Experiencing Huffington.

The cover of the first issue of Huffington.We checked out the free preview issue of Huffington (let’s leave out the frustrating period at the end; even Huffington Post does it), Arianna Huffington’s new iPad magazine.

Fundamentally, if you love how print magazines present their material, you’ll be nuts about Huffington. The magazine is designed with a front-of-the-book “appetizer”, a feature well, and a back-of-book culture-reviews section for “dessert.” There are videos, of course, but otherwise it’s a print magazine on a digital tablet.

 We chose to look at the preview issue as we thought it would be the sales vehicle and therefore present the magazine in the very best light. But it was a real disappointment. Despite “a full-time in-house staff of two dozen” we were presented with an article about the “Orbit”, the London Olympics “architectural signature” structure illustrated only with what seemed to be the designer’s conceptual drawing and a few construction stills. We have to experience the structure’s “cathedral-like spaces” and inside spiral walkway in words. What a missed video opportunity!

A few weeks before the opening of the Olympics, presenting the Orbit in its unfinished stage creates the impression of a magazine that is as stale and outdated as a print newsweekly, not the up-to-date and fresh tablet publication most readers probably expect from a digital title.      

But Huffington won’t be the only tablet offering from AOL. “We have talked about having a stable of apps, a stable of magazines,” Huffington Post executive editor Tim O’Brien told reporters. “That’s something we’re gonna be aggressive about.”

 Would it be too much to ask to have the editors be aggressive about some state-of-the-art content instead?

What do you think?

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