The Huffington Post and El Pais announced this morning that they are partnering up to produce El Huffingtion Post, a local Spanish edition of the popular news-aggregation site.
The deal was closed on Thursday and was announced today by Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, and Juan Luis Cebrián, president of El País and CEO of Prisa, the media organisation that owns the Spanish daily.
"El Huffington Post will combine the local editorial expertise of El País, the leading Spanish newspaper and one of the most widely-respected global news dailies, with The Huffington Post's pioneering combination of original reporting, aggregation, a leading-edge commenting forum and dynamic social engagement tools," announced the press release.
It's easy to see how the deal will be mutually beneficial for both parties; the partnership allows the HuffPo to capitalize on the strength of a respected brand to support its expansion abroad, while El Pais benefits from the HuffPo's online expertise and mass audience.
In an article analysing the deal, Capital New York notes that the partnership is significant, since the HuffPo's relationship with comparable media in the US has been "contentious", due to the its traffic-grabbing aggregation practices. "It would be hard to imagine The Huffington Post shacking up with, say, The New York Times," writes author Joe Pompeo.
Yet the move seems to be part of a new pattern now for the ever-growing HuffPo, which announced in October that it would be partnering with Le Monde Group and Les Nouvelles Editions Indépendante to produce a French edition. Canadian and UK versions of the site were also launched this year, and a French Canadian edition is planned for 2012.
What's more, the site is getting serious about its own content. El Huffington Post will not only host aggregated material, but will also feature original editorial content produced by a network of journalists and bloggers. A team of journalists is currently being hired.
Talking to Capital New York, Arianna Huffington said that El Huffington Post was going to be "very, very rooted in Spanish culture and politics, but with The Huffington Post template of curation, original reporting and blogging."
However, the press release promises "an international Spanish-language version of The Huffington Post", indicating that the new edition won't just be for readers in Spain, but will also open the possibility of expanding the site's audience across the Americas. Huffington confirms this later in the Capital New York interview, seeing El Pais's "huge credibility across the Spanish-speaking world" as a chance for the HuffPo to grow further.
Together with the projected French Canadian Edition, the move means that the Huffington Post brand could effectively extend right across three continents.