April 28, 2009 — In a multimedia presentation at the Shorenstein Center, Philip S. Balboni demonstrated how his newest media venture is “transforming the coverage of international news in the digital age.”
President and CEO of GlobalPost, Balboni is a “committed optimist” who asserts that we are “living in one of the great historic moments in the history of journalism and the dissemination of news.” Recognizing the rapid changes overtaking newspapers across the nation, Balboni suggested that the threat of newspapers closing is no less important than the “death by small cuts to newspapers still functioning.” Yet in a time of transition from traditional sources of news to new forms of digital media, Balboni said that “this should be our golden age because we can ride on the back of the greatest medium of communication in human history.”
GlobalPost is Balboni’s third news venture. He created Chronicle, a nightly television program on WCVB in Boston; and New England Cable News, an all-news cable TV station. Balboni turned from television to the Internet and launched GlobalPost to “redefine global news for the digital age.”
According to Balboni, the need for global news has been a long-standing reality. “Americans deserve a great deal more information about the world than has ever been received from the traditional news media,” he said, “and it is dangerous for us to be so ill-informed in such a complex, volatile world.”
In sustaining an economic business model for online news, the challenge, Balboni said, is to provide high-quality journalism with commercial success. Through advertising, syndication and Passport — a pay-for-content service model — GlobalPost aims to offer journalism with integrity and accuracy — and maintain a successful business as well.
With a call to journalists, Balboni said, “We need to take back our profession from the corporate executives and media conglomerates…we have to unleash the latent entrepreneurship that resides in many journalists.” Countering the argument that “Americans don’t care about what goes on in the world,” Balboni said that the flood of unique users reading online about global issues shows there is great interest.
This article was written by Janell Sims and the photos taken by Leighton Walter Kille, both of the Shorenstein Center.