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Huffpost UK closes blogging platform with launch of opinion and 'personal' sections

Huffpost UK has closed its blogging platform, which helped define the site’s identity, saying it has become a “distraction” from its original journalism.

Editor-in-chief Jimmy Leach announced today that Huffpost UK has instead launched two new sections for opinion and “personal” content.

In a blog post, Leach (pictured) said the novelty of the Huffpost blog format had gone, adding: “There are, frankly, easier ways for you to get published,” as he pointed writers to free self-publishing platform Medium.

“In the lifetime of HuffPost (née Huffington Post), the brand has changed,” Leach wrote.

“We’ve become a stronger media voice and publishing thousands of blogs has been a distraction from the delivery of impactful, targeted investigations, explainers, breaking news and lifestyle and entertainment journalism.”

Leach also pointed to changes in the digital media landscape and the fact that, when Huffington Post launched in the US 14 years ago, “there was no Medium for self-publishing, no Twitter for amplification, and Facebook looked like the exciting future, and not the jaded behemoth we seem lumbered with today”.

The two new sections will focus on paid commissions, keeping in mind Huffpost’s aim to “broaden the diversity of the writers and the topics covered by the media”, Leach said.

Blogs editor Charlie Lindlar has become commissioning editor for “personal” content while his deputy Lucy Pasha-Robinson is now opinion editor.

The opinion section will be “driving the debate in the key topics of the news agenda” while personal writing will feature first-person pieces on subjects like health, relationships, identity and work.

Existing blogs will remain online and those who have previously written for the section have been informed of the changes.

Huffpost US closed its own contributor platform and launched opinion and personal sections in January 2018. At the same time the UK website introduced changes to its own blogging platform to introduce paid columnists for the first time and bring in an “audience interest test” for content.

Leach joined Huffpost in April with a remit to help the website grow in the UK.

Earlier this month Huffpost UK revamped its lifestyle section with a new design, saying it had refreshed its “approach to life journalism” with a renewed focus on “stories that help you make sense of your life and figure out the way you’d best like to live it”.

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