the deal: Schoofs characterized it as “hopeful and exciting news” that constitutes a vote of confidence in BuzzFeed’s business model; Peretti told Kafka that, having spoken to staff, “there’s a general feeling of excitement from everyone so far.” Management, of course, would say that. But, within the constraints of the current digital-media landscape, there is a path forward here that would warrant such positivity; if the retention of editorial staff can be prioritized and the deal helps generate revenue that can be reinvested in journalism, then the readers of two outlets that do much great work and employ many talented, straight-shooting reporters stand to benefit. As one such reporter, Mathias, , “what if this… is actually good media news and not bad media news?”

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