The Huffington Post was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet, blog, and an alternative to news aggregators such as the Drudge Report. On February 7, 2011, AOL acquired The Huffington Post for US$315 million, making Arianna Huffington editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. The site later became part of Verizon Media, a predecessor of which purchased AOL on May 12, 2015 for US$4.4 billion.
In July 2012, The Huffington Post was ranked No. 1 on the 15 Most Popular Political Sites list by eBizMBA Rank, which bases its list on each site's Alexa Global Traffic Rank and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast. By March 2020, the HuffPost's Alexa ranking had declined to number 719.
In 2012, The Huffington Post became the first commercially run United States digital media enterprise to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Prior to The Huffington Post, Huffington hosted the website Ariannaonline.com. Her first foray into the Internet was the website Resignation.com, which called for the resignation of President Bill Clinton and was a rallying place for conservatives opposing Clinton.
Following the site's acquisition by Verizon, in August 2016, Arianna Huffington stepped down from her longtime role as editor-in-chief to pursue other ventures, and in December of that year was officially succeeded by Lydia Polgreen.
In April 2017, Polgreen announced the company would rebrand, changing its name to HuffPost and unveiling significant changes to the design of its website and logo. Polgreen also stated that the redesign would be accompanied by changes in the site's content and reporting.
In approximately June 2007, the site launched its first local version, HuffPost Chicago. In June 2009, HuffPost New York was launched, followed shortly by HuffPost Denver which launched on September 15, 2009, and HuffPost Los Angeles which launched on December 2, 2009. In 2011, three new regional editions were launched: HuffPost San Francisco on July 12,HuffPost Detroit, on November 17, and HuffPost Miami in November.HuffPost Hawaii was launched in collaboration with the online investigative reporting and public affairs news service Honolulu Civil Beat on September 4, 2013.
The Huffington Post launched its first international edition, HuffPost Canada, on May 26, 2011. On July 6 of the same year, the Huffington Post UK launched its UK edition. On January 23, 2012, Huffington, in partnership with Le Monde and Les Nouvelles Editions Indépendantes, launched Le Huffington Post, and the launch of French-language edition is the first in a non-English speaking country.
On February 8, another French language edition was launched in the Canadian province of Quebec. On May Day, a U.S.-based Spanish-language edition was launched under the name HuffPost Voces, replacing AOL's Hispanic news platform, AOL Latino. The following month an edition for Spain was announced, as was one for Germany. On September 24, an Italian edition, L'Huffington Post, was launched, directed by journalist Lucia Annunziata in collaboration with the media company Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso. On May 6, 2013, an edition for Japan was launched with the collaboration of Asahi Shimbun, the first edition in an Asian country. With the launch of Al Huffington Post, there is a third francophone edition, this time for the Maghreb area. On October 10, Munich-based Huffington Post Deutschland has been put online in co-operation with the liberal-conservative magazine Focus, covering German-speaking Europe. In January 2014, Arianna Huffington and Nicolas Berggruen announced the launch of the WorldPost, created in partnership with the Berggruen Institute. Its contributors have included former British prime minister Tony Blair, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, novelist Jonathan Franzen and musician Yo-Yo Ma. On January 29, 2014, the Brazilian version was launched as Brasil Post, in partnership with Abril Group, the first in Latin America. In September 2014, The Huffington Post announced they will launch in Greece, India, and introduce HuffPost Arabi, an Arabic version of the website. On August 18, 2015, HuffPost Australia was launched.The Huffington Post planned to launch a Chinese version in 2015 but not yet (as of 2019) launched. Due to strict media controls, the content of Chinese version would not include serious news report, only entertainment and lifestyle. On November 21, 2016, HuffPost South Africa was launched, the brand's first sub-Saharan edition. In April 2017, HuffPost South Africa was directed by the press ombud to apologize unreservedly for publishing and later defending a column calling for disenfranchisement of white men which was declared malicious, inaccurate and discriminatory hate speech.
Several major editions, most notably South Africa's and Australia's, have ceased providing new content. It was announced on Friday January 11, 2018 that the German language edition would shut down on March 31. On December 3, 2019, the Maghreb edition was closed.
