BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — GlobalPost has breathed life back into the foreign news agency business. Philip Balboni and Charles Sennott, two ambitious and entrepreneurial international news journalists, founded the for-profit site in 2009. They say the site sets out to have a distinctive American voice and American style of storytelling while reporting on news from every corner of the world. GlobalPost has complete editorial independence, and also has partnerships with twenty-five news organizations that pay to run syndicated material from the site.
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To execute its core mission of providing daily international news coverage by their own correspondents, GlobalPost employs a core team of fifty reporters across the globe. In addition, the site employs more than 125 freelance journalists each month. Specific regional foci are constantly evolving; for instance, 2010 saw GlobalPost decrease its reporting in several quieter European and Asian countries, while increasing coverage in Brazil, Russia, India, and China–countries that are garnering more attention for their emerging economies.
GlobalPost’s editorial partnerships with PBS NewsHour, CBS News, and NPR Digital draw media attention to their stories, and help create a distinct reputation for the site. Almost half of GlobalPost’s total readership each month comes from returning visitors, and readers come from all over the world, including Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, China, India, and Japan.
When GlobalPost was first launched in January 2009, the site focused on providing brief stories that could be reported and written in a short period of time. But Sennott and Balboni later decided that it was actually more beneficial to publish fewer stories, featuring more in-depth and robust content. This “less is more” approach has produced stories that can sustain longer on the site, and has also resulted in more traffic. In-depth doesn’t always mean deathly serious, however, as this post on the battle for energy drink dominance in Thailand proves.
Though GlobalPost has long-term funding from individual investors, it also generates revenues through three distinct streams–paid advertising, syndication of original content, and a paid membership that allows readers to access premium content. As Balboni and Sennott look to the site’s future, they plan to focus more on in-depth investigative special projects–for instance, more multimedia packages like their “Life, Death, and the Taliban.” These projects will be funded through a nonprofit arm of the organization. GlobalPost enters 2011 seeking institutional and individual support to produce these stories, which tend to be costly and time consuming. Sennott says that he finds that these more in-depth stories are what gets GlobalPost noticed on the public stage, and drive the most traffic to the website.
City: Boston, Mass.