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Arianna Huffington talks such quotable copy it is hard to believe she sticks to her own advice to bloggers: “First thoughts are best thoughts”.
The founder of The Huffington Post, the high profile US news web blog, today urged delegates at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival to practice “polyga-media”.
She uses the term for the co-existence of mainstream television and press with user-generated internet content. Online would not replace offline media; she said, but technology allowed publishers and advertisers to become more “interactive and intimate” with audiences.
Ms Huffington said: “Imagine a relationship where only one person did all the talking. How long do you think that would last?”
Contrasting blogs with press and television, she said bloggers should write short, informal, timely pieces, often with a satirical slant. She pointed to the web’s speedy reaction to the accidental shooting of a friend by Dick Cheney, the US vice-president.
“Why wait until 11 O’clock to see John Stewart on The Daily Show, (the nightly US current affairs satire), when you can go online? We had comments, songs, videos on the site within a few hours.”
A comment from the Bush administration that the Iraq insurgency was “in its last throes” deserved to be “satirised in real time” she said to applause from the polyglot audience.
Bloggers to the Huffington Post were encouraged to write about “obsessions” whereas print editors wanted columnists to vary themes, she said. An example was the site’s coverage of Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter in the row over the leaking of a CIA agent’s name.
Ms Huffington said: “I was posting comments twice a day - sometimes three. I could not do that in a newspaper column. My editor would have said “This is enough about Judy Miller”. It was not enough until Judy Miller had resigned!”
Describing her site, which is currently running ads from JWT, the ad agency, as profitable, she said blogs would need to be funded by advertising as web users were unlikely to pay for content outside areas such as finance and porn.
“Particularly weird porn. They pay more for that. I don’t know why. Maybe they can’t get it at home.”
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