Back to its roots: Huffington Post opens in Greece

24/11/2014

Going back to her roots, Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, has launched the Greek edition of the online news publication.

Working in collaboration with 24MEDIA, Greece will be the 12th site in The Huffington Post’s ongoing international expansion, which now represents more than half of the world’s GDP.

The Greek-language site will be established through a collaboration with 24MEDIA, the largest digital media publisher in Greece, backed by a number of prominent Greek financial partners.

Writing in her blog, Huffington said: “Launching HuffPost in Greece is, in many ways, about coming full circle. My father was a serial journalism entrepreneur who launched a succession of small newspaper ventures -- all of which failed. (It's no accident HuffPost is not in print!)”

Editor-in-chief Nikos Agouros comes to HuffPost Greece from the monthly magazine VimaMen, where he served for six years as editor-in-chief. He has lived in Tel Aviv and London (where he studied global media at the London School of Economics and Political Science), has a passion for modern Greek and Middle Eastern history and recharges by hiking in some of Greece's smallest and most remote islands.

Pavlos Tsimas, a renowned political journalist with a 35-year career in print and broadcast media, will be editor-at-large. Despina Trivoli is overseeing lifestyle and culture. Anita Stefanou is the site's general manager, and Tassos Argyros is its sales director. In fact, our site begins with Cosmote, AIG, Neff, Glenfiddich and Honda as our launch sponsors.

In the blog post, Ariana Huffington went on to describe her motivations for getting into journalism:

After my parents broke up when I was 11, I lived with my mother and my sister Agapi in a one-bedroom apartment in Athens. My mother was amazingly committed to making sure my sister and I had the best childhood possible. She would preside over long sessions in our small kitchen, guiding us through our daily problems by discussing Greek philosophy. And, of course, she was always cooking, clearly believing that if you didn't eat something every 20 minutes, something terrible would happen to you.

This was a time when Greek women still needed dowries to get married. So my mother would always say to me, "Your education will be your dowry." And to make that happen, she sold everything she had, including her last pair of gold earrings. That started me on a journey: college at Cambridge, a career as an author, marriage, motherhood, divorce, launching HuffPost. But Greece is where my story began.

Now HuffPost Greece will be telling the stories that matter most in Greece and, just as important, helping Greeks tell their stories themselves. The Huffington Post is both a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism enterprise with investigative reporters all around the world and a platform where people both known and unknown with something interesting to say can say it. And I'm so grateful to be able to bring The Huffington Post to Greece at this very challenging moment in the country's history.

As HuffPost has grown, I have returned over and over in my mind to the traditions and wisdom of my home country. For my Greek ancestors, philosophy was anything but an academic exercise. Asking the question "What is a good life?" was a daily practice in the art of living. This question had to lie at the root of HuffPost's mission to redefine success beyond the first two metrics of money and power to include a third metric, consisting of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

Still, like in many other countries, in Greece today the good life, by any definition, is up against steep challenges. Unemployment was at 26 percent in July, with youth unemployment at a staggering 49 percent. Austerity measures have crippled Greece's economy, while suicide, drug use and overdoses have risen dramatically. The vicious cycle of budget cuts has reduced Greece's ability to help its own most vulnerable citizens, even as their number has multiplied.

But Greece is moving forward. I've witnessed that Greek resilience firsthand many times in my life. In the summer of 2011, I spent many nights in Syntagma Square, directly across from the Greek parliament. The protesting crowd was mixed, full of young people and old, the self-employed, the unemployed, activists and pensioners, demanding the opportunity to live out their own versions of a good life.

That desire is stronger than ever, and the central mission of HuffPost Greece will be to open up the conversation about the ways we can tap into the inner resources we all have. Large-scale institutional changes are of course incredibly important, and we'll be covering those too, but we don't have to wait for them before we initiate change in our own lives right now.
To the Stoics, the most secure kind of happiness could therefore be found in the only thing that we are in sole control of: our inner world. Everything outside us can be taken away, as too many in Greece know full well, so how can we entrust our future happiness and well-being to it? Once we realize that, we can bring about a sense of imperturbability (or ataraxia, as the Greeks called it), and from that place, we can much more effectively and powerfully bring about change in our lives and the world around us.

And now from the Greek Stoic philosophers to our fabulous Greek team. Our editorial director Sophia Papaioannou is a highly respected journalist who brings decades of experience and expertise to her new role. She hosts the weekly show 360 Degrees on ALPHA TV and formerly co-hosted the popular investigative TV program Fakeloi(which translates to "Dossiers"), for which she traveled the world. Her passion for Greece and its history is beautifully captured in her book Hidden in the Aegean, which unravels a true-life mystery about the disappearance of a young Greek man in the 1940s.


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