Yesterday, TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington widely announced via blog post that he is returning to startup investing in many of the companies TechCrunch is known to cover. As he states himself, “there will be financial conflicts of interests in a lot of my stories.”
And he is not at all sorry about it! “I think that this will all be fine,” he writes, with a remarkable amount of confidence, as long as he promises to disclose his conflicts as he writes about them.
Business Insider asked AOL if it is corporate policy that journalists are allowed to invest in the companies and industries they write about. The answer: No, they are not allowed to do that, unless they are named Michael Arrington. From AOL’s statement:
Michael Arrington operates from a unique position. He was an investor in technology companies and start-ups before he started TechCrunch, and his extensive knowledge of, and involvement with Silicon Valley is one of the very things that has made TechCrunch a must-read site.
Is this whole ethical overhaul making you feel a little uncomfortable? This is what Arrington said about his potential detractors: “Other tech press will make hay out of this because they don’t like the fact that we are, simply, a lot better than them.”
Ouch! We bet none of his inferior competitors would dare criticize him now!
Well, not quite. Not everyone thinks this new order “will all be fine.” Tom Foremski writes for ZDnet.com: