After Layoffs, Time for Big-Name Hires at AOL

Last week wasn’t a happy one at AOL, as it laid off about a fifth of its 5,000-member staff. This week, though, AOL kicked off the week with a slew of happier announcements, naming Twitter co-founder Biz Stone as a strategic adviser for social impact and building out its new Huffington Post Media Group team with 11 new hires.

AOL said that among other things, Stone would develop a platform to promote local do-gooders and spotlight companies’ philanthropic work.

As for the new appointments, they bring to 17 the number of hires AOL has made in the past week as it focuses on premium content.

The most prominent of the new hires is John Montorio, late of the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. He was named culture and entertainment editor. In addition, Howard Fineman’s role was expanded to editorial director at HuffPo. The longtime political journalist had been senior political editor there.

Today’s news also brought word that AOL would begin sharing content with HuffPo. AOL also said it would expand Patch.com, its online local news effort, to two Newark, N.J., communities in partnership with Newark Mayor Cory Booker; and create a “30-Day Service Challenge” to encourage volunteerism. Booker and Arianna Huffington have previously been rumored to be dating.