In an article for The Kernel, Milo Yiannopoulos discusses his growing distaste for TechCrunch, skewering the popular site's incumbent Editor in the process. Following the exodus of a handful of key writers and the associatively disdainful handling of such personnel changes, Yiannopoulos writes:
Like any publication, TechCrunch thrived when it did two things well: made you laugh, and made you think. It no longer does either. You can only get away with reporting free from personality or ego if you’re a really spectacular journalist.
But there is, quite literally, no one left at TechCrunch I admire enough to make me put up with its bizarre self-obsession and the awful spectacle of its implosion.
I tend to disagree with the notion that TechCrunch is dying, but I certainly agree that the stewardship of Erick Schonfeld has been fairly abysmal. Of course, from the outside, there's only so much validity I can lend to such an assertion, but it seems to be a fairly common belief amongst the tech community.
The most notable problem, in my eyes, has been the lessening sting of TechCrunch's once scrappy and competitive tone. While many good writers remain at TechCrunch, much of their focus has seemingly fallen inward. Purposeful or not, this introversion has fostered an unpleasant air of arrogance. Although TechCrunch has arguably always prided itself on some semblance of arrogance, it was often well justified. With the latest changes and the "spectacle" surrounding them, I'd argue the arrogance is significantly less warranted.
Schonfeld has done well to retain Alexia Tsotsis, but without his own replacement, I worry for the site's long-term prospects. Still, while Yiannopoulos uses this as an opportunity to launch some sort of aggressive tirade against the site, my perspective falls in much more passive ground. TechCrunch is an enormous site - one with the capacity for truly brilliant, cutting coverage. Although some tumultuous months have shaken the site's foundations, there is certainly no reason to regard the site as dying.
The timing of Yiannopoulos' attack - given the recent furor surrounding M.G. Siegler, Mike Arrington, Path, and Nick Bilton - strikes me as somewhat opportunistic. Riding on the coattails of the controversy, Yiannopoulos looks to draw attention to their original stomping grounds at TechCrunch but, in doing so, paints a rather negative picture of himself.
Personally, I won't be removing TechCrunch from my RSS reader any time soon. I think the site has plenty of potential and, with the removal of Schonfeld, could well claw its way back. With the apparent negativity for online journalism still fresh in memory, I think it's a good practice to adopt even the most basic sense of optimism for the industry.
Misanthropy is not a path toward success, and projecting it upon industry peers - in light of recent events - does not sit right with me.