Media people

Arianna Huffington is done with HuffPo

arianna-huffington-huffpost.jpgHuffington Post

Arianna Huffington plans to leave the Huffington Post, the site she started 11 years ago. She will leave as president and editor-in-chief in the coming weeks to focus on a soon-to-launch startup dedicated to issues of health and wellness, she told the Wall Street Journal. "I really thought I could do both, but as we started building it up, I realized that it really needed my full attention,” she said in an interview. “It is important to know when one door closes and another opens and I felt that moment had arrived.”

The Huffington Post was acquired by AOL Inc. in 2011 for $315 million, and then AOL itself was bought by Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion last year. Huffington signed a new contract last year to stay through 2019. Then two months she announced that she would be launching her new wellness venture.

From the WSJ, which calls HuffPo "one of the largest digital media outlets in the U.S.:"

Ms. Huffington, a Greek native, rose to U.S. prominence in the 1990s as a political commentator. She co-founded the Huffington Post in 2005 along with Kenneth Lerer and Jonah Peretti, all of whom went on to become important figures in the digital media landscape.

Mr. Peretti founded BuzzFeed with the backing of Mr. Lerer who has become a top venture capitalist for many digital media companies and is investing in Ms. Huffington’s new venture.

When the Huffington Post was sold to AOL five years ago, Ms. Huffington was named president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, which took on other AOL media properties like Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone and MapQuest.

But the management structure created tension, and by mid-2012, her portfolio was scaled back and all of the AOL sites aside from Huffington Post were removed from her purview.

In recent years, the Huffington Post has undergone an aggressive global expansion, teaming up with foreign media groups to launch localized versions of the site in 14 countries, such as Greece, the U.K., France and Mexico.

With the site, Ms. Huffington helped pioneer digital-only journalism. The Huffington Post was founded as a liberal alternative to the Drudge Report and quickly rose in prominence as a blogging platform and news aggregator. Ms. Huffington often leveraged her personal relationships to get celebrities and political figures to write columns for the site.

An early collaborator as well was the late Andrew Breitbart, the Westside LA conservative who worked with Matt Drudge and helped advise Huffington at first. He broke with Huffington and later went on to start Breitbart News.

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