“Bringing old school news standards to the digital age,” is the way GlobalPost Executive Editor, Charlie Sennott, describes the fast-growing online international news startup. The company has over 70 networked correspondents spread across 50 countries feeding its news stream. Field correspondents coordinate with a North End/Waterfront-based editorial team to craft a breaking news and pixilated version of the BBC or Economist.
After launching nearly 3 years ago, GlobalPost has bootstrapped its way to over 3 million unique monthly website visitors. This week, I joined a group of Hacks and Hackers to sit down with GlobalPost’s management, including Sennott, Deputy Editor Kevin Grant, News Editors Tom Mucha, Hanna Ingber Win, Technical Director Greg Stout and Marketing Director Rick Byrne. We were also fortunate to catch the afternoon news meeting at the company’s headquarters located in The Pilot House at Lewis Wharf.
Co-founded with ex-NECN President and GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni, Sennott is a Boston Globe exile and former Bureau Chief who left the daily after it stopped international reporting. As with other Pilot House companies, startup funding has come from Amos Hostetter’s (Continental Cablevision) conglomerate. Former Globe Publisher, Benjamin Taylor, adds credibility to its Board of Directors. Theme-based news series have generated interest among several foundations adding a layer of funding to the company that still has a year or so on the road to profitability.
GlobalPost is making a name for itself with hard-hitting international scoops and distribution through its Drupal-based website, extensive syndication and social networking. Its Facebook site boasts over 200,000 fans. The company is toying with a membership program for its site, but management feels GlobalPost is too young to justify a pay wall subscription service, such as those recently put into place by the New York Times and Boston Globe.
Its global correspondent network is paying off by capturing unique first-run news, often headlined by international conflicts such as the recent Middle East uprisings. The company saw a surge of readership in October 2011 when one of its correspondents acquired a video showing Col. Muammar Gaddafi being sodomized during his capture by rebel fighters. In addition to breaking news, GlobalPost has received funding for special features not being covered by the mainstream international press, such as the Child Bribes and Global Battle Over Gay Rights.
The founders and staff appear happily tucked away at Lewis Wharf’s Pilot House in Boston’s North End / Waterfront neighborhood. Sennott says that Boston is not just home, but still a great place for media companies to establish roots. Behind the historic brick and beam walls, however, it is clear that GlobalPost’s entrepreneurial team have big aspirations on the way to building the next international news powerhouse.
For more information, check out the site itself at GlobalPost.com. Management is looking to hire a web developer/engineer (email firstname.lastname@example.org) and someone to launch its burgeoning e-book effort (email email@example.com).