JOHN HOCKENBERRY: We had a terrific conversation this morning, which really gives you a sense of the dimensions of technology's reach into communities that don't get coverage and the importance of delivering information from those communities.
I think this is more of what Richard Haass might call, you know, a 36,000-feet discussion of maybe some more macro issues in the business. But we have people who can talk from ground level and from the sort of broad business end of what's going on in journalism right now.
A lot of the wither journalism online, the Internet produce for people in television and magazines and print the kinds of cramps and terror that comes from waking up this morning and hearing that Garrison Keillor is recovering from a mild stroke. Which in public radio is the equivalent of an asteroid hitting the entire organization. He's fine, but that was one of the stories this morning.
What we are talking about is very serious business here for the future of all of our jobs up here and for the delivery of content that's important to all of you here at the council.
I'd like to begin by telling a story. Long ago when I worked for an organization, National Public Radio, we were trying to figure out what our international coverage was. And there was a discussion that happened back in the early '80s about the possibility of using technology to deliver conversations from far-flung place, or places that felt and seemed far flung at the time, across phone lines that weren't so gritty and hissy and difficult to decipher.
And the technology was available to make it seem as though a phone call from Afghanistan or from Saudi Arabia and especially places like Kazakhstan would be a local call. And people were interested in this idea.
But all of a sudden, the consensus was, but why would we want a phone call to Kabul, Afghanistan to sound like a local call? We love the hiss, the sense of distance. (Laughter.) It gives it a feel of exotic. Why would we want technology to do something like that. I mean, there's nothing more boring than a local call.
Well, of course, in the 21st century, Beijing is a local call. Certainly, Baghdad is a local call, literally for service men it is a local call. And we have to get used to thinking of the world as much more combined. And technology certainly reduces the proximity, even as it increases the difficulties of journalism for many of us who have to deliver stories.
There are two real stories that we want to talk about here with this panel. One is, of course, the exciting story of how technology has enabled people to deliver and craft news stories that are much more vital and have multi-dimensionality than the old hissy conversation with the BBC reporter over the phone line.
Yet the other story that is equally important, but is perhaps less a happy story, is the question of how much more difficult it is to imagine a business model for both paying reporters in international coverage and in distributing content and getting some sort of monetary return from that that's going to sustain the kind of journalism that we all love.
You know, we had an example this week of how the music business is ahead of journalism in figuring out where the value is in online reporting, particularly international coverage. I mean, the hugest technological roll-out this week was from people who didn't want to listen to Beatles songs. No, they wanted to be the Beatles, the rock-band roll-out of The Beatles was an indication that where the value lies suddenly in the music business is this existential component, being a member of the band.
I think similarly, the transformation in news is people want to be editors. People want to be close to the action. They want to use their ability to aggregate online information to be reporters. Is there value in that? What is the business model? What are the implications of that? That's the subject that we want to discuss today.
And so we have a fabulous panel. I'm going to give them a hand right off the bat here, because we really have a terrific group here. (Applause.)
Let me just go down the line. I want to remind people, first of all, a couple of business issues. Turn off all of your electronic devices that we are going to talk about as an exciting new phenomenon in journalism. (Laughter.) But for us for the next hour and a half, they are an annoyance. And please, we don't want to hear them.
Also, people throughout the nation and the world are watching this on the council's website which is www.cfr.org. And we will hear remarks from each of the panel. We will have a discussion. And then we will open it to member's questions for the remainder of the period.
I want to introduce, first of all, L. Gordon Crovitz, who's co-founder of Journalism Online and writes the Information Age column for The Wall Street Journal. He has a distinguished career.
If you want more details about everybody's long and distinguished career, I will refer you to your programs. There's all kinds of information about that.
Charlie Sennott, an old pal of mine from The New York Daily News and The Boston Globe, but is now executive editor and co-founder of GlobalPost, the business model of which is very interesting and germane to a couple of things that I was saying a moment ago.
Nicholas Lemann, a dean and Henry Luce Professor of Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Of course, a well-known writer and journalist in his own right, but also heads up one of the most distinguished institutions in journalism today.
And Christopher Isham, vice president and Washington Bureau chief, CBS News, with a long, distinguished career in network news, who has lived a number of these transformations and will share those experiences.
Nick, I'd like to begin with you.
