This story has been updated.
According to theNew York Post, the Huffington Post has shut down its Rise vertical, which produced daily videos each morning focused on wellness and inspiration, as well as uplifting articles. Twenty staffers have been laid off, just before the holidays.
However, The Huffington Post has contested the NYP's reporting, telling Publishers Daily:
"HuffPost Rise is a brand. Its more than just a singular show or a series, but rather, a brand that we apply to multiple different innovative or experimental video offerings. We are not shuttering the brand and are continuing to work on, pursue and explore creative opportunities for Rise as we have always done. No employees were let go and we did in fact renew some contracts for Rise freelancers."
The daily tabloid contended this is likely the first of several sites that will be shuttered as new Huffington Post editor Lydia Polgreen gears up to take the reins in 2017.
Polgreen, who was previously editorial director of NYT Global at The New York Times, is replacing co-founder Arianna Huffington. Huffington left the company this August to launch Thrive Global, a start-up focused on health and wellness.
Tim Armstrong, CEO of Huffington Post parent company AOL, announced last month the company would lay off 500 people, about 5% of its staff. The plan is to shift more resources to mobile, video and data offerings in 2017.
Polgreen previously told the NYT her main challenge is to “get The Huffington Post back in touch with its fundamental roots in reporting.”
Rise was originally an AOL site, but became part of The Huffington Post last year. Editorial director Danny Shea was tapped to oversee the vertical, but he left in June and now works at Thrive. Rise videos performed well on Facebook earlier this year, with more views, shares, likes and comments than other Huffington Post videos posted on its main Facebook page.The NYP claimed the Rise employees who were let go were mostly “permalancers” -- staffers who worked full time at the site, but were technically not full-time employees.