Live Blogging Arianna Huffington

by francine Hardaway on October 22, 2008

Arianna Huffington starts off with a riff on Sarah Palin’s red shoes.

And then goes on to entrepreneurship and her company, Huffington Post: where she is now in the digital space and where she is going.
She reminds the audience that you can compare this presidential election to 2004: no YouTube, no HuffPo in 2004. The growth of digital media between 2004 and now makes Obama possible.
Obama would have not been the nominee without digital media; would not have defeated Democratic royalty
Obama beat the Clinton records for fundraising by using the Internet, and then translated the viral to the street. A million people knocking on doors. She tells of meeting Chris Hughes, the young man who left Facebook to run Obama’s digital campaign
Because of the Internet, Rovian politics is over. Rumors can spread, but they will be proven false.
(It’s like Scoble always says: if something appears online and it isn’t corrected in 24 hours, it is probably true.)
There could not be Swiftboating or McCain’s black illegitimate child rumors today. They would be corrected, because bloggers have obsessive-compulsive disorder and sticking to proving rumors false is the key to the Internet success If you are consuming old media, you are consuming it on your couch; if you are consuming new media, you are consuming it on your horse.

How and why did the HuffPo start?
HuffPo was always a news aggregator with a definite point of view
Doesn’t mean being partisan
Does mean being about facts, reality and truth
Her passion was to have a collective blog, and bring interesting people to the online conversation who were not in it right now, either because they are too old or too busy
The first person she asked was Arthur Schlesinger. She taught him to blog. He typed his blog and faxed it to her. She didn’t care if he sent it by pidgeon.
Her editors take faxes, take dictation. Many famous people dictate their blogs.
They have over 2500 bloggers, 2000 of them post themselves
Last month, HuffPo had a million comments, so they have 30 pre-moderated comment moderators in real time. There is no technology to replace this yet
This means there’s a civil environment on HuffPo in which to blog, in which you are not going to be called names by trolls

Why did she start it? She saw when Trent Lott was forced to resign by bloggers how powerful they were, and when she started being interested in blogging.
Now she is opening up new verticals. All the verticals attract new readers. Someone will read a blog by Jamie Lee Curtis, and then come back, or not. 120,000,000 uniques a month. 72% of traffic does not come back,
50% of traffic does not come from politics. Their goal is to keep shifting.
New initiatives: Locals, starting with Chicago. Big news pages
Creation of My Huffington Post: your choices Moving to a social networking platform
Groundrules for HuffPo: if you have a mistake in your blog, you have 24 hours to correct it or your password is withdrawn
Fact-based. No conspiracy theorists

The Future
Always a role for print while people of her generation are alive
Hybrid future. Fact-based, reality based, but not necessarily committed to taking both sides of an issue like the MSM does
Objective journalism is dead. The truth is not in the middle. We should not be debating evolution or the earth is flat. HuffPo is raising more money, for investigative journalism She doesn’t think investigative journalism will die with the near death of print.

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