May 29, 2013

Cross Pierre Omidyar’s serious-minded Honolulu Civil Beat with Arianna Huffington’s traffic-driving wizardry, and what do you get? We’ll soon see this fall with the launch of HuffPost Hawaii, a joint venture the two groups announced today.

Civil Beat will continue as a separate site and editorially manage the collaboration, which will be promoted from the Huffington Post’s main site. Shortened versions of Civil Beat’s investigations and local political coverage will appear on HuffPost Hawaii. The site will also carry broader lifestyle and culture coverage aimed at travelers from both the United States and Japan (where HuffPost has formed another editorial partnership with Asahi Shimbun).

In a promotional video, Huffington said a common denominator between the two online news ventures has been “creating a platform for voices” with diverse contributors and extensive discussion chains. Omidyar said he hopes to draw on the parent Huffington Post’s reporting and commentary to attract local audiences to the new site.

Financial terms of the collaboration were not announced. Civil Beat’s development has been watched closely in part because of its deep-pockets backing from eBay founder-turned philanthropist, Omidyar, who believes such projects should be self-sustaining.

My hunch from afar has been that Civil Beat, which takes no advertising, never quite hit scale with a Hawaii-only audience of subscriber/members, who are granted access to events as well as full run of the site. If further reach is what’s needed, Huffington is a logical partner.

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Rick Edmonds is media business analyst for the Poynter Institute where he has done research and writing for the last fifteen years. His commentary on…
Rick Edmonds

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