Arianna Huffington is excited about the recent launch of Huffington Post in South Africa, and believes the publication will allow South Africans to share their news and become part of the story. "I think that's what creates the magic of HuffPost," she told HuffPost SA editor-in-chief Verashni Pillay when she was in the country recently to speak at the Discovery Leadership Summit.
She said coming to South Africa was particularly special for Huffington Post as the company's CEO Jared Grusd was born here.
She acknowledged that the news business was a tough one to be in. "I love the line of [musician] will.i.am. He said news used to be consumed on the couch, and now It's consumed as you're galloping on a horse!" Huffington is the founder and former editor of the Huffington Post. She left the organisation earlier this year to launch her wellness start-up, Thrive Global.
She launched her namesake site in 2005, following the re-election of George W. Bush and as the war raged on in Iraq. What began as a left-leaning answer to the Drudge Report, comprised primarily of aggregation and blog posts from friends, morphed over the years into a major news organization and digital media company that's expanded into 16 countries, with South Africa the latest edition. It recently drew nearly 200 million monthly unique visitors globally, the site reported recently.
The Huffington Post has been a disruptive force in the news business over the past decade. The company has grown significantly since its early days, now boasting around 850 employees worldwide, and management has put significant resources into original reporting and video, with the site winning numerous journalism awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.