Le Huffington Post Editorial Director Anne Sinclair gave an exclusive interview to ELLE France last week in which she talked about her new job, the editorial mission of the site, and how it will cover women's issues. Translated excerpts from that interview are below.
Published in ELLE France:
ELLE: Is this new position a personal challenge, or is it to silence those who thought you were finished professionally?
No, I don't wish to shut anyone up. For a while now, I’ve wanted to go back to work. I hadn't planned on starting over so quickly, perhaps because I didn't have any precise projects. But I was asked to do this, and I found the idea of launching a new medium very exciting. It's a chance encounter between my availability and the request of Arianna Huffington--the founder of the American site--and Le Monde and the other shareholders of Huffington Post France.
I'm very pleased to return to my profession amid the euphoria of participating in something brand new. Le HuffPost is a new medium, an online-only news site, which I like, a small staff, which is stimulating because it draws people close to one another, and so it's a fascinating challenge. So yes, I'm happy about this, I'm pleased!
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ELLE : Why did the people at HuffPost think of you?
I was familiar with Arianna Huffington as I had seen her on television, but I didn't know she knew of me. I think the Le Monde executives told her about me, and she looked into my background. Given my resume, that's not absurd, is it?
ELLE: What, exactly, is the HuffPost?
The Huffington Post is the number one American news site, ahead of NYTimes.com. It was created in 2005 and it exploded during the Obama campaign four years ago, because it was very cutting edge. What will it be in France? A very egalitarian partnership between AOL-Huffington Post, which lends its extremely sophisticated platform, its layout, its tools, its format, its experience, and its savoir-faire, and the French shareholders, Le Monde on the one hand, and Matthieu Pigasse's Les Nouvelle Editions Indépendantes on the other So the content will be 100% French. And so will the staff. I will be editorial director and Paul Ackermann will be editor-in-chief. He will be backed by a very small team of eight young journalists who are all very familiar with the Web. I must be the least geeky of the gang.
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ELLE: What will be the editorial line of Le HuffPost? Will it be left-leaning, as in the United States, or will it be neutral?
It will have a progressive bent, open to social debate, but not neutral; contributors from the left and from the right will express themselves. And we ourselves will take a stand on the main social issues of the moment, such as unemployment, exclusion, stem cell research, immigration, gay marriage, human rights, etc.
ELLE: And what about women's issues? What seems to you most important in France today, domestic violence, rape, prostitution, equal pay for equal work, parity in politics?
All of these subjects will be covered by Le HuffPost, with a clear and distinct stand on our part. I am very sensitive to the question of professional and salary inequality between men and women, which is really a scandal because businesses do not apply the laws demanding equal pay for equal work. They're like political parties that would prefer to pay fines rather than respect the law regarding the number of low-rent housing projects in a community, or on parity. It's a priority struggle that concerns all of society, not only women.
ELLE: As the chief of an important news site, how will you treat the presidential campaign?
We will be a site for debate, with very opinionated contributions. This is what will distinguish us from the other media. We already have over 150 contributors who will bring their voices to the Huffington Post, both well-known experts and also people in the field, young and old, men and women, French citizens and foreigners. I think the space we allow for debate in France is too narrow. People who express themselves are often those who already have access to the media. I would like young researchers, and country doctors, nurses, teachers who work in suburban schools, musicians, and artists to have as big an audience at the site as experts. I want to open our site to debate as much as possible.
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ELLE: Can one be a feminist and unconditionally support one's husband, no matter what he does?
I already told you, unconditional support does not exist. One supports if one has decided to support. No one knows what happens in the intimacy of a couple, and I deny whomever the right to judge mine. I feel free about my judgments, my actions, I decide on my life with complete independence. I am neither a saint nor a victim, I am a free woman! Every woman should be able to lead her life as she understands it, obviously with constraints that are economic, material, psychological. Each woman has her own. All of us go through difficult ordeals, as well as happy moments. I have been shaped by everything that makes me what I am today. Once again, I'm sensitive to tragedy and sorrow, and to joy. Voilà, no one needs to know more. I'm 63 years old and I’m going back to work, and that’s truly a joy. Final point.