NICHOLAS LEMANN: Well, first of all, I agree wholeheartedly with the way you framed it. So just to repeat a little bit. If you take the economics out of the picture, we never had it so good. If you're a consumer of journalism, it's paradise right now. It's paradise that may not last for reasons we'll get into. But you know, the last 10 years or so, five to 10 years, have been the only time in my life where if I said, you know, I just don't like that New York Times correspondent in South Africa and I want to see what seven other South Africa correspondents from papers all over the world say, and if it's a Japanese paper, I want to push a button and get it instantly translated, I want to read it now, I can do that.
I, as a consumer of news, have more access to more overseas news for free at the touch of a finger. I mean, it's incredible if you think about it, if somebody had told you you could do that even 10 years ago.
If you're a producer of news -- again, if you don't have to worry about money and, of course, we all do have to worry about money -- also, you've never had it so good. And this affects us a lot at the school, because we find that we can produce, our students can produce really unbelievably good foreign correspondence as students.
If we can get them, you know, 1,500 bucks, or so, and give them three weeks off, they can go anywhere in the world, they can do, you know, video, audio, print. They can publish websites, which we do a lot at the school, and some of them are about foreign affairs. So all of the sort of barriers to entry are way, way, way lower than they used to be.
So the money problem, which we'll spend a lot of time talking about, I want to start with the risk of offending some of my other panelists, particularly Charlie, with the supposition that there may not be a business model for overseas reporting. Or anyway, in journalism, very broadly speaking, it's not seen as, you know, the cash cow that drives the whole business of journalism.
One hears on the rumor mill that Foreign Affairs magazine is so fabulously profitable that it keeps the whole council afloat. But that's kind of aberrational. I mean, if you remember -- (laughter)
HOCKENBERRY: Yeah, it's an anonymous blogger, I think.
LEMANN: You know, back in the '70s when Abe Rosenthal and his crew invented all those lifestyle sections in The New York Times to save the paper economically, much to the horror of the Village Voice press column and so on, that was proof that having, you know, the world's greatest network of foreign correspondents in one place didn't necessarily make for a profitable product.
And here I may offend other panelists like Chris, so let's talk about Edward R. Murrow for a second. You know, his first job at CBS News was in something called the Education Department. And this was before, way back in the 1930s, and there wasn't a News Department, there was only an Education Department. And the reason there was an Education was that the United States, through the late '20s and early '30s, an effort led, people often don't know, by Herbert Hoover, made a decision not to do what most of the other developed countries were doing and have a state-owned broadcast system, but instead to have a private broadcast system.
But if we were going to be aberrational in that way, we would place certain requirements on people, private entities that got broadcast licenses -- network owners, et cetera -- and one of them was you would engage in public education. So that was why CBS has an Education Department. Or maybe it was because (PLA ?) just believed in having an Education Department. But a little bit of both.
So one could argue, to be perverse, that the seed of broadcast news, particularly overseas broadcast news, lies in federal compulsion to do it, not in a market existing for it in the original sense, even though you guys have found ways to make it pay for itself, at least some of the time.
There's a fascinating passage in William Shirer's "Berlin Diary" where he describes this moment. He worked for Murrow. You know, Hitler is invading Poland and so on. And all these guys, who are the Education Department at CBS Radio and whose job it is to book uplifting guests, like ministers, on the radio, suddenly say, wait a minute, we're all former reporters, there's this huge story breaking, why don't we just get on the mike ourselves and tell people what happened? And that's how the whole business started, almost by accident.
So we'll have much subsequent discussion of business models, and it's a good discussion to have. But I'd just like to start the discussion with the note that we should entertain the notion that pure market forces will not, in and of themselves, support the kind of overseas reporting that our society and other societies in the world needs.
And that if that's true, that should not be an insuperable barrier. We have lots and lots of important public goods that we've found ways to provide through means other than the pure markets.
So I just urge us all not to view the difficulty of supporting this purely in the marketplace as meaning that's the end of overseas reporting.
HOCKENBERRY: Thank you, Nicholas. I have to say, personally, I'm glad that we have one more thing to blame on Herbert Hoover. There's no one in this room who killed broadcast news, and Hoover is to blame. (Laughter.)
Gordon Crovitz, you're next.