In 2011, after its purchase by AOL, The Huffington Post subsumed many of AOL's Voices properties (including AOL Black Voices, which had originally independently established in 1995 as Blackvoices.com, and AOL Latino). The Voices brand was expanded in September 2011 with the launch of Gay Voices, a vertical dedicated to LGBT-relevant articles. Other established sections, such as Impact (launched in 2010 as a partnership between Huffington Post and Causecast),Women, Teen, College, Religion, and the Spanish-language Voces (en español) are also sorted under the Voices meta-vertical.
By late 2013, however, The Huffington Post was taking steps to operate as more of a "stand-alone business" within AOL, taking control of more of its own business and advertising operations, and directing more effort towards securing "premium advertising".
Twenty employees were cut from The Huffington Post on January 24, 2019 as a part of Verizon Media, the parent company, laying off seven percent of its staff. The laying-off of HuffPost employees resulted in the complete elimination of the opinion and health sections. Pulitzer Prize finalist Jason Cherkis lost his job in the cuts.
The site historically published work from both paid staff writers and reporters, and unpaid bloggers. The practice of publishing blog posts from unpaid contributors engendered some public controversy. In January 2018, the site ended the practice of publishing posts from unpaid bloggers, instead launching "personal" and "opinion" sections intended to feature pieces from paid contributors.
Celebrities were allowed to use the site's former blogging system, and a number opted to do so over the years. In many cases, such as that of Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, content was cross-posted among multiple sites.
The site has also published columns by specialists in fields such as Cenk Uygur and Anand Reddi on global health issues, Alice Waters on food, Taryn Hillin who is the Associate Editor of Weddings and Post Divorce, Harold Katz on dental health, Suzie Heumann on sex, Diane Ravitch on education, Frances Beinecke and Phil Radford on climate change and the environment, Jacob M. Appel on ethics, Howard Steven Friedman on statistics and politics, Auren Hoffman on business and politics, Jon LaPook on medicine, Cara Santa Maria on science, Nancy Rappaport on child psychiatry, and Iris Krasnow on marriage. Colon cancer survivor and awareness advocate Eric Ehrmann, one of the original contributors to Rolling Stone in 1968, has been part of HuffPo's group of bloggers since 2009, posting independent political commentary on The Huffington Post, The Huffington Post UK, Le Huffington Post, El Huffington Post, and Al Huffington Post Maghreb. It publishes scoops of current news stories and links to selected prominent news stories. Author and former Hollywood story analyst Julie Gray writes for the Post. Michal Shapiro, former Director of Music Videos, LINK TV, has covered "world music" for the "Post" since April 11, 2010.
On February 17, 2016, it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, would guest edit a series of articles as part of a collaboration designed to improve and better understand mental health issues affecting young people.
On April 9, 2016, American Sleep Association (ASA) and The Huffington Post announced a partnership to increase awareness about the importance of sleep and the dangers of sleep disorders. Through the collaboration, ASA shared information and resources relating to sleep information between the two platforms.
The Huffington Post's OffTheBus is an online news organization using unpaid student journalists from New York University (NYU).The Huffington Post's FundRace is a website that tracks contributions to the presidential campaigns and includes a mapping feature that shows contributions broken down by city, neighborhood, and block.
In December 2008, The Huffington Post announced that it had secured US$25 million from Oak Investment Partners and that the money would be used for technology, infrastructure, investigative journalism, and development of local versions. Oak partner Fred Harman joined the website's board of directors at that time. Previous investors SoftBank Capital and Greycroft Partners continued also to be involved in the business.
On February 7, 2011, AOL announced it would acquire The Huffington Post for US$315 million. As part of the deal, Arianna Huffington became president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, including The Huffington Post and existing AOL properties Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater (now HuffPost Celebrity), AOL Music, AOL Latino (now HuffPost Voices), AutoBlog, Patch, and StyleList.
The site has now[when?] invested in user-generated content model via video blogging, audio and photo content posted directly on the site.
