NEW YORK – When Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, announced in September her plans to launch a Greek language edition of The Huffington Post in collaboration with 24MEDIA, the largest digital media publisher in Greece, many Greek-Americans were happy both for Greece and the media mogul.
The National Herald asked Huffington how she feels about the venture. “Launching HuffPost in Greece is, in many ways, about coming full circle. My father was a serial journalism entrepreneur who launched a succession of small newspaper ventures – all of which failed. (It’s no accident HuffPost is not in print!) He often quoted to me his favorite story of the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who was asked why he kept begging from statues. ‘I’m practicing disappointment,’ he replied. So you might say that HuffPost Greece is following in my paternal footsteps – only without Diogenes! I hope he would be proud.”
Diaspora Greeks know that the Greek media deserve a share of the blame for their homeland’s current malaise and suffering, so they are pleased that the Huffington Post, a Pulitzer Prize-winning source of breaking news, features, and entertainment, will become part of the media mix there.
The venture, which is backed by a number of prominent Greek financial partners, may prove a game changer for Greece, joining The National Herald as a credible source of news and commentary run by a Diaspora Hellene.
Told HuffPost Greece could be revolutionary for the country, Huffington said to TNH, “I’m so grateful to be able to bring The Huffington Post to Greece at this moment. As both a journalistic outlet and a blogging platform, we will be telling the most important stories in Greece, and — just as important – helping people throughout Greece tell their stories themselves.”
“We’ll be bringing our hybrid approach of original reporting and an inclusive blog platform to tell the stories that matter most and – just as important – help people throughout Greece tell their stories themselves, in words, in pictures and in video. For me, launching HuffPost in Greece is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with a country that has given so much to me,” Huffington added in a news release.
Recruiting the right people is critical. Huffington told TNH they are assembling “a team that will bring the HuffPost DNA to Greece. Our content strategy is local – with topics and coverage for Greek audiences – across general news, lifestyle, and entertainment.”
Among her partners are “Petros Pappas, the Latsis family, Dimitris Maris and Evgenia Chandri. “We’ve assembled a consortium of partners in Greece, all of whom believe in creating a new venture in Greece’s growing digital economy,” she said.
“When we began our international expansion more than three years ago,” she said, “I knew that one day HuffPost’s own odyssey – to borrow from one of my compatriots – would lead us to Greece. And I couldn’t be happier that that day has finally come.”
“HuffPost Greece is the latest addition to The Huffington Post’s integrated global newsroom, which has hundreds of editors who collaborate in real-time to create content in eight languages using a custom unified tech platform and will cover 14 markets by the end of January 2015…Nearly 50 percent of HuffPost’s Traffic Now Comes from Outside the United States…its growing international presence…covers more than half of the world’s GDP,” according to the release.
HuffPost India will also debut in November 2014 and HuffPost Arabic in January.
The timing could be very good from a business standpoint. Jimmy Maymann, Chief Executive Officer of the Huffington Post, said “With the Greek economy seeming to have turned a corner in 2014 and with real GDP forecast to grow more than 6% over the next two years, this is an exciting time to be launching our Greek edition.”
The possibility of early elections raises questions about that forecast, but renewed political and economic turmoil would only serve to heighten the new venture’s importance to Huffington’s homeland.