L. GORDON CROVITZ: So I will get to a rugged defense of markets and why markets work and why markets will ultimately help support the kind of journalism we're talking about, but let me do it a little bit circuitously and start with an observation from Silicon Valley which is, now as we all know, the center of the media universe. The largest media company in the world is based there. The largest advertising operation is based there. Google does not have a large News Department, but it's an enormous media company.
And one of the great observations from Silicon Valley is that whenever there's a change in technology that affects consumers, we always tend to overestimate the impact in the short term of that change of consumer behavior but then underestimate the impact in the long term.
So we all remember the early years of the Internet and newspapers were going to go away and magazines were going to go away, TV was going to go away. And instead, we got sock puppets and web van and other businesses that failed.
Fast-forward now 10 years later, and we're all still underestimating the impact of new technology and how consumers, readers, all of us are getting our news and information. We're getting it on devices that we carry in our pockets. By the time we see the next day's newspaper, I think many of us look at it and say, why is this all about what happened yesterday? I know what happened yesterday, yesterday, creating a very serious problem for news publishers and all media, given the new choices that people have and the instantaneous communications that people have and the fact that data travel in real time everywhere in the world.
Earlier in my career, I ran the Far Eastern Economic Review magazine. And we were putting together the 50th anniversary issue some years ago. And I went back to some of the files, and I realized that until the 1970s, the official price of rubber for world markets was the price of rubber in Malaysia as reported in the Far Eastern Economic Review until the 1970s. Imagine that. Now the price of rubber in Malaysia is set in real time by what is in Bloomberg. It's unbelievable to imagine, and yet that has affected every part of how we consume information.
But the bigger problem for journalism is not the challenge of consumers and leaders, as big a challenge as that is. The bigger problem is inherent in a quote from a fellow named John Wanamaker who, 100 years ago, built a department store chain in Philadelphia by using advertising in newspapers. Revolutionized the idea of using advertising in that way.
And he was asked, you know, what's the secret of his success? And he said, well, it's advertising. The problem is I know half of my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half. And that drove media for many years, this inability of advertisers fully to understand what advertising worked and what didn't work.
Advertisers now have unbelievable choice. They can narrow the audience. They know what the return on their investment is. Mass media, as many of grew up with it, is untargetable mass, wasted, all these terrible things from the advertiser point of view. That's the business problem for journalism.
And the nub of the business problem for journalism is that for 50 years or so, the only revenue model for most journalism was advertising. That subscribers, all of us as consumers, pay something for our newspaper, for our magazine, later for cable. But it never really covered all the costs.
Advertising is probably not coming back the way that it was. What other revenue streams are there? And if you look at the world, especially for foreign correspondents, and you ask, who's hiring foreign correspondents? Who do they work for? They work for companies like Bloomberg and Dow Jones and Reuters. They work for companies that have another business model other than advertising. They work for companies that are delivering very important, differentiated news for their audiences which tend to be more financial professionals than all of us as consumers.
But there's a lesson there, which is, if you have and are able to produce unique, differentiated information from anywhere in the world, including foreign correspondents, there will be an audience that will be willing to pay to get it.
So I'm optimistic about Charlie's group. I'm optimistic about startups that are focused on trying to generate new revenue streams. Technology empowers consumers to make a lot of choices. It also empowers publishers now to find new business models. So I'm optimistic in the long term.
HOCKENBERRY: Just one quick clarification. When you say Google is the largest media company in the world, what's your metric on that? Is it the capitalization? Is it audience?
CROVITZ: Advertising sales.
HOCKENBERRY: Advertising sales. Okay, great.
CHRISTOPHER ISHAM: Well, speaking very much as representative of the old media, I guess I was thinking it wasn't that long ago, it was only 1983, when I covered my first war in Lebanon. And the difference between what we had to do in those days and how we operate today is really stunning, and it's worth just enumerating in a second.
We had no satellite up-link because the Syrians had bombed the TV station in Beirut. We had no Internet, obviously. No cell phones. We had a four-wire, a hard-lined connection between Beirut and New York, which allowed us basically to talk to New York over the telephone, which meant if a bomb went off we could tell New York about it and go on the radio.
HOCKENBERRY: A four-wire is a configuration of telephone lines.
ISHAM: Correct. So we had no -- and it was like open phone lines, essentially, which made the hotel very happy, because it meant that our phone lines, we had four open phone lines to New York, 24 hours a day. And it made, obviously, the local telecom happy.
HOCKENBERRY: You had to pay in local currency, right?