In February 2011, Visual Art Source, which had been cross-posting material from its website, went on strike against The Huffington Post. In March 2011, the strike and the call to boycott The Huffington Post was joined and endorsed by the National Writers Union (NWU) and the Newspaper Guild (TNG) The boycott was dropped in October 2011.
In April 2011, The Huffington Post was targeted with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed in United States District Court in New York by Jonathan Tasini on behalf of thousands of uncompensated bloggers. The suit was dismissed with prejudice on March 30, 2012, by the court, holding that the bloggers had volunteered their services, their compensation being publication.
Wil Wheaton refused to allow his work to be reused for free on the site, commenting "the company can absolutely afford to pay contributors. The fact that it doesn't, and can get away with it, is distressing to me."
An early HuffPost strategy was crafting search engine optimized stories and headlines based around trending keywords, such as "What Time Is the Super Bowl?" In January 2011, HuffPost received 35 percent of their traffic from search engines, compared to CNN.com's 20 percent. This strategy appealed to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who tried to implement similar SEO-driven journalism practices at AOL at the time of their acquisition of HuffPost.
Alternative medicine and anti-vaccination controversy
Dana Ullman, a notorious homeopathy apologist, actually has a regular blog over at HuffPo. For those of us who follow such things, the start of his blog there marked the point of no return for the Huffington Post – clearly the editors had decided to go the path of Saruman and "abandon reason for madness." They gave up any pretense of caring about scientific integrity and became a rag of pseudoscience.
In 2019, the New York Times reported that Huffpost had published stories written by Jeffrey Epstein's publicists. The Huffpost article in question was written by Rachel Wolfson, then a regular contributor of the site; editors later removed the article at the author's request.
Commenting in 2012 on increased conservative engagement on the website despite its reputation as a liberal news source, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington stated that her website is "increasingly seen" as an Internet newspaper that is "not positioned ideologically in terms of how we cover the news". According to Michael Steel, press secretary for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, Republican aides "engage with liberal websites like The Huffington Post [anyway, if for] no other reason than [because] they drive a lot of cable coverage". Jon Bekken, journalism professor at Suffolk University, has cited The Huffington Post as an example of an "advocacy newspaper".The Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto has mockingly referred to it as the "Puffington Host," while Rush Limbaugh has referred to it as the "Huffing and Puffington Post."
During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Huffington Post regularly appended an editor's note to the end of stories about candidate Donald Trump, reading: "Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims—1.6 billion members of an entire religion—from entering the U.S." After Trump was elected on November 8, 2016, The Huffington Post ended this practice.
In 2012, The Huffington Post won the Pulitzer Prize in the category of national reporting for senior military correspondent David Wood's 10-part series about wounded veterans, Beyond the Battlefield.
The Huffington Post is 2010 People's Voice Winner in the 14th Webby Awards and is the Winner in Lead411's New York City Hot 125. The Huffington Post lost the 2010 Webby Award jury prize for Best Political Blog to Truthdig.
The Huffington Post received a Peabody Award in 2010 for "Trafficked: A Youth Radio Investigation."
The Huffington Post was named second among the 25 Best Blogs of 2009 by Time.
The Huffington Post won the 2006 and 2007 Webby Awards for Best Politics Blog.
The Huffington Post contributor Bennet Kelley was awarded the Los Angeles Press Club's 2007 Southern California Journalism Award for Online Commentary for political commentary published on the site.
The Huffington Post was ranked the most powerful blog in the world by The Observer in 2008.
The Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington was named in 2009 as number 12 in Forbes' first ever list of the Most Influential Women In Media. The same year, she was ranked as number 42 in The Guardian's Top 100 in Media List.
^"Julie Gray". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2014. A Hollywood refugee living in the Middle East, Julie Gray has authored two books and is working on a memoir. A former Hollywood story analyst who has taught at Warner Bros., Julie now works with entrepreneurs, writers and innovators worldwide-to shape narrative, edit stories and bridge the gap between art and commerce.
^"Get Off the Bus". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved March 7, 2009. OffTheBus (OTB) was a citizen-powered campaign news site co-sponsored by The Huffington Post and Jay Rosen's NewAssignment, at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.