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Huffington Post to launch Korean site with local daily

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Published : 2014-02-26 20:15
Updated : 2014-03-03 14:47

The Huffington Post, a U.S.-based online news provider, will launch its Korean edition in partnership with a local daily, the Hankyoreh, on Friday.

“By joining forces, we will combine Hankyoreh’s independent spirit and history of fighting for press freedom with the power of the HuffPost platform, telling the stories that need to be told and ― just as important ― inviting Koreans to tell their stories themselves,” Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief, said in a statement.

Huffington is set to hold a press conference with CEO Jimmy Maymann in Seoul, Friday.

The Huffington Post, a news site comprised of contributions from unpaid bloggers, boasts a higher traffic than that of the New York Times. The media group has been expanding further after it was sold to AOL for $315 million in 2011. The Korean site will be Huffington’s 11th international operation project.

Huffington’s joint project with Hankyoreh, known as a liberal paper, is generating keen interest in the local news media industry. Korean print newspapers are now trying to attract renders by investing in digital platforms and online news production.

Huffington’s online news management system is widely known to be more advanced than other online media outlets, and attention is placed on whether the joint operation with Huffington would lead to innovative online news production here in a way that shakes up the Korean online news market.

According to Huffington Post Korea, the content of the Korean site will be independent of its U.S. counterpart’s, with the focus primarily on direct submissions by Korean bloggers, and a possibility of some translated material from the U.S. edition.

In an effort to invite Korean contributors to join the site, the Huffington Post Korea is taking new approaches.

The news provider plans to provide a platform where young people from both South Korea and Japan can share their views on developments in their respective nations. Another project is to discover new talented web cartoonists and then host their works on Huffington Post Korea as well as its affiliated sites abroad in a bid to introduce Korean artists in overseas markets.

But it remains to be seen whether Huffington Post Korea can perform in line with heightened expectations, largely because the Korean online news market is peppered with so many quirky differences.

Early this month, the Huffington Post sent a staff member to train Korean journalists to produce online news, and the focus was placed on search engine optimization, especially with Google Korea. The majority of Korean news readers, however, favor local portal Naver over Google.

Huffington Post Korea said it would not pay fees to contributing bloggers, which is already generating buzz among Korean users on social media. 

By Suh Ye-seul (sys@heraldcorp.com)

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