News Sites Emphasize Sloths, Social Good

News Sites Emphasize Sloths, Social Good

A “help wanted” posting by an executive editor at The Huffington Post caught my eye recently.

Few news organizations have keener insights into the type of content that compels readers to click and share, so the fact that HuffPost is beefing up its “Good News” section is indeed good news for CSR and sustainability communicators.

“Do you communicate with your friends in GIFs? Do you have airtight journalism standards? Can you write both fast and accurately? Is making a difference important to you? Love sloths? Then this job is for you,” wrote Jessica Prois, executive editor of HuffPost Impact and HuffPost Good News.

The Huffington Post is part of AOL, which was purchased by Verizon last summer for $4.4 billion. Layoffs were announced a few weeks ago at HuffPost Live, a video streaming division that failed to draw large audiences.  By contrast, the performance of HuffPost as an online news destination is impressive, scoring third place behind Yahoo News and Google News in January, with an estimated 110 million unique monthly visitors, according to the eBizMBA Ranking.

One early indicator that HuffPost was serious about increasing social impact coverage was the May hire of Jo Confino to the title of executive editor of Impact & Innovation, and editorial director of What's Working. He had been chairman and executive editor at Guardian Sustainable Business.

HuffPost is not alone in dedicating editorial resources for coverage of social good – a trend that CSR and sustainability communications professionals should note.

At Mashable, Social Good Editor Matt Petronzio’s recent story topics have included Facebook’s ban of anti-refugee hate speech, initiatives aimed at getting girls to learn computer coding, and a year-end roundup of “world-changing innovations.

The New York Times launched a business section featured called Revalued in 2015, written by David Gelles and dedicated to “examining progressive values in the business world.”  The journalist, who also authored a book on the increasing use of meditation by C-suite executives, has both lauded examples of good corporate citizenship and lambasted companies he perceives as greenwashers.

At Fast Company, a regular feature called Co.Exist is edited by Morgan Clendaniel. Subject matter in recent weeks has included sustainability in the fashion industry, where H&M is getting praise for recycling used garments. 

One well established source for social impact news, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, is demonstrating its accessibility to corporate, nonprofit and agency PR pros. Editor Stacy Palmer is participating in the February Publicity Club of New York’s “Social Good and CSR Beats” luncheon. While the magazine’s content is largely protected by a paywall, the @philanthropy Twitter feed provides free access to a trove of fresh articles.

If HuffPost’s job listing is an indicator, it’s probably worthwhile for corporate communications professionals to brush up on their GIF production skills, and to keep their eyes open for opportunities to incorporate adorable sloths into their storytelling.

(Photo credit: Creative Commons; derivative work Stevenj; original photo by Leyo)