A change at the top of The Huffington Post’s business desk: More of Peter Goodman on the ‘middle class’

Goodman and Huffington. ()
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When Arianna Huffington hired Peter Goodman away from The New York Times to serve as editor of her website's business and technology verticals back in September of 2010, the move was surprising for several reasons.

For one thing, the notion that someone from such an esteemed paper might jump to Huffington's splashy aggregator still seemed novel at the time. For another, Goodman had spent his entire career not as an editor, but as a reporter and writer; most recently, at that point, as the Times' national economics correspondent.

A year and a half later, Goodman can start flexing the latter muscles once again: He notified his staff this morning that he is transitioning into more of a full-time writing and reporting role, Capital has learned, though he will remain The Huffington Post's executive business editor in title and will continue to supervise the coverage from a big-picture standpoint. For the time being, Neil Katz, HuffPo's executive news editor, will oversee the day-to-day business and tech coverage and manage individual writers' beats.

"This has always been Arianna’s intention," said Goodman, reached by phone for comment. "I was brought in here to have an overall imprint on the business, economic and tech coverage, but not to manage the site in a granular way. That's something I've been doing, but now that we have the infrastructure in place, it's a good time for me to hand off the day-to-day supervision to capable hands and go out and start writing and reporting more."

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Goodman's writers were surprised to learn of the move. In addition to building up The Huffington Post's original reporting efforts and integrating its newsroom with AOL's following the two web titans' $315 million merger last year (along with executive editor Tim O'Brien and other new recruits), he's been a mentor to many of them, especially the younger members of the bunch.

Some worry that there will now be more emphasis placed on traffic. Katz is said to be bullish about the site's numbers, and just last week, business and tech reporters were reminded that they should be "curating" their beats through relevant aggregation in addition to their original reporting. (For the most part, aggregation is left to the vertical editors, and some reporters in the place are loath to do any of it.)

Goodman said curation has always been a part of his writers' charge.

"The modern day beat reporter has a responsibility to the reader to curate that space and to keep readers abreast of what’s happening," he said. "We don't suffer the old fashioned hubris that we’re the only news source on earth."

As for his own beat, he will be writing a weekly column and doing "long-form narrative journalism—a mixture of investigative news and analysis across the economy and business with a particular interest in the declining opportunities for the American middle class," he said.

"The power of Peter's writing and reporting was one of the major reasons I was so keen to bring him here," Huffington wrote in an email statement responding to Capital's questions about the change. "He's one of the most passionate, insightful voices on the state of America today, so I'm delighted we'll be hearing more from him on a regular basis."