She did more than anyone else to invent the Internet news business. After a decade, despite setbacks, she is still setting the pace.
One morning in March, a dozen Huffington Post staff members gathered around a glass table in Arianna Huffington’s office. They had been summoned to deliver a progress report to Huffington, the site’s president, editor in chief and co-founder, on a new initiative, What’s Working. It was created to help the site cover solutions, rather than focusing only on the world’s problems — or as Huffington explained in an internal memo in January, to ‘‘start a positive contagion by relentlessly telling the stories of people and communities doing amazing things, overcoming great odds and facing real challenges with perseverance, creativity and grace.’’
Huffington, who is 64, was getting over a cold, and coughed hoarsely now and then. She sipped a soy cappuccino through a straw as she asked for updates in her purring, singsongy Greek accent. One by one, staff members went through their story lists: corporations with innovative plans to reduce water use, a nonprofit putting former gang members to work, Muslims confronting radicalism. Huffington kept the pace brisk; she sounded like a person in a hurry trying hard to not sound like one. When an editor hashed out ways to present a new, recurring feature called the What’s Working Media Honor Roll — a roundup of similarly positive journalism from other publications — she suggested that he launch first and tinker later.
‘‘I think let’s start iterating,’’ she said. ‘‘Let’s not wait for the perfect product.’’