UPDATE: AOL loses key editors; still says it’s home of premium content

October 22, 2010

AAOL_Say_CanvasOL is losing more key writers and editors, including the head of AOL News. Mike Nizza the editor in chief of AOL News is decamping for News Corp.   World editor James Graff is departing to take the managing editor position at The Week and James Burnett, AOL’s enterprise editor,  left for Rolling Stone.  Daily Finance Senior Writer Sam Gustin is headed to Wired.

It’s a blow to AOL which has boasted  of becoming an online media and entertainment powerhouse known for its premium content.

AOL emailed the following statement:  “We are building a world class organization and are committed to being a leading producer of high quality original content. And we are growing our organization everyday. “

  Since taking over AOL, Chief Executive Tim Armstrong has been very vocal about scooping up more than 500 journalists, among them nine Pulitzer prize winners and two voters who pick the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to U.S. college football’s best player.

But several former AOL executives have complained that the current management is still casting about for a content strategy, shifting priorities and resources away from content produced by professional journalists and toward  other projects like $50 million dedicated to the hyperlocal Patch,  a network of community news site that relies  mainly on the community for contributions.

AOL defended its strategy, arguing that content, no matter the source, remains the focus.

“We don’t believe the content on the Web will only be created within our walls, let’s be clear about that,”  David Eun, president of media and studios at AOL told Reuters. “A lot of great content is created originally within our walls … It’s our job to bring the best out there and mix it internally so our audiences get the benefit of both.”

(Image courtsey of AOL)

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