TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington to Leave TechCrunch Over Spat With AOL

Michael Arrington is leaving TechCrunch, the technology blog he founded in 2005 and sold to AOL Inc. for $30 million, for a recently formed venture fund, ending a more than week-long drama over his position at the company.

AOL announced the move in a statement on Monday and said it would continue to invest in Mr. Arrington’s fund. The announcement of the fund earlier this month set off a debate between Mr. Arrington and AOL over journalistic ethics and whether Mr. Arrington’s should continue to write for the blog.

AOL named Erick Schonfeld editor of TechCrunch. Mr. Schonfeld was previously the site’s co-editor.

Mr. Arrington commented on the matter briefly at a TechCrunch conference in San Francisco, saying “it is no longer a good situation for me to stay” and calling it “a sad day.”

When the fund was announced Sept. 1, an AOL spokesman said that Mr. Arrington would remain a founding editor of TechCrunch. In the role, he would disclose conflicts of interest when he wrote but have “no editorial oversight,” the company said.

But confusion over what that meant— and dueling statements over whether Mr. Arrington was still employed by AOL— led to further tension between Mr. Arrington and AOL executives, according to people familiar with the matter.

Last week, Mr. Arrington wrote a blog post saying TechCrunch’s editorial independence was under attack. He threatened to quit the company and asked AOL to sell TechCrunch back to its original shareholders if the company doesn’t promise the site “a blanket right to editorial self determination.”

Full Story Via The Wall Street Journal