Civil Beat is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
We’re partnering with The Huffington Post to bring a new expanded news report to Hawaii. You can read all about the thinking behind the new venture, called HuffPost Hawaii, in Civil Beat Publisher Pierre Omidyar’s column here.
But I wanted to explain how it will work and how it will affect Civil Beat when the new site launches later this fall.
We’re still thinking through exactly how Civil Beat will evolve when we have the ability to share our work with millions of new readers worldwide. And, as Pierre explains, taking Hawaii to the world and bringing the world to Hawaii is really one of the great opportunities this partnership offers.
But the two sites will remain separate and distinct.
HuffPost Hawaii will appear as a section of The Huffington Post, similar to the partnerships Huffington Post has created recently with Asahi Shimbun in Japan or Le Monde in France. Those editions pair a strong national news operation with the online publishing giant. The newspapers provide their own content to the HuffPost sites, rounded out by Huffington Post original content and aggregated items from myriad other publications for a thorough and robust news report.
So yes, shorter versions of some — not all — Civil Beat stories and blogs will be available on HuffPost Hawaii. But they will be limited and abbreviated, the sort of reader experience people from outside the state might find interesting and useful. Hawaii readers will likely want more and that’s what Civil Beat will continue to provide.
In exchange, Civil Beat will also be able to run a news feed from Huffington Post. So our readers who want a quick read of stories from Hawaii and beyond should find that expanded news feed much to their liking.
We’ll also be hiring several new journalists to staff HuffPost Hawaii and we’ll need plenty of local bloggers. (Drop me a line if you’re interested.) But Civil Beat writers will remain Civil Beat writers.
I had an opportunity to hear Arianna Huffington speak alongside Pierre at a recent conference in California. I was struck by her characterization of The Huffington Post as not only a journalistic enterprise (it’s really one of the largest news operations in the world) but as a platform that gives a voice to people who otherwise might not have a place to speak out. It’s a powerful thing, she said, to be able to distribute those voices so widely that people all over the world are exposed to new ideas.
That certainly is a vision near and dear to the heart of Civil Beat.
In the last three years, Civil Beat has become a vital source of news and commentary for Hawaii. But we’ve also provided a forum for vibrant community discussion on important issues.
We don’t plan to mess with that formula. Our goal is to beef up those things that our readers have embraced.
The Huffington Post partnership will allow our Civil Beat reporters to focus more sharply on the investigative, watchdog and public affairs reporting that we specialize in. We plan to bolster our in-depth enterprise reports as well as our analysis of developing stories. Expect more commentary, columns and even editorials aimed at advancing community debate. Community Voices will remain an important part of CivilBeat.com.
But we do hope to take advantage of that power of distribution that Arianna described so eloquently.
The Hawaii civic square we established in 2010 on Civil Beat will continue to grow and evolve. In fact, it may even spread around the world, even if it’s just a little bit.
We hope you continue to help us make the journey. Your voice just got louder.
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Patti Epler is the Editor and General Manager of Civil Beat. She's been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, primarily in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington and Arizona. You can follow her on twitter at @PattiEpler, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 808-377-0561.