HuffPo UK wins readers but not media pundits

Huffington Post UK celebrated its first birthday last month and is apparently going from strength to strength.

It claims to attract 3.5m unique visitors a month, up from 1.3m last August, 100,000 comments a day and it also boasts a 79 per cent increase in the amount of time users spend on it.

But the jury is out on whether it has established its credentials journalistically.

Editor Carla Buzasi told Press Gazette: 'We've taken our fair share of flak but I've got friends and contacts across the big newspapers who are intrigued about what we do. What's great is we link to these different news websites and they're seeing traffic flow from us now."

However, Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade has his doubts. He said: 'There are so many good outlets in this country already – look at our national newspapers – and it really is marginal when you consider what else is on offer."

The Independent's long-serving media editor, Ian Burrell, is similarly sceptical about the appeal of HuffPo UK: 'The site looks nice enough but the content is often fluffy,'he said. 'It can feel like a dumping ground where PRs can place authored pieces that wouldn't make it onto the comment pages of the nationals.

'On the up side, it's giving a platform to bloggers and new voices that are squeezed out by more traditional news brands."

He continued: 'In terms of original content, HuffPo UK is very ambitious and tries to cover all subject areas. They've not built a name for having specialist knowledge of any one area and they haven't broken any agenda-setting stories in their first year that I've noticed.

'The most notable one was the Tottenham Court Road security alert – but that took place literally on their doorstep."

Asked about whether the site has yet established a reputation for breaking original news, Buzasi said: 'That side of things has really taken off. We had one just yesterday with an MP talking about child exploitation – people are really coming to us now.'

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