Huffington Post Launches Online News Network
AOL’s Huffington Post Media Group on Monday launched HuffPost Live, a new live streaming news network that aims to heavily involve its users in the creation and dissemination of news.
HuffPost Live allows anyone with a smartphone, tablet or Web camera to join the conversations happening around its news items. According to the release, HuffPost Live puts users “on equal footing” with its network of guests, which include celebrities, news pundits, academics and others. To record a video comment, users are asked to explain what makes them “a good guest on this topic” in 140 characters or less, and then supply contact info.
But the news hub is much more than just a repository for video comments. HuffPost Live has a news team that includes ten hosts from a variety of backgrounds including ABC News, Reuters, Al-Jazeera and The Onion, who will be hosting eight hours of live programming coming out of New York and four hours coming out of Los Angeles each weekday from 10 a.m to 10 p.m. EST, with highlights being shown overnight and on weekends. The Huffington Post’s roster of reporters, bloggers and editors will all be an integral part of the programming, too.
Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici calls HuffPost Live “the single biggest initiative the Huffington Post has undertaken since it became part of AOL last year in a $315 million acquisition.” He points out that getting the news network off the ground required the hiring of some 100 producers, camera operators and on-air personnel.
Getting everything to work seamlessly will be difficult, Bercovici, says -- but if it works, HuffPost Live will be like “wandering around MSNBC headquarters in the middle of a busy news day. You can stand and watch a monitor if you like, but you can also wander in and out of production meetings, talk to producers about stories that are coming up, volunteer as a guest for round-table segments and start arguments with your fellow viewers, who are also wandering the sets and green rooms.”
Roy Sekoff, president and co-creator of HuffPost Live and founding editor of the Huffington Post, notes that The Huffington Post’s vibrant commenting community, which generates 2 million comments per day, gave them the idea for HuffPost Live. "On HuffPost, 70% of all comments are responses to other comments,” he said. “Our users are not just commenting on HuffPost. They are having conversations and forming communities around their passions and interests. We decided to double down on engagement and make those conversations the focus of HuffPost Live.”
As Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, says: “The news is no longer about a few people telling everyone else what happened -- it’s about everyone telling everyone what's happening right now.”