BOB GARFIELD: Charles Sennott is the cofounder and executive editor of Globalpost.com, another attempt to bridge old ways and new. Globalpost is a stable of freelance foreign correspondents contracted to file dispatches from, so far, 65 countries. Part of its audience will be at Globalpost.com itself, but the correspondents’ work also will be syndicated to newspapers who otherwise cannot afford to have a reporting presence around the world. And those correspondents will also be available to prepare even more in-depth coverage for businesses or other third-party clientele.
CHARLES SENNOTT: Globalpost.com right now is live and free. It means you go there and you are immediately confronted with this tremendous body of work. And you then have to ask, well, how are we going to pay all these correspondents if we offer the content for free? Syndication is one piece of it. We're looking for syndication partners which means we provide them a service, which is 10 news stories a day from our 65 correspondents in the field. They're in more than 45 countries. But there are two other important pieces, and one is online advertising. We're in a very difficult economy, of course – we all know that – but the trend is definitely that advertising is going to the Web. It’s leaving print and it’s shifting to the Web. And our third revenue stream is a membership model. The site is free, but we have a premium content menu of options. I'll give you an example. I've interviewed General Petraeus several times. We would pull out of that as a sound bite typically about a minute of news that came out of that interview. I mean, that’s what I did at The Boston Globe and that’s what we will do on our free website. But on our paid-for site, called Passport, there you will have a full profile of General Petraeus, you'll have the full half-hour interview taped. And we offer other products, sort of research products or country profiles, as well.
BOB GARFIELD: Charlie, most of the foreign reporting that we have seen in the last six or seven years has been from Afghanistan, or principally, actually, Iraq. Are you going to be prepared as a company to deploy people into war zones with all that that entails?
CHARLES SENNOTT: I've covered Iraq and I've covered Afghanistan extensively, and I really feel like I've shouldered an obligation to be sure if someone is working with us in Iraq or Afghanistan that they're safe. So we've had to be very creative there, given the fact that we're a start-up and we have a limited budget. And what we've done is we've partnered. I mean, I can tell you, Jane Arraf, formerly of CNN, is our correspondent in Iraq. She’s also going to be working with The Christian Science Monitor. That partnership allows us to be able to afford to have Jane Arraf be a regional editor for us, a sort of analyst, and also help us develop a network of Iraqi stringers who can write for us as well. In Afghanistan we have Jean MacKenzie, who is there full time working with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, which has allowed and even encouraged her to work with us because it allows the work she’s doing in Afghanistan to reach a wider audience.
BOB GARFIELD: So the silver lining of the near oblivion of the newspaper business is that there’s just tons of talent out there that you can mobilize. Now, I'm going to assume that the people who are making 150,000 dollars or whatever for The Baltimore Sun in whatever bureau to which they were assigned are not going to be making 150,000 dollars a year from Globalpost.
CHARLES SENNOTT: That’s why I wouldn't call it a silver lining. I would say that there was a [LAUGHS] dark storm cloud that’s come down upon the news organizations in America, and particularly newspapers, and it’s made it very difficult to put together a life of writing about the world in a situation where you live in the country about which you write. And we really require that. All of our correspondents live in the countries about which they write. And what we've found is foreign correspondents are developing a new model in which they'll have a portfolio, where they're working for magazines, they're writing a book and they see us as a interesting new development where they can also contribute daily and also contribute when they want through a Reporter’s Notebook, as we call it, which is actually a blog in search of a better name. It’s the old stringer model writ large.
BOB GARFIELD: Well, Charlie, good luck with this. Thank you so much.
CHARLES SENNOTT: Thanks very much. Thanks for having me.
BOB GARFIELD: Charles Sennott is cofounder and executive editor of Globalpost.com.