HuffPost

HuffPost (formerly The Huffington Post to April 2017, and sometimes abbreviated HuffPo) is an American news aggregator and blog, with localized and international editions. The site offers news, satire, blogs and original content, and covers politics, business, entertainment, environment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, healthy living, women's interests and local news featuring columnists. It has been described as liberal-leaning.

Founded by Andrew Breitbart, Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti, the site was launched on May 9, 2005 as counterpart to the conservative news site Drudge Report. In March 2011, it was acquired by AOL for US$315 million, making Arianna Huffington editor-in-chief. In June 2015, Verizon Communications acquired AOL for US$4.4 billion and the site became a part of Verizon Media.

In 2012, the website became the first commercially run United States digital media enterprise to win a Pulitzer Prize.

In November 2020, BuzzFeed acquired the company.

The site offers content posted directly on the site as well as user-generated content via video blogging, audio, and photo.

History

The Huffington Post was launched on May 9, 2005 as a commentary outlet, blog, and an alternative to news aggregators such as the Drudge Report. It was founded by Arianna Huffington, Andrew Breitbart, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti. Prior to this, Arianna Huffington hosted the website Ariannaonline.com. Her first foray into the Internet was the website Resignation.com, which called for the resignation of President Bill Clinton and was a rallying place for conservatives opposing Clinton.

An early Huffington Post strategy was crafting search engine optimized stories and headlines based around trending keywords, such as "What Time Is the Super Bowl?"

In August 2006, Huffington Post raised a $5 million Series A round from SoftBank Capital and Greycroft.

In December 2008, Huffington Post raised $25 million from Oak Investment Partners at a $100 million valuation and Fred Harman of Oak Investment Partners joined its board of directors. The money was to be used for technology, infrastructure, investigative journalism, and development of local versions.

In June 2009, Eric Hippeau, co-managing partner of Softbank Capital, became CEO of HuffPost.

In January 2011, the Huffington Post website received 35% of its traffic from web search engines, compared to 20% at CNN. This strategy appealed to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who tried to implement similar SEO-driven journalism practices at AOL at the time of its acquisition of Huffington Post.

In March 2011, AOL acquired Huffington Post for US$315 million. As part of the deal, Arianna Huffington became president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post and existing AOL properties Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater (now HuffPost Celebrity), AOL Music, AOL Latino (now HuffPost Voices), AutoBlog, Patch, and StyleList.

The Huffington Post subsumed many of AOL's Voices properties, including AOL Black Voices, which was established in 1995 as Blackvoices.com, and AOL Latino, Impact (launched in 2010 as a partnership between Huffington Post and Causecast), Women, Teen, College, Religion, and the Spanish-language Voces (en español). The Voices brand was expanded in September 2011 with the launch of Gay Voices, dedicated to LGBT-relevant articles.

By late 2013, the website operated as a "stand-alone business" within AOL, taking control of more of its own business and advertising operations, and directing more effort towards securing "premium advertising".

In June 2015, Verizon Communications acquired AOL for US$4.4 billion and the site became a part of Verizon Media.

Arianna Huffington resigned to pursue other ventures, and in December 2016 was succeeded as editor-in-chief by Lydia Polgreen.

In April 2017, Polgreen announced the company would rebrand, changing its official full name to HuffPost, with changes also to the design of its website and logo and content and reporting.

On January 24, 2019, 20 employees were laid off as a part of Verizon Media laying off 7% of its staff. The opinion and health sections were eliminated. Pulitzer Prize finalist Jason Cherkis lost his job.

On March 6, 2020, Polgreen announced that she would step down as editor-in-chief to become the Head of Content at Gimlet Media.

In November 2020, HuffPost India shuts down its operation after six years. Although the reasons were not clear but according to some media reports, the new acquisition deal had left out the HuffPost site in India, citing regulatory reasons mandating foreign ownership in Indian Digital Media Industry.

Local editions

  • In Spring 2007, the first local version, HuffPost Chicago was launched.
  • In June 2009, HuffPost New York was launched.
  • HuffPost Denver launched on September 15, 2009
  • HuffPost Los Angeles launched on December 2, 2009
  • HuffPost San Francisco launched on July 12, 2011
  • HuffPost Detroit launched on November 17, 2011
  • HuffPost Miami launched in November 2011
  • HuffPost Hawaii was launched in collaboration with the online investigative reporting and public affairs news service Honolulu Civil Beat on September 4, 2013

