CS: One of the ways we sustained this project was we partnered. We partnered with PRI’s The World. I worked with Bob Ferrante of PRI to get funding for global religion reporting. The Henry Luce Foundation provided that to PRI. We, GlobalPost, paid for the photography, videography and the editing and the build out the landing page but we took the audio and combined it with what we were able to gather and then we used our reporters in the field to complement the reporting. Then we created our own package. So it’s not like it’s all one partnership but it’s a partnership that allowed us to each go to our strengths, for radio, for the web, through GlobalPost. In a more ad hoc fashion, we did it with the NewsHour as well. The NewsHour used our content to build an online profile of the Taliban leaders who I interviewed, and then they did a piece in which we talked about “Life, Death and the Taliban,” and they showed B-roll behind it. I wouldn’t call it a full-on video package that aired on the NewsHour, but next time we’ll get there. We’re on our way. We did The World and GlobalPost this time, and NewsHour sort of fell into partnership with us. And now NewsHour, The World, and GlobalPost are intending to do another one down the road, to be determined.
AF: Is the tension between getting the daily story and doing long-form narrative pieces any more strained in the field of foreign reporting, where just being able to have a reporter on the ground at all has become a luxury?
CS: The tension is there, and in order for us to succeed in doing the more ambitious project reporting we will need to be entrepreneurial and creative in how we fund it. And in this project we were. And in how we balance time—in what we can invest in a project versus what we have to pay attention to every day. On a separate note, our network of seventy-five correspondents, sixty-five on contract in more than fifty countries, that network lends itself to project reporting. Another example I would throw out to you, which is a much lighter metabolism for project reporting, is our “World of Trouble” series. It was a really fairly simple concept, which was twenty correspondents in twenty countries will tell you what’s happening with the global economic downturn. We produced these short text blocks from twenty countries that can capture in a snapshot some metrics and some anecdotes of what’s happening all over the world as the economy turns down. That is a very good kind of project for our organization. Very different from “Life, Death and the Taliban” but something we also want to pursue.
Our next partnership is with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. We have partnered with them because they are a syndication newspaper—so they pay for GlobalPost syndication. They have the G-20 hosted in Pittsburgh this year on Sept. 20th. So we are right now turning our attention to a new partnership. It’s a completely different model which takes that “World of Trouble” module that we created, much simpler Flash development than Brian Storm’s model. We did this in-house. It’s much less ambitious in terms of its functionality and how slick it is and how much time it involves putting together. But it’s really practical and it really plays to our strengths. So we’re going to do a G-20 module built off the “World of Trouble” module for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for both our Web site, GlobalPost, but also for their Web site and their print edition.