The Huffington Post was supposed to be the left’s answer to Drudge. At least that is how the story was framed. HuffPost borrowed from Drudge. And from the bloggers. And from Blackpeopleloveus.com and the Contagious Media Lab and Stop the NRA and Ariannaonline. Then it set about doing what comes so naturally in the digital world, and which the legacy journalistic world still struggles to master: It iterated. It did not try to eliminate the possibility of failure. It did something different. It embraced it.

* The original version of this piece reported that AOL’s Daily Finance was shut down, along with Politics Daily, after AOL and Huffington Post merged. But Daily Finance was not shuttered, and we regret the error.

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Michael Shapiro is a contributing editor to CJR and teaches at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. His most recent book is Bottom of the Ninth: Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and the Daring Scheme to Save Baseball From Itself.