The Huffington Post is not known for in-depth news reporting, relying instead on saturating their readership with short news pieces, lots of info-taintement, and a healthy dollop of sensationalism. But in the Huffington news empire, there are hundreds of writers, many with serious cred. The site even won a Pulitzer last year and believe it or not, The Huffington Post publishes a decent amount of longform journalism. For those who want to find the meat without scrolling through the endless clutter, Arianna Huffington and AOL have launched a subscription magazine called Huffington. That period is spoken aloud by the way, as in “Huffington. Period.”
The magazine is for iPad only via Newsstand at $0.99 an issue, $1.99 a week or $19.99 a year. That buys you a weekly magazine that Ms. Huffington promises will have:
…sophisticated design, stunning photographs and video, typography that’s sharper than any print publication, and rich, colorful full-screen ads that are far away from the maddening crowds of banner ads, pop-ups, and drop-downs.
Is that promised fulfilled? The answered is a qualified yes.
For content, Huffington. uses its staff of journalists largely reprinting news from The Huffington Post. Like the Conde Nast magazines it uses a swipe down for more, swipe left to turn the page navigation system, with easy commenting, lots of social media integration, and a few interactive goodies. Each issue will feature three longform stories by their most lauded writers, with a word count of 4,000-8,000 words.
Personally, I am not in love with some of the typography choices, but the text is crisp and easy to read. The magazine looks good, and certainly has the best of what The Huffington Post covers between its virtual pages. Navigation is a little labyrinthine, and the adverts are full-page and glossy.
Huffington. delivers – the launch issue has an interesting piece “End of the Affair” on Obama’s relationship with young voters by Peter Goodman and a great look at the indie movie industry by Michael Hogan surrounded by short topical pieces. That said, there’s really nothing novel here. The magazine looks better than its cousin Distro by Engadget and AOL, but hardly reinvents, or even reinvigorates, the news weekly.
The big question is, are Huffington Post readers, or news junkies in general, going to pay for what they can get for free on the web? Like all of Ms. Huffington’s news endeavours, this magazine is an aggregation more than an innovation. With respected weeklies like Time and The Economist available on iPad, along with lighter fare like The Daily or The Week Magazine US (which is currently free, courtesy of Rolex), it seems like a tough sell. But underestimating Ms. Huffington’s media mogul aspirations has never been a safe bet either. With some fine-tuning and enough hype, Huffington. is likely to stick around.
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