"Life is an Italian comedy," Guy Bedos has been telling us for years, picking up on a theme dear to Fellini: life and death rub elbows every day, and with every breaking news story.
Alongside stories of the millions who are unemployed, of businesses closing, of soldiers being killed in Afghanistan, of cruise ships sinking in Italy, of pro-democracy protesters being shot in Syria, there are uplifting stories and our tri-color pride in the possibility that our own Jean Dujardin might soon walk away with an Oscar.
All of these stories, of life and death and joy and tragedy, are part of who we are. And Le Huffington Post will be a place to celebrate, debate, argue, imagine and inform. The media, in whatever form (print, digital, broadcast) is essential to the health of a democracy. And our team is united in our plans to be a small but growing building block in that essential part of a pluralist democracy.
For the past seven years, The Huffington Post has brought a liberating mix of controversy and "conversation" -- a favorite word in America, one that also means the exchange of ideas, discussions, debates -- to the American digital landscape. And we're happy to say that Arianna Huffington, the founder of what has become the most popular news site in the U.S., is exporting her savoir-faire, her experience, her platform, her technological tools to our version here in France. They will be joined to the efforts and expertise of our other shareholders, Le Monde and Les Nouvelles Éditions Indépendantes, as we embark upon bringing this new platform for debate, engagement, information and conversation to life.
Debate, in particular, is an omnipresent feature of French society. And we hope to encourage and expand that French commitment to debate even further. And we'll do that by opening up access to the public conversation and vastly expanding the pool of those who take part.
We will be a news site with a double mission: to deliver breaking news every day, good or bad, tragic or happy, comforting or disturbing. We will do it with a voice and a point of view that, like our parent site, is lively, pointed, provocative and, very often, fun. Making that happen will be our dedicated and growing editorial staff, composed of young journalists steeped in both the best practices of journalism and the latest tools of the web.
But for us, breaking news isn't just about telling you the story and moving on. Your reaction, your voice and your conversation will also be part of the story. Debate will be an integral part of this site. It will be part of the blog too, with both regular and special contributors, who will post as often as they like, at whatever length they choose, in their respective domains of expertise or in others entirely. We expect them to share their emotions, their anger, their enthusiasm, their analyses, their own take.
We would hope that these forums will be as varied as possible, with the contributions of both the well-known and the unknown, of both young and of old, of insiders and outsider, expressing their thoughts on subjects ranging from the economy to the arts, from politics to cinema, from dance to science, from music to philosophy, from fashion to food, from literature to high tech. These will take the form of analysis, narrative, expertise, and stories from daily life.
The web, as we all know, allows us to express both the best and worst parts of ourselves. So let us bet on the best. And to that end, we'll be especially vigilant about the the comments posted on the site. Every opinion will be welcome, but at the same time we want to respect and nurture a civil community.
I hope you will tell us when we fail to meet that standard, for it is true that a web site, like a newspaper, belongs to those who read it, and they should recognize themselves in it.
Today, I am happy, of course, to welcome Arianna Huffington, who stands by our side. And I wish to thank our contributors of the first hour, who include: Rachida Dati and Julien Dray, two politically committed and unique voices that are kicking off a segment on campaign notes that will be a regular feature. François Miquet-Marty reveals an exclusive poll on François Hollande conducted by ViaVoice -- the first of a partnership with HuffPost that will continue leading up to the election. Guy Carcassonne waxes ironic on the virus of the forbidden currently spreading throughout the legislature, Shahin Vallée warns us about why the Europe problem is also a French problem, Nicolas Bedos gives free rein to his delicious madness, Stanislas Kraland gives television the send-up it deserves, Benjamin Stora takes a close look at the successes and disappointments of the Arab Revolutions, Pierre Bourdieu gets a proper dressing-down from Guillaume Erner, Catherine Cerisey tells of her 11-year struggle against cancer, Célia Belin takes a hard look at the Republican primaries, and Olivier Vadrot zeros in on how the digital world is currently devouring the music industry. As for Hervé Baudry, he gives a thumbnail sketch of our inauguration.
In the days to come, you will discover countless other contributions on culture, sports, politics, and even, and of course, gastronomy. We'll talk about Khamenei's Iran, the bio-economy, the French suburbs, the image in Islam, modern art exhibitions, a Hungary that evokes bad memories, fashion we find funny, Africa, where revolutions stop after the Sahel, about the Médiator's scandal and the comeback of the Tobin tax. And of course the HuffPost team will provide on-the-spot coverage of all the expected stories, like the French presidential elections, elections in Egypt, the coming European summit, the comic strip fair of Angoulême, and all that's being said on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, from the unexpected to the everyday.
And of course, I want to thank you, our readers and contributors, for your time, enthusiasm, passion and engagement. Le HuffPost will be what you make of it. This is only the beginning -- let's continue the debate.