It's unclear if tech and digital PR is celebrating, anxious or just indifferent over AOL buying the popular tech news and blog site TechCrunch for reportedly more than $25 million.
Maybe in the long run it's inconsequential to tech PR and its goals.
Call me a journalistic purist, but I cringe when independent news operations are gobbled up by bigger companies, especially companies that aren't journalistic in inception and spirit. The more independent a publication the better for journalists and their coverage, and tech PR looking to get its message out.
A publication such as TechCrunch is a valuable medium for tech PR, and the more editorially independent such publications are the better. The worst case, and very reasonable, scenario is other tech companies receive less or unfavorable coverage for competitive reasons.
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington said AOL promised to “not to impose their bureaucracy” on the publication, and that he would retain editorial control. I have my doubts.
News gatherers, commentators, and PR pros all work within the same ecosystem, and the more independent that ecosystem is the better.
PR should be concerned just as much as reporters and editors when publications become less independent, and a property of a bigger company with potential editorial conflict.