Monday, February 7, 2011

Huffington Post Merger: 1+1=11

One marvels how The Huffington Post, which was launched in 2005 with a modest $1 million investment, has now been purchased by AOL for $315 million.

The growth of this online paper in the last five years says a lot about how the platforms for journalism have changed, and this deal charts a course for interesting future developments.

This acquisition puts founder Arianna Huffington in a position overseeing all of AOL's editorial content with the title of president and editor-in-chief of a newly established Huffington Post Media Group.

The online paper has grown to one of the most trafficked websites in the U.S. with 25 million visitors each month. One of The Post’s strengths has been creating an online community of readers with tens of millions of people. Their ability to leave comments on Huffington Post news articles and blog posts and to share them on Twitter and Facebook is an engaging feature.

On her blog Ms. Huffington writes,

"When Kenny Lerer and I co-founded The Huffington Post in May 2005, we had high hopes. But even we would have been hard put to predict that less than six years later we would be able to announce a deal that now makes it possible for us to execute our vision at light speed. AOL is an online pioneer that engenders great trust among its 250 million global users. HuffPost is on the cutting edge of creating news that is social and brings with it a distinctive voice and a highly engaged audience. In this case, 1 + 1 = 11. Far from changing our editorial approach, our culture, or our mission, this moment will be, for HuffPost, like stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet. We're still traveling toward the same destination, with the same people at the wheel, and with the same goals, but we're now going to get there much, much faster."

"By combining HuffPost with AOL's network of sites, thriving video initiative, local focus and international reach, we know we'll be creating a company that can have an enormous impact, reaching a global audience on every imaginable platform," Huffington said.

One area for improvement, however, is to add depth to its content which is often aggregated from other news sources.

In our world of fast jolts, quick sound bites, and pithy news the absolute gold standard remains unchanged: well researched, perceptive, and intelligent journalism.