Finally– some online journalism pioneers who seem to be truly succeeding. And even, quite possibly, making some money.
Meet Global Post, a group of web journalists who got started just over a year ago in Boston’s North End. With 70 correspondents in 50 countries they work to provide a comprehensive, multi-demensional look into the world at large and currently report readers in over 223 different countries.
Their philosophy, according to Charles Sennott, the executive editor and veteran Boston Globe reporter: “You have to be there– great journalism is about being on the ground.”
And that is precisely how the site works– with only 15 employees in Boston, the vast majority of Global Post’s content comes from reporters across the world, who tell the news as they see it.
The site is divided roughly into regions of the world– Europe, Asia, Americas, Africa, and the Middle East– you can select the area of interest or even a specific country to read stories from that region. However, for those who aren’t seeking out one thing in particular, the front page provides a skillfully selected cross-section, teasing a couple different stories from varying regions, without cramming too much onto the page.
Perhaps what I find the most appealing about the site though, is the way it seems truly global. I generally gather my worldly news from US-centric sites like nytimes.com or boston.com where global news is provided, but from an obviously American perspective. Perhaps the stories aren’t blatantly biased, but the sources cited are American, they’re told with American interests in mind and are most likely written from a reporter sitting at a computer in America. With Global Post stories however, I truly feel I am getting a realistic cross section of world news. By utilizing reporters who write about the region that is their home, who utilize global resources and global opinions, the site is able to paint a much more accurate image of a worldly trend or event.
True to the nature of online journalism, Global Post stories are told through a variety of mediums: there are video stories, photo stories and written stories that capitalize on the visual nature of the internet. However, I would like to see more stories told with all three of these components working together, as in Life, Death and the Taliban where Sennott and photographer Seamus Murphy piece together a truly multi-dimensional story of Taliban history in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Video stories like One Family, One Street provides a human element to the story of the Taliban, while traditional, written pieces like Funding the Afghan Taliban go further into the intricacies of the issue. This approach provides different angles to a story with so many facets, allowing their readership to become informed on an issue at a broader level than usual.
What I found most refreshing about Sennott’s philosophy, was his insistence on developing a specialty. So often we are told to be good at everything. To carry every skill in hand. But to me that seems a little dishonest and ultimately, a little stupid– like forcing yourself to abandon or ignore a real passion in order to get good at all the rest. Rather, this is Sennott’s advice to aspiring journalists:
Global Post allows the exploration and development that specialty through their Study Abroad segment which allows students across the world to report on interesting stories they are witnessing in their abroad environment. I plan to study abroad before I graduate, and would definitely be interested in such an outlet as a way to report on interesting cultural trends and art– perhaps an unheard-of-in-America food trend for a written story, a local underground music scene for video, or an undiscovered artistic talent for a picture slideshow– in an effort to share the underground culture of my temporary home with the world at large.
Ultimately, at Global Post, it’s about showing the world as it really is, from the eyes of someone that’s right there in the middle of it. And isn’t that what journalism is fundamentally supposed to be?