Arianna Huffington launches news site for the one percent

Arianna Sitting

Are you a member of the ultra rich elite? Ever wished there was a news website written for people like you, by people like you? Good news! Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen are about to launch exactly what you’ve always been looking for in the shape of the World Post.

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The site, which will officially go live during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is apparently set to feature content from the likes of Tony Blair and Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Google’s Eric Schmidt.

Despite its high-profile contributors and ultra-exclusive launch venue, The Guardian quotes Berggruen as saying that the site isn’t just for the elite. “You have to start somewhere,” he said. “A lot of these people are knowledgable. On the other hand you will see a lot of unknown voices, young voices and from places that are not that obvious.”

Huffington said: “You can have all those heads of state and major business people, etcetera etcetera, writing right next to an unemployed man from Spain, a student from Brazil. The great heart of HuffPo is no hierarchy”

The site, which is funded as a 50/50 partnership between Berggruen and Huffington and AOL, will reportedly act as a stand-alone site but will also subsume the role currently played by HuffPo’s world section.

From a business point of view, the site’s owners do intend for it to make World Post profitable, with the Huffington Post taking care of advertising, organising conferences and sponsored content.

That said, Berggruen doesn’t seem too fazed about whether or not the site makes any real profit. “If it doesn’t make money, we will still support it,” he said. “We’re not in it just to make money”.

Huffington however seems to think differently: “It has to be profitable to be sustainable,” she said.

Given her frank stand on the role of aggregation, it’s hardly surprising that Huffington thinks collaboration is another element crucial to the World Post’s survival. According to The Guardian, the World Post’s editorial board includes Juan Luis Cebrian, founding editor of El Pais, Dileep Padgaonkar, consulting editor of the Times of India, Yoichi Funabashi, former editor-in-chief of Asahi Shimbun, and Pierre Omidyar, who recently formed a media venture with Glenn Greenwald.

“Collaboration is the key, especially in the linked economy,” said Huffington. “Recognising that you are not going to do the only good coverage. If you can bring your reader what other good work is being done, you improve their experience. That’s really what the heart of World Post is about.”

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