International editions

  • On May 26, 2011, HuffPost Canada, the first international edition, was launched.
  • On July 6, 2011, Huffington Post UK was launched.
  • On January 23, 2012, Huffington, in partnership with Le Monde and Les Nouvelles Editions Indépendantes, launched Le Huffington Post, a French language edition and the first in a non-English speaking country.
  • On February 8, 2012, another French language edition was launched in Quebec.
  • On May 1, 2012, a U.S.-based Spanish-language edition was launched under the name HuffPost Voces, replacing AOL Latino.
  • In June 2012, the edition for Spain was launched.
  • On May 6, 2013, an edition for Japan was launched with the collaboration of Asahi Shimbun, the first edition in an Asian country.
  • On September 24, 2013, an Italian edition, L'Huffington Post, was launched, directed by journalist Lucia Annunziata in collaboration with the media company Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso.
  • In June 2013, Al Huffington Post, the third francophone edition, launched for the Maghreb area. On December 3, 2019, the Maghreb edition was closed.
  • On October 10, 2013, Munich-based Huffington Post Deutschland was launched in co-operation with the liberal-conservative magazine Focus, covering German-speaking Europe On January 11, 2018, it was announced that the German language edition would shut down on March 31, 2018.
  • In January 2014, Arianna Huffington and Nicolas Berggruen announced the launch of the WorldPost, created in partnership with the Berggruen Institute. Its contributors have included former British prime minister Tony Blair, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, novelist Jonathan Franzen and musician Yo-Yo Ma.
  • On January 29, 2014, the Brazilian version was launched as Brasil Post, in partnership with Abril Group, the first in Latin America.
  • On February 2014, a Korean language edition was launched in South Korea in partnership with the local liberal-leaning newspaper The Hankyoreh.
  • In September 2014, planned launches were announced for sites for Greece, India, as well HuffPost Arabi, an Arabic version of the website.
  • On August 18, 2015, HuffPost Australia was launched.
  • On November 21, 2016, HuffPost South Africa, the brand's first sub-Saharan edition, was launched in partnership with Media24. The South African edition stopped when the partnership with Media24 ended in 2018.

Criticism and controversy

Unpaid bloggers

The site originally published work from both paid reporters and unpaid bloggers.

In February 2011, Visual Art Source, which had been cross-posting material from its website, went on strike against HuffPost to protest its writers not being paid. In March 2011, the strike and the call to boycott was joined and endorsed by the National Writers Union and NewsGuild-CWA; however, the boycott was dropped in October 2011.

In April 2011, HuffPost was targeted with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit by Jonathan Tasini on behalf of thousands of uncompensated bloggers. On March 30, 2012, the suit was dismissed with prejudice by the court, holding that the bloggers had volunteered their services, their compensation being publication.

In 2015, Wil Wheaton stated that he refused to allow his work to be reused for free on the site.

The practice of publishing blog posts from unpaid contributors ended in January 2018. This transformed the site, which had become notable for featuring extensive sections in a broad range of subjects from a significant number of contributors. Some of the contributors included:

Alternative medicine and anti-vaccination controversy

HuffPost has been criticized for providing a platform for alternative medicine and supporters of vaccine hesitancy. Steven Novella, president of the New England Skeptical Society, criticized HuffPost for allowing homeopathy proponent Dana Ullman to have a blog on the site. In 2011 skeptic Brian Dunning listed HuffPo at #10 on his "Top 10 Worst Anti-Science Websites" list.

Apology by the South African edition

In April 2017, HuffPost South Africa was directed by the press ombud to apologize unreservedly for publishing and later defending a column calling for disenfranchisement of white men which was declared malicious, inaccurate and discriminatory hate speech.

Jeffrey Epstein

In July 2019, HuffPost was criticized for publishing a story written by Rachel Wolfson, a publicist, that praised Jeffrey Epstein. Editors later removed the article at the author's request.

Political stance

HuffPost has been described as a mostly liberal or liberal-leaning outlet.

Commenting in 2012 on increased conservative engagement on the website despite its reputation as a liberal news source, HuffPost founder Arianna Huffington stated that her website is "increasingly seen" as an Internet newspaper that is "not positioned ideologically in terms of how we cover the news". According to Michael Steel, press secretary for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, Republican aides "engage with liberal websites like The Huffington Post [anyway, if for] no other reason than [because] they drive a lot of cable coverage". Jon Bekken, journalism professor at Suffolk University, has cited The Huffington Post as an example of an "advocacy newspaper". The Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto has mockingly referred to it as the "Puffington Host", while Rush Limbaugh has referred to it as the "Huffing and Puffington Post".

During the 2016 United States presidential election, HuffPost regularly appended an editor's note to the end of stories about candidate Donald Trump, reading: "Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims—1.6 billion members of an entire religion—from entering the U.S." After Trump was elected on November 8, 2016, HuffPost ended this practice to “give respect to the office of the presidency.”

Awards

  • Won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 in the category of national reporting for senior military correspondent David Wood's 10-part series about wounded veterans, Beyond the Battlefield.
  • 2010 People's Voice Winner in the 14th Webby Awards. HuffPost lost the 2010 Webby Award jury prize for Best Political Blog to Truthdig.
  • Listed on the 2010 Lead411 New York City Hot 125.
  • Peabody Award in 2010 for "Trafficked: A Youth Radio Investigation."
  • Named 2nd among the 25 Best Blogs of 2009 by Time.
  • Won the 2006 and 2007 Webby Awards for Best Politics Blog.
  • Contributor Bennet Kelley was awarded the Los Angeles Press Club's 2007 Southern California Journalism Award for Online Commentary for political commentary published on the site.
  • Ranked the most powerful blog in the world by The Observer in 2008.
  • Co-founder Arianna Huffington ranked 12th in the 2009 list of the Most Influential Women In Media by Forbes. She was ranked 42nd in the 2009 Top 100 in Media List by The Guardian.
  • Nominated in 2015 for the Responsible Media of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.

External links

Media related to HuffPost at Wikimedia Commons

Uses material from the Wikipedia article HuffPost, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.