“Today, the infamous blog site, The Huffington Post, launches a UK edition. And I for one am quite excited.
We already have quite a vibrant political news and opinion community in the UK from the usual suspects like national newspapers and broadcast TV through to the recent addition of numerous blogs, social channels and forums.
But I’m hoping the Huffington Post can shake things up a bit, just like it did in the US when it launched in May 2005.
And the early signs are good. A quick look down the front page sees articles from the great and the good of political and cultural life in the UK: Jeremy Hunt, Zac Goldsmith, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Brown, Peter Tatchell and, of course, Alastair Campbell. With over 8,000 bloggers in total, the Huffington Post is a central point for news and opinion across the world.
The Huffington Post has had its fair share of controversy. (Most notably in a spat with the National Writers Union earlier this year over the fact that it doesn’t pay its guest bloggers.) And Arianna Huffington herself is clearly no shrinking violet, which is probably a good thing seeing that her new paymasters are AOL!
In her blog post to launch the new site, Arianna is very clear that the company still has its modern day commitment to real-time, social news:
“And how did Britain also play a key role in the evolution of The Huffington Post? It was July 7, 2005, two months after we’d launched. I was drinking my morning coffee and reading my paper copy of the New York Times, which had a front-page photo of Londoners celebrating the city’s winning bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. It was literally yesterday’s news. In the meantime, HuffPost not only had the bombings as our news splash but our London-based bloggers weighing in with of-the-moment reactions, bringing home the power and immediacy of real-time, social news.
“And these lessons have gone on to become the defining traits of our approach to delivering news, entertainment, opinion, and information. At the core of everything we do are engagement, connection (“social”), and a commitment to real-time coverage.”
So I say ‘welcome to the UK’ and I’ll be keeping a close eye on what the new site has to offer.