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The Huffington Post’s new editor wants to reach Trump voters

Lydia Polgreen, who took over for Arianna Huffington late last year, wants to help Trump supporters and opponents see eye to eye.

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Hartford, Connecticut Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

Huffington Post editor in chief Lydia Polgreen, who spent 15 years at the New York Times before taking over for Arianna Huffington late last year, is thinking a lot recently about power — who has it, who doesn’t and who wants it.

“Traditionally, when we’ve thought of the powerless, we’ve thought of minorities or people who feel voiceless,” Polgreen said on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka.

“I think there’s a much larger group of people who feel kind of voiceless right now,” she continued, and it includes significant numbers of people who voted for Donald Trump.

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Polgreen said that over the next year, she wants to expand the traditionally liberal HuffPost into a place where Trump voters might also “tell their stories and get their concerns heard.”

She contrasted that with a recent trend of urban journalists being dispatched to report on Trump’s America the way they might be assigned to cover an exotic country.

“What I’d love for the Huffington Post to do is figure out ways to tell the story of those people, for those people, rather than thinking of them as subjects to be reported on for somebody else,” she said.

Some things about the new HuffPost “are going to feel familiar,” Polgreen said, such as the giant headline and picture that tops the site’s homepage, internally referred to as “the splash.”

But by reaching out to readers in Trump’s America and — she hopes — working with local newsrooms across the country, the goal is to help liberals and conservatives and everyone in between see how much they have in common.

“There is a hard nut of support for Donald Trump that includes some unsavory types of people, who are probably never going to be readers of the Huffington Post,” Polgreen acknowledged.

“‘Deplorables,’” Kafka suggested. “You don’t want to say that.”

“We can use that term, with a quote around it,” Polgreen replied. “But I think it represents, fundamentally, a pretty small group of people. Don’t forget, Trump did not win the popular vote, and there’s a significant number of people who voted for Trump who, four years earlier, voted for Barack Obama.”

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