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GlobalPost makes a Global Impact

I’ve always felt that the future of journalism would emerge not in a rushed crisis, but rather a natural shift. And it seems like this shift has come in the form of GlobalPost, an emerging news site that focuses on putting journalists back out into the foreign field, a place that has been long missed by many correspondants. As they say themselves on their site, “GlobalPost is embarking on a bold journey to redefine international news for the digital age.”

The company was started by Philip S. Balboni and Charles M. Sennott, two tested veterans in the field of journalism: Balboni wasfor 16 years the president of NECN (the New England Cable Network) and Sennott is an award winning international journalist with a wide array of recognitions and credentials. So it is definitely in good hands.

GlobalPost has enjoyed about a year of success thus far, starting in 2009; and despite the pressures of a crummy economy, they have still managed to carry on, ever expanding their site and increasing their global coverage, supported by advertising on the site. They have also adopted a paid subscription portion to the site, called Passport.

Passport is, I believe, one of the mot interesting features of the site. Rather than simply charging users to read content, what GlobalPost has done is given readers of GlobalPost the ability to actually have a hand in the news that they receive.  This means that they can be a part of the discussion of story ideas, you can have direct access to field correspondents to ask questions, you can even request who the next exclusive interview will be!

I was very impressed by the site when I perused it: interesting stories, a wide array of topics, it seemed that there was no corner of the world untouched by GlobalPost’s coverage. The site was a little tricky to circumnavigate at first, and there were some technical difficulties that I ran into, such as videos not loading and the like, but I’m sure these are all things that can be fixed.

One section that really stood out was their feature “Life, death and the Taliban“, which offers an inside look into the Afghan government from a first hand perspective. The reason I like these reports so much is because they are not speculative reports based on he-said-she-said; this are one on one interviews with the Taliban and an unfiltered look into the life of the Afghan people under the Taliban. I highly recommend this feature to anyone interested in international news. It is great because it not only gives you an unfiltered lens but will also allow you to see the conflict in Afghanistan in a way you might not have before.

GlobalPost also caters to us college students. Study Abroad is a program that allows college students to submit their own international reports and have them posted to the site. These topics range from water shortages in China to the image of American women abroad. NOt only is this good for students to practice their skills, but GlobalPost in a way is setting themselves up with the new generation of reporters and ensuring that they will have an outlet to report through (a big relief to journalism students like myself).

I have a couple ideas as to what I would report on for a program such as this. One would be a look into the music of the Middle Far East, something that has always interested me in the fact that it has influenced a number of famous artists, notably the Beatles (specifically Paul McCartney George Harrison). Another would be to look into the Chernobyl crisis these days, something that I think gets overlooked due to its waning sensation: but the fact of the matter is that people still suffer from the effects of this disaster, and it is only by documenting the mistakes of the past can we avoid making the same mistakes in the future.  Finally, a third idea would be to cover the reggae culture of Jamaica, another thing that has fascinated me since childhood. The main focus would be to show the heart of reggae: what it means, what are the circumstances that it arose from, what does it hope to achieve. For instance, I think it is important for people to see Bob Marley as not just a picture in a funky poster on a dorm room wall, but to really show what Bob stood for and what he hoped to achieve for his nation, a nation plagued by poverty and crime. Ideally I would like to do these all in a video format (since I have become a fan of making video reports), but a slideshow accompanied by sound could do the trick.

GlobalPost seems to me exactly what the news needs: not just more correspondents in the field but making these correspondents available to the public directly. With sites like this combining with sites like newhavenindependent.org covering the local aspect, I think we can all breathe a little easier about the future of journalism.

GlobalPost is reaching back out to where journalism is needed the most: the far corners of the world.

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