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Paper Monitor

11:58 UK time, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Everyone even vaguely connected with the business of news is obsessed with how to scratch a living in the online era - Lord knows how many sleepless nights Paper Monitor has stared at the ceiling, wondering where the next subscription to Press Gazette is coming from.

So it comes as little surprise that the papers are enthralled, if not universally magnanimous, to learn that publisher Arianna Huffington has sold her Huffington Post site to AOL for $315m (£195m).

The Guardian, the paper surely most closely attuned to Ms Huffington's politics, gurgles with palpable awe about this "Greek-born Cambridge graduate, author, broadcaster, politician's wife, Republican turned Democrat, would-be governor of California and now internet mogul".

The Daily Telegraph, by contrast, is torn between admiration for her business acumen and Old World-sniffiness about her go-getting pushiness.

"What Arianna Huffington has always craved is not so much power as influence," intones writer Mick Brown.

"It seems that her life's journey has been to get to the centre of the action, wherever that action may be, in the process accumulating as many useful allies as possible. An indefatigable networker and name-dropper, she is on first-name terms with a who's who of American life, from entertainment, politics and business."

Oh that Paper Monitor were so indefatigable; how much could this very blog be worth?

Not that all pundits are so enamoured by the brave new world of new media. In the Daily Mail, Jan Moir is exercised by celebrities tweeting their condolences to actress Amanda Holden and her partner, who have lost their unborn child.

James Corden, Davina McCall, Emma Bunton, Myleene Klass, and Lord Sugar ("interrupting his usual rising gorge of illiterate Twitter boasts about his private jet and the ­electronics on his new car"): all are lambasted.

Clearly, it is no bad thing to ­display public empathy for a tragic ­situation, whether it is one you are personally involved with or otherwise. Yet isn't there also something unsettling, ­distasteful and offensive about this new eruption of celebrity-to-celebrity condolences, played out in the Twittersphere hall of mirrors to an audience of millions?

At best, it appears narcissistic. At worst, it is, surely, just plain, old-fashioned showing off. Not to mention self-seeking puffery of the very worst sort.

Ms Moir, of course, was subject to a campaign by Twitterers protesting about her column on the death of Stephen Gately.

It will take some hacks longer than others to get excited about the glowing potential of the internet, it seems.

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