AOL Makes New Editorial Hires, Surprisingly Pays Them

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Following the controversial layoffs and addition of thousands of unpaid bloggers that came with the formation of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, it looks like it’s time for AOL to start rebuilding its content team more traditionally. Former and staffers are being brought into AOL – in paid positions, of course – to head up departments, and internal reshuffles look set to make more sense of the group’s structure.

According to Paid Content, Neil Katz, former executive editor, has been hired to run the HuffPo Media Group newsroom, while Salon’s Lori Leibovich has joined the company to oversee a rethought women’s lifestyle section and Saul Hansell, who has been with AOL since leaving the New York Times in 2009, will move to take charge of what are being called “big news pages” – essentially, one-stop shops built around the biggest news stories of the day.

Arianna Huffington describes the changes as part of an ongoing effort to give the former AOL News more direction and focus:

We’re in the middle of rebuilding the content operation and we’re moving as fast as we can. The goal is for every site to have a distinct identity, which wasn’t necessarily the case before.

Next up for revisiting? Refocusing AOL’s existing multicultural sites, the formation of AOL Industry (covering energy, defense and governmental news), and a brand-new baby boomer news service. Because, if there’s one thing that culture needs more of, it’s a focus on the baby boomers in the audience.

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