HOCKENBERRY: Yeah, okay.
ISHAM: Good rates. (Laughter.) When the bomb went off on April 18th, 1983, which ushered in the era of suicide bombings and what we know of as the modern cataclysmic terrorism, it took three hours to drive the video from Beirut to Damascus in order to feed it back to New York.
You know, the difference, obviously, today is now the news-gathering process moves at warp speed, and we can move anybody, anywhere on the planet with a single camera and a -- (inaudible) -- which is an up-link and a mobile satellite dish, which is no larger than an attache case. And he can transmit instantaneously from anywhere on the planet that he can get to. Obviously, they have to get there, which obviously still imposes some limitations on where we can go.
But that is a truly extraordinary and major change in the way the news is gathered and, I think, totally beneficial.
The other impact obviously is the way in which the news cycle has sped up. I mean, the proliferation of outlets, and this is not even including the Internet, but with cable TV, 24-hour news, the whole news cycle has sped up. We basically, in 1983, we had all day to think about what we were doing, because we didn't really need to go on the air until 6:30 at night, New York time.
Now we are either on the air or we are on the Web or we are somewhere 24/7. And that has had a huge impact on the way we do business and on everybody's daily lives in my business.
It has had, I think, there's been some good fallout of that and negative fallout. The positive fallout of that is that, I think, everybody knows that, you know, when our people in the field know that they are always on and you basically need to be transmitting information back, on the air, whatever platform you can find. I think that's extremely positive.
The negative side of that is that with the bites of information, if you will, have become so compressed that much of our news is now in very, very small, digestible pieces.
That said, it's remarkable, in a lot of ways, how the nuts and bolts of what we produce, pieces that go on the air, still involve reporting, they involve video, they involve writing stories that make sense to people. And that very much -- there hasn't been a huge change in that. We still do good pieces, and we do bad pieces. But on the whole, the nuts and bolts of what we do is actually stunningly similar.
And I think I'll leave it at that. We can talk about the business issues, because I think there are a lot of economic issues that we can get into. But I'd sort of defer that.
HOCKENBERRY: Just one clarifying question, though. If it is, if you'll forgive me, so much less of a pain in the butt to file from Beirut today versus what it was in 1983, how come CBS is doing significantly less international news today than it was in 1983?
ISHAM: Well, I think what you get into there -- and I'd want to see what the numbers are on that, because I think, in a lot of ways, we are broadcasting a great deal from Afghanistan, we are broadcasting a great deal still from Iraq, and certainly at the height of the Iraq war we were almost on the air with at least one if not two pieces a day.
"60 Minutes," if you look at the roster of "60 Minutes" stories coming up this fall, I think you'd be stunned at how many of those pieces are actually foreign. So I'd want to see the numbers. And I frankly haven't looked at them, but I'd want to see, you know, what the breakdown of that is.
But we are still doing a lot of international news. Is it enough? No. But it's a good deal. And I think that what you'll also see is that there are longer pieces and pieces where we'll send someone out for a week. The bureaus have been cut down, and there are a lot of reasons for that. But one of the net effects of that is that we'll now send a correspondent out to go into a place, like Afghanistan, and produce four or five pieces for, you know, three or four different broadcasts and try to maximize it that way.
So it's different. But still, the commitment is still very much there.
HOCKENBERRY: Thank you, Chris.
Charlie Sennott, tell us about GlobalPost and if you'll be working there in five years. (Laughter.)
CHARLES M. SENNOTT: I intend to be. Yeah, thanks, John. I mean, a lot has been said about GlobalPost. It's nice to be up here and be able to tell you a little bit about it.
It was said the other day that, you know, what we're able to pay foreign correspondents is so modest, it's hard to get out of bed in the morning for it. Every great correspondent I know, it wasn't the pay that got them out of bed. And if it was, they were insane, because most of the foreign correspondents I know don't make that much and never really have unless they were lucky enough to be at a network and really on a big contract.
So the great work of foreign reporting has always come from people, you know, who were paid fairly modestly. That said, great reporting has great value, and great correspondents need to make a living, and they need to work and operate safely.
And the one aspect of GlobalPost that I just really want to clarify is safety is hugely important to us. We have correspondents who are in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have very unique relationships with those correspondents where they have much more than our contract with them. They are surrounded by other resources that keep them working safely. We make very certain that is the case. We insist that all of our correspondents in the war zone have had hostile-environment training.
