Kara Swisher

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HuffPost at One Biiiilllliiion Monthly Page Views: More Buying, More Launching, More Hiring

The Huffington Post Media Group, which says it has topped one billion page views for the month of August, has bought an online grassroots platform called Localocracy.

The price for the site, whose key execs will join the AOL content unit, is under $1 million, said sources close to the situation.

The HuffPost also announced it was hiring Lisa Belkin from the New York Times to be a senior columnist covering parenting and family issues.

The latest hiring and purchase are part of a number of moves at the news and blog site, which has been frantically expanding its offerings since it was acquired by AOL.

That now includes four more sections launching this week — Huff/Post50; HuffPost Gay Voices; HuffPost Weddings; and HuffPost High School — bringing the grand total of new sites to 21 since the Huffington Post officially merged with AOL in March.

“We want to launch sections for every interest and passion our readers have.” said HuffPost head Arianna Huffington in an interview yesterday. “Whatever your interest, we want to provide the latest content and stories and most advanced tools for engagement.”

And, presumably, get the most traffic from it all. Along with the record one billion page views, the site also said it had 37 million unique visitors in August, the largest number it has posted yet, with 5.1 million comments.

Here’s the official press release for the whole kitchen-sink shebang:

The Huffington Post Media Group Makes Key Announcements:

Acquires Localocracy, Pioneering Online Grassroots Platform, and Hires its
Leadership Team: Conor White-Sullivan, Aaron Soules and Jay Boice

Launches Four Huffington Post Sections This Week: Huff/Post50, with Rita Wilson as Editor-at-Large; HuffPost Gay Voices; HuffPost Weddings; and HuffPost High School; Group is latest of 21 new sites since The Huffington Post Merged with AOL in March

Hires Lisa Belkin from The New York Times as Senior Columnist
Covering Parenting, Work/Life Balance, and Family

Announces Record Huffington Post Size and Engagement, with Largest Number of UVs and Comments Ever, and Site Topping 1 Billion Page Views for First Time

New York, NY — October 3, 2011 — The Huffington Post Media Group (“HPMG”), a leading source of news, opinion, entertainment, community and digital information, today makes several key announcements: (1) HPMG is acquiring Localocracy, a groundbreaking online engagement platform enabling citizens to solve problems in their communities, and its founders, Conor White-Sullivan and Aaron Soules, and technology lead, Jay Boice, are joining the Huffington Post Media Group to work on the intersection of editorial and technology, and deepen the sites’ engagement with users; (2) The Huffington Post (“HuffPost”) is launching four sites this week; today, Huff/Post50, with Rita Wilson as editor-at-large; HuffPost Gay Voices; and HuffPost Weddings; tomorrow, HuffPost High School. They are the latest of 21 new verticals since The Huffington Post merged with AOL in March; (4) Lisa Belkin is joining HPMG as Senior Columnist from The New York Times, where she wrote the “Motherlode” blog. She’ll be covering parenting, work/life balance and family; and (5) HuffPost has recently achieved record size and engagement, with its largest number of UVs ever, 37MM*, and greatest number of monthly comments, 5.1MM. In an important milestone, the site also surpassed 1 billion page views for the first time.*

“I’m delighted to announce that Conor White-Sullivan, Aaron Soules and Jay Boice are joining our team,” said Arianna Huffington. “They’re pioneers in using the web to empower citizens to improve their towns, and their unique vision and talents will enable us to deepen our users’ engagement with our sites. We’re also excited to be launching HuffPost/50, HuffPost Gay Voices, HuffPost Weddings and HuffPost High School, the latest sections in our continued effort to provide content, community and a platform for expression for our readers’ every interest and passion. We’re also thrilled to welcome Lisa Belkin, who has built a large following with her writing on parenting and work/life balance issues, and who is a leader in online community building. She’ll be launching her ‘Parentlode’ blog on October 17th.”

Creating and Nurturing Online Communities to Make Lives Better

Localocracy was founded in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 2009 as an online forum encouraging citizens to engage in local issues, share concerns and opinions, and rank problem-solving ideas. Its goal was to surface problems and employ the power of persuasion to spotlight solutions to issues big and small. At HPMG, founders White-Sullivan and Soules will build on their innovative approach to enhancing local democracy while leveraging HPMG’s powerful online community platform to engage its large and networked audience. Also joining the Group from Localocracy is Jay Boice, who will be instrumental in building new technologies to support enhanced online community interaction.

