Michael Arrington, ‘unpaid blogger’ launches Uncrunched

TechCrunch founder and former editor-in-chief Michael Arrington has launched a new blog. The site, called Uncrunched, recently went live with a solely user-generated post entitled “Here I am”. The post generated some 503 comments.

Following this, however, a second post was put up explaining exactly what Arrington aims to do with Uncrunched now that he is, to quote the T-Shirt he wore at the recent Disrupt conference, an “unpaid blogger”.

The answer, it would seem, is pretty much the exact same thing he was doing with TechCrunch but without the corporate bulk of AOL breathing down his neck:

I’m going to write about startups, and the people who build them, and the people who fund them, and the people who use them. I’m going to break stories and I’m going to write my opinion, and I’m going to write whatever the hell else I feel like in between. If people want to read what I write, yay. If they don’t, I can live with that too.

Arrington doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the fact that this will put him in direct competition with his former employees at TechCrunch. These are the same employees, it must be remembered, who used the blog to defend him throughout the recent AOL saga.

There are also clues that the motives behind Uncrunched might not be as simple as Arrington paints them out to be. Perhaps the biggest indictment of this are the frequent references he makes to his controversial dismissal from TechCrunch.

Referring to the aims he had in mind when he started TechCrunch in 2005, Arrington says:

One thing I knew for sure was that I’d never trick readers, or lie to them, or otherwise be shady. It’s not me. And even if it was me, it’s too easy to get caught. The easy path was the one where transparency was shining brightly.

That was never enough to stop the journalism community’s antibodies from hitting TechCrunch hard over all the conflicts of interest that were inherently part of who I am. We fought through all that for years, and I kept fighting until my pen was removed from my hand, so to speak, by Aol a couple of weeks ago.

Having learned a number of lessons from the AOL incident, Arrington is being completely upfront about the way he intends running Uncrunched.

“This time,” he says, “my eyes are open. I know exactly what I’m walking into, and I know how to play this game.”

Arrington goes on to list some of the things readers can expect from Uncrunched, while including a few more well-aimed barbs at the “conflicts of interest” that saw him lose his position at TechCrunch:

TRANSPARENCY: I will disclose, as I’ve always done, all financial conflicts of interest (I have lots and lots of those). I’ll also disclose other conflicts of interest, like friendships, when I can. I know a lot of you don’t understand why I can’t disclose all conflicts of interest. The answer is that if I did, not that many people would want to talk to me in the direct, honest way that I prefer. As a reader you must remain aware of the inherent bias in everything you read, and form your own opinions accordingly.

TRUTH: I always try to find the truth in a situation. That unvarnished, pure nugget of truth at the core of every issue that I write about. Sometimes this takes more than one post, and sometimes I have to go back and correct things I’ve gotten wrong. I’ll continue to do that. For more on this, read my post about process journalism.

BIAS: I have lots of it, and I never try to ignore it or hide from it. The main thing to know about me is that I’m a champion of entrepreneurs and the startups they build. They are my rock stars. If in doubt I side with them, and that’s clear from my writing. For more on this, read my pirate post and my thoughts on how government can best help Silicon Valley.

Image: Joi



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