We are very careful. We had our correspondent apprehended in Iran and put in detention. We worked very hard, very diligently to get him out. And we did get him out.
We take these issues very seriously, but I do want to explain what GlobalPost is, because I don't think a lot of you know. So GlobalPost is an online news organization dedicated completely to international news. And it was launched about eight months ago. And we have 70 correspondents under contract as freelancers in more than 50 countries now.
What we believe in is the idea that you have to live in the country about which you write. That you need to have that language skill, preferably. You need to be there. You need to have what we call ground truth. So we're trying to create a new model for correspondents, who live in those places, to have an outlet to write for an American audience.
Those correspondents are a really interesting group. We're really lucky to have people like Carol Murphy, who is reporting for us in Saudi Arabia. She is a fantastic reporter. And I think of Carol as sort of the perfect example of the new foreign correspondent, because Carol had a great career as a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Washington Post. But now Carol is writing a book, freelancing for the Christian Science Monitor and the GlobalPost and, therefore, putting together a life where she can do really important reporting in a country that goes vastly under covered, and contribute to our site and to other places.
She's becoming her own entity. It's about her becoming an entrepreneur on her own, in a way. And that's what we try to promote. What we pay will not, you know, allow you to live. But what we will do is give you a core and a sort of base or a portfolio for you to build that up.
We've had more than 1,000 applications for jobs. We have correspondents who range from HDS Greenway, the legendary Boston Globe columnist, to Carol, to mid-career correspondents. We have people, like Mike Moran, who is here at the council, who is a columnist for us. We have a newly acquired Mohamad Bazzi, who is going to start writing a column, but I had to sort of convince him of that last night.
HOCKENBERRY: Did the not-enough-money-to-live argument really work for him? (Laughter.)
SENNOTT: Well, yeah. (Laughs.) Mohamad --
HOCKENBERRY: Great. I'd love to see a video of that on your website.
SENNOTT: It went late into the evening, absolutely. But you know, Mohamad is teaching. I should say that Mohamad was very young. I got to meet him when he was 18-years old and he walked in The New York Daily News where I was city editor, and he wanted to write. And I said, well, we don't have an internship program. He said, I just want to write something. I said, well, sit down and write. He sat down and wrote the lead, I grew up in two war zones, Beirut, Lebanon and the New York City public school system. And I said, we just started an internship. (Laughter.) I've never forgotten that lead, and I've followed Mohamad's career.
He's incredible. And I really need him to be part of GlobalPost. And a lot of what GlobalPost is about is about the passion for foreign reporting. It's about loving it. You know, I need we need differentiated information. But we also just need great storytellers in the world, and we need to have a place where those storytellers can write and not be over-edited and not be sort of encumbered by all of the commercial interests of what I call the Ancien Regime and the competition to get on air, when you just have a great story.
One of the beauties of GlobalPost is that we can cover the whole world, and we can combine all of this coverage from these correspondents. And if you go to GlobalPost, you'll see a really interesting mix of stories.
So yes, we give a fairly modest monthly base salary for freelancers, but it is exactly what superstringers have always been paid. It's really no different than what The New York Times still pays or the Christian Science Monitor still pays or NPR still pays. The difference is we're one of the last games in town that will give you a steady gig, because so many people are cutting back, even now on freelance.
So we're finding we can build an incredible team of veterans, mid-career folks and, interestingly, very young people who are out there reporting for us. So the team is really what it's all about for us. But in that new model of foreign correspondent, we're also trying to say that the correspondents themselves need to be entrepreneurial. So we pay them the stipend that we pay them for a set number of stories. But we also give them 10,000 shares in the company, and this is a part of the model that I'm always fascinated that correspondents forget about it, like Carol didn't mention it.
You know, it's a big deal. This is giving you a piece of the future of a company that, if we make it, will make you part of that success. And we're trying to sort of say, this is genuine, we want you to be part of it. These shares are not paper. They have a cash value. And those shares pay out over time.
So we need correspondents to start to think sort of with their own entrepreneurial spirit. Great journalists are always enterprising and entrepreneurial. We need them to think more about their careers that way, too. We try to encourage that.
