Delivering the world

By ADAM REILLY  |  December 18, 2008

Stocking up
Thus far, GlobalPost's highest-profile partnership is with the Huffington Post, the left-leaning online "paper" that was pegged in a recent New Yorker piece as a new-media prototype. Lest this suggest an ideological slant for GlobalPost itself, Balboni and Sennott point out that they've also struck a deal with billoreilly.com. No newspaper partnerships have been announced yet. But Balboni says that the first — with one of the nation's biggies, he hints — is about to become public.

Internally, meanwhile, GlobalPost is just about done hiring, and has, in addition to 14 employees situated in Boston's Pilot House, a whopping 70 correspondents in 53 countries. As a rule, these aren't journalistic newbies looking for an adventure. Instead, they're veteran foreign reporters — many of whom Sennott knew from his days in the field — who are already "in country" and are treating GlobalPost, in Sennott's words, as "a piece of their portfolio, not their whole portfolio."

Some of the bigger names: Edward A. Gargan, the former Times reporter and author of China's Fate and The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong, who's based in China; Matt McAllester, the former Newsday foreign correspondent and author of Blinded by the Sunlight: Surviving Abu Ghraib and Saddam's Iraq (detailing his own detention in the infamous prison), who's covering the UK; Josh Hammer, who ran five foreign bureaus for Newsweek and is reporting from Germany; and Seth Kugel, the former Times travel columnist, who's based in Brazil. GlobalPost also has several thematically focused correspondents — including Stephan Faris, author of Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley, who's covering (natch) global climate change, and Mark Starr, former Newsweek Boston bureau chief, who's writing a global-sports column.

In an e-mail to the Phoenix, McAllester — who's known Sennott for years — explained his decision to sign on. "A lot of extremely good and experienced staff foreign correspondents at American news organizations are being cut off in their prime these days, which means that there are a lot of informed, credible voices out there being silenced. . . . I think GlobalPost will be a lot of fun. It'll be fun to be in on something brand new, something that isn't laboring on under the cloud of layoffs and cutbacks."

Money matters
With a staff like this, GlobalPost has as much credibility as a news organization that still hasn't officially launched could hope for. But as the current media moment demonstrates all too clearly, credibility is no guarantee of economic viability.

What's more, GlobalPost isn't solely trying to drum up business among newspapers at a time when newspapers have precious little money to spare. (If they have any, that is; the Globe is reportedly losing close to $1 million a week.) It's also counting on a subgroup of globalpost.com readers who it hopes will be willing to pay extra — $199 annually, to be specific — for the right to access a certain array of content that's not available to the general, non-paying public.

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