The Huffington Post is continuing to develop innovative new features with “Featured Doers,” the inaugural initiative of its Spotlight Series. The feature is the fruit of a collaboration with HP, which is presenting the series. The project seeks to highlight the contributions of 15 different “doers” from across a variety of fields — the list includes, for example, chef and food activist Jamie Oliver, Miami Heat (!!!) basketball player Dwyane Wade, and Ground Report founder Rachel Sterne. Of the 15, five will be selected to participate in video interviews. And not only with the final five be chosen from HuffPo reader votes through widgets on the site as well as through social media outreach, but readers will also submit and vote on the questions these “doers” will answer on video. The resulting interviews will appear on the site and can be shared across various social networks.
We were fortunate enough to be able to talk with the creative minds behind this new project, both at HP and the Huffington Post. HuffPo president Greg Coleman told us they’re quite excited about this inaugural series, and that HP was a “natural partner” for the site given both teams’ commitment to innovative and interactive content. The goal of Featured Doers, explained Coleman, was engagement — they specifically sought to create a program that really involved readers in every step of the selection and interview process using social tools and crowd sourcing.
So how did the Huffington Post come up with the final 15 “doers” from which readers get to choose? How does a celebrity chef compete with a famous athlete? Simple, Coleman told us: These 15 men and women represent “the best of the best,” regardless of their line of work.
We also spoke with Larry Nelson, director of HP’s office of digital strategy and Greg Johnson, HP’s global creative director. They told us this new initiative showcases the extent to which HP has transformed over the past 5 years to become the world’s largest technology company, diversifying especially heavily into enterprise technology and services. The emphasis, they agreed, was not so much highlighting people who talk or think, but those who DO, in keeping with HP’s own “can-do spirit.”
In pitching this idea to various publishers, HP discovered that not only was the Huffington Post extremely receptive to the project, but also had a platform and reader base in place that would help make the interactive elements of the project work well. These kinds of programs, they explained, require much tighter collaboration between publishers and marketers than a typical media buy.
A list of all 15 featured doers appear after the jump. To vote for your favorites, go here.
Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose, a NYC-based nonprofit that allows people to contribute to public school projects;
James Cameron, producer, screenwriter and director;
Steven Chu, United States Secretary of Energy;
Karl Fisch, teacher, technology education specialist, and blogger;
Thomas Friedman, NY Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author;
Ashton Kutcher, film and television actor, and producer;
Ellen S. Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to using the Internet to propel government transparency;
Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla Motors, founder of Space X;
Jamie Oliver, chef, restaurateur, author and media personality;
Dr. Jay Parkinson, pediatrician and preventive medicine specialist;
Macon Phillips, White House Director of New Media;
Chloe Sladden, director of media partnerships at Twitter;
Rachel Sterne, founder of user-contributed news site, Ground Report;
Baratunde Thurston, comedian, author and pundit; and
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat basketball player