Site URL: www.HuffingtonPost.com
This is one in a series of site reviews that take a look at how major news Web sites can be used in the classroom. See also reviews of GoogleNews.com, CNN.com, AOL.com, MSN.com, MSNBC.com, FoxNews.com and Yahoo.com.
Content: A mix of professional reporting, aggregation, blogs and unpaid journalism, HuffingtonPost.com has a lot going on. The site has a number of high-end contributors, including celebrities whose work does not appear in other places. There's a lot of good stuff, but it can be a challenge to find. The process by which the site picks its contributors is a mystery. In addition, there's no real way to know if you're reading the work of an acclaimed journalist or a person who knows someone who works at “HuffPo.”
Design: The design looks a lot like a stock news site template. The navigation is busy, but the site usually only features one major story above the fold with two others to the side. The overall look is utilitarian, and the design does little to help you sort through the mass of content.
Review: HuffingtonPost.com has a lot of great stuff including exclusive content and stories not well-reported elsewhere. The challenge can be finding this content. HuffPo does have a small staff of editors and journalists, yet their “vetted” content is not displayed all that differently from articles written by minor journalists, occasional crackpots or various celebrities.
Bottom Line: A fun site to surf around, HuffingtonPost.com would be of moderate usefulness in a classroom setting. A lot of the content goes through no real editing process, and it would be hard for students to separate the real journalism from “journalism lite.” Teachers may have better luck, however, if they’re looking for examples of strong opinion writing or interesting fodder for class debates.
Article by Daniel B. Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
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