In the last few months, I’ve read several self-reflexive articles detailing the hostile relationship between New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller and Huffington Post Co-Founder Arianna Huffington; it appears that since The Huffington Post was acquired by AOL in February and The Times began a digital subscription service, the market has grown so competitive that the two are unable to (publicly) respect each other for what they are: very different entities that offer very different value propositions. I take great inspiration from both leaders and their respective publications, and I’ve found their back-and-forth fascinating. It’s a window into their psyche and insecurities (which is endearing) as well as a glimpse into the current state of journalism (which is informative): an established titan of reporting lashing out against an innovative, but flawed culture of citizen journalism. Their situation isn’t exactly a replica of what’s going on in surf media at the moment, but I think there are some significant parallels.
On Friday, Stab Magazine published a polemic by Chas Smith detailing his disgust for The Inertia – maybe more accurately his contempt for the slogan: “The Planet’s Largest Network of Thinking Surfers,” and, to an extent, I can relate. I’ve rarely met a catchphrase I’ve liked, and, depending on your vantage, a “Network of Thinking Surfers” can be as pretentious or as inclusive as you’d like it to be. That said, I believe Chas Smith is wrong! “So totally wrong!”