Said Conor and Soules: “What we’ve learned with Localocracy is that by harnessing user-generated content, we’re able to unleash a lot of people power. Our methodology is simple: we believe that everyone is an expert about something, so we want to give voice to that expertise and allow an exchange of ideas for all to see and participate in. We’re excited to be teaming up with The Huffington Post Media Group, a leader in social news and user engagement, and look forward to pushing the boundaries of what can be done when combining journalism and technology for the common good.”

Four New Sites; Four New Communities

The Huffington Post Media Group announces today the launch of four destination sites: Huff/Post50 (www.huffingtonpost.com/50), HuffPost Gay Voices (www.huffingtonpost.com/gay-voices) and HuffPost Weddings (www.huffingtonpost/weddings). Each offers HuffPost’s unique combination of real-time news and opinion, and passionate communities powered by a leading social news platform.

HuffPost/50 — whose Editor-at-Large is actress, producer and writer Rita Wilson — covers the challenges, complexities and joys facing the boomer generation, now 77 million people strong. It spotlights boomers who fearlessly tackle new challenges in the spirit of reinventing themselves, regardless of age, and encourages boomers to question conventional wisdom about aging. Topics being covered include: longevity, relationships and sex, politics, the intense “sandwich” pressure of simultaneously taking care of aging parents and children, retirement, spirituality and religion, friendship, politics and dying.

The site is meant to be thought-provoking yet also humorous and life-affirming, and while encouraging boomers to seize the present, Huff/Post50 welcomes reflection and the sharing of hard-earned wisdom. The site is a rare platform for people 50 and older who want to share what’s on their minds. Bloggers on the section include: Bill Maher, ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour, and musicians Ann and Nancy Wilson.

Said Rita Wilson: “The idea that we boomers are somehow supposed to wind things down as we get older completely escapes me. Exploring the minds and hearts of this group of people is exciting. It’s never too late to mix things up, change your life, to get to what you really should be doing — or want to be doing. As Mark Twain said, ‘Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.'”

HuffPost High School, launching tomorrow, is a place for teens to engage with one another about what’s really happening in their lives — socially, academically, and culturally. The site features some of the nation’s top high school journalists and is a dynamic platform for teen bloggers. It’s a go-to guide for everything teens care about, from college prep, the nuances of social networking, culture, and celebrity gossip to high school sports, comedy, politics, the prom and beyond.

HuffPost Gay Voices, also launching today, covers the complexities of the LGBT community, from family and faith to politics and sexuality. The section covers news, culture, and trends, and offers opinion that spotlights all matters of interest to the LGBT community. The site fearlessly looks at powerful yet silent influences on identity and relationships, such as class, race and religion. HuffPost Gay Voices features everything from travel, style and entertainment to politics, personalities and health. Launch week bloggers include Christine Quinn, Margaret Cho and Bruce Vilanch. The Human Rights Campaign is Gay Voices’ inaugural sponsor.

HuffPost Weddings, the third section launching today, has comprehensive coverage of weddings and marriage from all angles, from untraditional wedding cakes and exotic dream honeymoons, to the more practical, including tips on navigating the world of wedding planners, contemporary wedding etiquette, and more. The site will spark discussions about everything from managing the family politics of inter-faith ceremonies and the nuances of gay weddings to the latest proposal video gone viral. And while HuffPost Weddings is meant as a one-stop-shop of advice with a supportive community for those planning their weddings, it also appeals to a wider audience interested in the culture and mores of modern weddings planning, weddings, and marriage. Bloggers on the site include: Heidi Klum; Kelly Meyer; celebrity wedding planners Mindy Weiss, Sharon Sacks, Preston Bailey, and Colin Cowie; designers Nanette Lepore, Angel Sanchez, Reem Acra; and more.

Rapid HuffPost Expansion; Record Audience and Engagement

The Huffington Post’s rapid expansion has only intensified following its merger with AOL in March. The site recorded its largest number of unique visitors per month last month — 37 million* — and also surpassed 1 billion page views for the first time. In addition, HuffPost’s engaged community continues to grow, posting a record 5.1 million comments in August.

With the four sites launching this week, HuffPost will have debuted 21 sections since the merger, all listed here:

• Huff/Post50
• HuffPost BlackVoices
• HuffPost Canada
• HuffPost Canada Living
• HuffPost Celebrity
• HuffPost Culture
• HuffPost Gay Voices
• HuffPost High School
• HuffPost LatinoVoices
• HuffPost Locals: San Francisco, D.C
• HuffPost Parents
• HuffPost San Francisco
• HuffPost Small Business
• HuffPost Travel
• HuffPost UK
• HuffPost UK Tech
• HuffPost UK Universities & Education
• HuffPost Women
• StyleList
• StyleList Home

(*comScore, Aug. 2011)

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald