So nine months later, staring out at the snow on that January night we launched GlobalPost, I was thinking about that last day at the Globe, and struck by the contrast I felt. The newspaper world was tactile. The trucks idle in the cold, pre-dawn morning like horses. The floor in the pressroom is slippery with ink. I had held a union card that guaranteed me “employment for life,” an agreement the unions had reached in the flush days of the early 1990s. And the sound of a big newsroom chasing a breaking story was still great, even if more and more cubicles were empty. Here I was launching an entire news organization in the dead of night with only the quiet clatter of a keyboard. It just didn’t seem the same somehow.
Yet creating a news organization in the ferment of the Internet has been thrilling and nerve wracking all the same. We have raised approximately $8.5 million of the $10 million of capital that we require, which gives us more than enough for a solid footing. We always knew it would be difficult to make this work and the global economic collapse has, of course, made it even harder. We have kept our revenue projections in place, but recognize that we will have to work harder to achieve them. No one ever said it would be easy.
And editorially, I see the global economic collapse as a great and important story for us. It’s the kind of event that seems to cry out for a news organization like ours, one with a breadth of global coverage. We have a total of sixty-five correspondents in forty-five countries filing dispatches. Ten of these cover the kind of beat, or “latitude” as we dubbed it, that cuts across national boundaries and connects us all.
Our site sets out to have a distinctly American voice. Not a tone that is nationalistic or jingoistic, but a writing style with a good ear for American storytelling and a respect for the standards of American journalism. We also want to provide both current and historical context—for instance, by recognizing that Americans do not have enough grounding in history to understand international stories. So we built interactive timelines for many of the country pages. We began our launch with a fifty-part series from many corners of the world titled “For Which It Stands,” focused around a single question that we wanted to pose on the eve of the new presidency: What does the idea of America mean to the world?
GlobalPost has assembled a stellar team that includes veterans such as H. D. S. Greenway and William Dowell, both with distinguished careers that stretch across a half century, from Vietnam to Iraq. We have decorated, mid-career correspondents such as Joshua Hammer in Berlin, Matt McAllester in London, Matt Benyon Rees in Jerusalem, Edward Gargan in Beijing, Caryle Murphy in Saudi Arabia, and Jane Arraf in Baghdad. And we also have tremendous young talent, such as Mildred Cherfils in Paris, Theodore May in
Cairo, and Patrick Winn in Thailand. All are working with us as a piece of freelance portfolio. They are paid a steady retainer of $1,000 per month for four dispatches, and they get ten thousand shares of the company. Overall, employees make up nearly half of the non-investor common stock in the company.
On the business side, Phil has kept us nimble and expanded our opportunities for revenue to include two new streams. First, we have developed a syndication model for newspapers, which are cutting back on or abandoning foreign coverage. We announced during the week of our launch that we had signed on the New York Daily News, a huge opportunity for our company and a great full-circle moment for me personally. Second, we created a membership model for premium content, called Passport.