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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.
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.
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 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.
In Spring 2007, the first local version, HuffPost Chicago was launched.
HuffPost Hawaii was launched in collaboration with the online investigative reporting and public affairs news service Honolulu Civil Beat on September 4, 2013
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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."
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.