The Huffington Post introduces a brand new feature today. It’s “HuffPost Hill”, a daily newsletter which aims to whisk readers into evening with a free, modern, e-mail version of an evening newspaper. It harkens back to an era that publication editors believe still ought to exist.
In the works for about a year, HuffPost unveils “HuffPost Hill” this evening, between 5p.m. and 6 p.m. daily, encapsulating the day’s missed events and the day ahead in a 2,000-word feature sent to your e-mail doorstep. It won’t be fancy graphically – no pictures, no graphics – the writing is meant to be lively and conversational with the promise of catchy headlines. Nora McAlvanah, former editor of NJ’s Wake-Up Call and Last Call, helped create it.
Content will be geared toward the Capitol Hill staffer, White House aide and anyone interested in that world. There will be news of unusually-themed fundraisers, embassy parties, free parties, Hill birthday celebrations, and who’s dating whom (as long as it’s someone we all care about).
HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington won’t say the feature is a take off Politico Mike Allen’s “Playbook,” but she won’t run from the possibility. “I personally love reading Mike Allen in the morning,” Huffington told FishbowlDC last Friday, referring specifically to Allen’s “Playbook” feature that lands the publication a daily spot on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” She isn’t thinking too long-term about the feature, but she believe it’s important: “We used to have an afternoon newspaper,” she said of the newspaper industry.
Huffington said the writing needs to “lively and breezy”, and the “kind of stuff you talk about at dinner.” She said it won’t be just like Allen’s “Playbook” but will fill what they consider to be the afternoon gap.
National Editor Nico Pitney came up with the idea. At the helm of the operation is chief congressional correspondent Ryan Grim, who will edit the feature. “It’ll be like an evening newspaper [for people to] read on their way home,” said Grim.
Pitney will contribute to the project as will a variety of HuffPost scribes such as White House correspondent Sam Stein , K Street reporter Arthur Delaney, senior Washington correspondent Dan Froomkin and media editor Jason Linkins.
In Grim’s charges will be the newly hired Eliot Nelson, 23. Nelson has experience in satirical writing – which is what HuffPost appears to be looking for in this feature.
Pitney and Grim tested Nelson rigorously, giving him little guidance. They were pleased with the results, said Grim.
Nelson has worked for unknown online venues such as Yankee Pot Roast and McSweeny’s. He has interned at ABC News and Bloomberg and most recently, in the Whip office of South Carolina Democratic leader, James Clyburn.
Sign up for “HuffPost Hill” here.