Arianna Huffington hosts Q&A session with students

Arianna Huffington Hosts Q&A Session with Students

By Anna Jones

Though many students and guests had the privilege of hearing Arianna Huffington’s speech for the University’s “tech/no” series on Feb. 19, only about 25 students had the chance to get up close and personal with the media powerhouse. When Huffington arrived on campus, she went straight to the Elaine Langone Center to host a question and answer session with students.

Huffington started off the session by joking about the several inches of snow we’d just accumulated. After a few minutes of small talk, she jumped right into the session. The first question was about polling and how Huffington’s views have shifted over time. She answered with an interesting statement about how polling techniques have weakened journalism.

“It’s much easier for a journalist to just stay at their desk and collect the latest polling results instead of doing real research,” Huffington said.

“The response rates [of polls] are plummeting … most people don’t want to spend 20 minutes in the middle of dinner talking to a stranger,” Huffington said. “I would place polls in the same place as horoscopes … have fun and read polls like you have fun and read your horoscope. Few people plan their day based on their horoscopes though.”

Once the ball got rolling with the first question, the Q&A took off. Many students had questions on topics ranging from international media to journalism to career advice.

After a question from Kathleen Lenox ’13 on the Huffington Post in different countries, Huffington began to explain how the Post is run internationally.

“We are now in six countries … [and aside from the UK and Canada] we launched with a media partner … as a joint venture,” Huffington said. “We wanted every edition to be very grounded in the culture of the country … so we hired journalists from that country.”

Next, she fielded questions about technology, emphasizing that technology increases access.

“It can give a voice to people who didn’t have a voice before,” Huffington said. “But there’s something different about being live or in print.”

She continued to explain how easy it is to get caught up in technology and only stare at your computer screen.

Huffington went on to talk about the importance of blogging. Blogging has created a tremendous opportunity for anyone who can produce quality writing. Huffington even told one story about a homeless girl who began blogging and was eventually noticed by Harvard. The university offered her a place all thanks to blogging for the Huffington Post, and she is now a successful young woman.

She wrapped up the talk with a bit of advice when a student asked about how to enter the business of journalism.

“It’s all about doing what you love and working your way up,” Huffington said.

If you missed the speech, check it out online at:

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