News website The Huffington Post has arrived in Australia as the 15th news platform in its growing global network, partnering locally with Fairfax Media.
HuffPost has the largest news audience in the US with 214 million unique visitors per month.
“HuffPost Australia will be dedicated to producing great original reporting about the critical issues that Australians face, and to telling stories that focus on helping Australians live more fulfilling lives, while opening up our blogging platform to voices from all across the country to start a conversation on the topics that matter to Australians most,” founder Arianna Huffington said at the time of launch.
Former journalist and News Corp editor Tory Maguire has been appointed Huffington Post Australia inaugural editor and will oversee a team of staff based in Sydney with many of them coming from Fairfax’s various titles. Other high profile hires have been made including former ABC and SBS political editor Karen Barlow.
HuffPost utilises a lot of contributed content from bloggers on a variety of topics and has been criticised heavily for not paying them but rather offering them ‘exposure’.
Dee Madigan, creative director, Campaign Edge told ABC Lateline she was sent an email by The Huffington Post’s blogging platform asking if she would contribute in return for “exposure”.
“They said, ‘We don’t pay, we’ll give you really good exposure’,” Madigan told Lateline.
“I’m a professional writer. This is how I make my living. I can’t pay my mortgage with exposure.”
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy has indicated that any journalist who was approached to write for HuffPost should be paid.
The reality of course is that there will be many contributors happy to supply original stories and opinion free of charge to build their profile and utilise the site’s reach.
Others welcome the competition and the extra hiring of local journalists at the site. With the general culling of journalists which has happened over a period of time it is a good thing to see new opportunities for professional writers created in Australia.
Fairfax will bolster the operation in Australia also with advertising sales and technical support.
Other international news organisations have already established their Australian presence including Guardian Australia, Daily Mail Australia and Buzzfeed Australia.
Arianna Huffington, also a prolific author, was a conservative commentator before engaging in liberal politics and starting The Huffington Post in 2005. Of Greek background she has lived in Great Britain before moving to the U.S. At one stage she ran for the California governorship against Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arianna Huffington image from bandt.com.au