This is not an exit

Impressions: The Huffington Post’s new section

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm

 

The Huffington Post’s newest section will focus on an issue that one in every two married couples in America faces.

Divorce.

That’s right, the Huffington Post’s newest section deals with broken families. Or should they even be called that?

This, I think is the purpose of the section:  to address divorce as a larger social issue. After all, it is widely known that nearly half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. You’ve got a pretty substantial reader base there.

The New York Times points out that there’s myriad sections in newspapers and magazines that celebrate marriage and the steps leading up to it. So why not address divorce?

If you look at it strictly from a business standpoint, it’s brilliant. How many other outlets do people have to turn to for advice on how to handle the subject aside from specialty publications that sit in your doctor’s/dentist’s/psychologist’s office?

The coverage that divorce issues get in mainstream publications is pretty scant.

The section has a good focus and excellent mission. It’s got a target audience and it’s an under-served one, at that. After all, when you’re dealing with an issue as widespread and common as divorce, there’s got to be some dialogue to help people deal with its repercussions, be it social or economic.

As my news and editorial adviser at The Torch reminds me every time we talk about demographics and reader markets, the current editor and publisher of The Oregonian substantially increased readership at The Orange County Register by creating a mall beat.

No joke.

To this day, Orange County Retail, a section of the Register, is a regular feature of the paper and has a strong online presence. So this new divorce section is kind of like that for the Huffington Post. It’s a niche market that nobody’s thought to cater to — at least not on this scale — until now.

Now, from a journalistic perspective, I was surprised to discover that nobody — again, at least not on this scale — has thought of incorporating regular features on divorce into their main product. After all, the National Center for Health Statistics reports that, yes, if you ever find yourself in a room with 10 newlywed couples, chances are that, at some point, five of those couples will no longer be together.

Why that department is a branch of the Centers for Disease Control is beyond me, but since when do federal bodies make sense, anyway?

So the Huffington Post is addressing an issue that more than 1 million people per year will deal with at some point. Sounds like responsible journalism to me.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the Huffington Post’s new section?

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