At GlobalPost, the business model relies on three different revenue streams, so we are looking at advertising online, syndication with newspapers -- and there are so many newspapers now that have cut back on their foreign coverage that we really think there's a decent play there for us -- and also, people, you know, are looking for other places for content right now, not just AP or not just Reuters.
HOCKENBERRY: You mean subs? Or you mean --
SENNOTT: I mean, we have, for example, The Newark Star Ledger, when the Lockerbie, Megrahi, was freed, we had a really interesting story out of London, written by Michael Goldfarb, formerly of NPR. He's a fantastic writer. And that ran on the front of The Newark Star Ledger.
We did a big series in Afghanistan where we really invested in a special project called "Life, Death and the Taliban." That series was carried, pretty much in its entirety, in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, another affiliate of ours.
So syndication is a very, very important part of our future revenue. And so is advertising, of course. But I think the most exciting one is Passport, which really tries to create a community where globalpost.com is free, Passport is a subscription model, it's very reasonable, and it brings you into the community. And it speaks directly to what you were saying, John, about how people don't want to just listen to The Beatles, they want to be The Beatles.
We are trying to create, through Passport, an opportunity for the community that has a membership with Passport to be part of what we do. By paying, as a member, you become a more intimate part of our community, and you can actually vote for stories to be covered in the world. We will put them up to the community. They will be voted on. The best idea wins, and we will then go out and cover that story.
We will put you in touch with our correspondents in the field through conference calls so you can actually talk to them about what they do, how they do it, what it's like. It becomes more intimate because it's a smaller community, and it allows you that access.
So we are --
HOCKENBERRY: How much do you pay a freelancer for being on a conference call?
SENNOTT: I think we pay them $250 for the call.
HOCKENBERRY: For the call?
HOCKENBERRY: All right. You've thought this through. Nice, nice. (Laughter.)
SENNOTT: I won't ask you how much you pay for correspondents who you talk to in the field, but I would just say, in the end, GlobalPost is this exciting enterprise. That, you know, my part of it is that I've been a foreign correspondent and always wanted to be one and feel really lucky to have been able to do it. And I don't want to see it die.
And the passion I bring to it is really the storytelling side. But I have a partner, Phil Balboni, who is the CEO, and who wrote the business model. And Phil is a very rare combination of a great journalist and a great businessman. And there are not many of those out there in the world.
And I think it's really important to say that it's that team of Phil thinking through the business side and I'm trying to build the team of writers in the field. And I think together, you know, the odds might be stacked up against us. But it is a lot of fun trying, and I think it's really important that we have more eyeballs in the world.
HOCKENBERRY: Charlie, thanks for that. You argue passionately. I really need to ask you, though, how is the Carol Murphy model, which you've so eloquently described, of not being able to pay a living wage, where you have to work for the Christian Science Monitor, different from the Walmart model where mom has to work at McDonald's at night after she goes home from Walmart and has no health care?
SENNOTT: Well, being a foreign correspondent is a hell of a lot better job than working at Walmart. Carol has tremendous skill. She's a great reporter. It's hard to find these jobs right now. I think the more accurate sort of description of what that's like is to be an artisan, to be someone who makes things. You're a craftsman. And if you can't, you know, sort of get the same kind of jobs you used to get in a big production mill, and you're going to start doing piecework because you love the craft, that's more what it's like.
And I think, you know, Carol is working on a book. She's got a lot of offers because she has a very distinguished career. For our younger correspondents, it's just a chance to get out there and do it. We become that base that they can rely on, so they can start a career.
HOCKENBERRY: So the other mechanism, as Nick was talking about, the cost of entry has lowered, you're providing that port of entry.
HOCKENBERRY: All right. I want to give members a chance to question. Raise your hands, and I will call on you. And the microphone will come around.
For me personally, and you can think about this and talk amongst yourselves, for me, the chief question and concern, and we'll get a question from the audience, is whether this is a transitional period, because you referred to the Wanamaker era. And when the Hearst empire began, it was built on subs to begin with. It was built on the ability to project bylines and a certain kind of veracity and storytelling that attracted subscribers.
So the idea that advertising always wins out over a subscription model has been in flux for more than a century. So the question is, are we in a transitional moment? And you know, obviously, where are we going to land? But when do you think the transition will end? And how will it end is really a chief concern to me.
But let's get a question from the audience. Raise your hand -- right over here.
QUESTIONER: I'm Jerry Goodman from Adam Smith Global Television. And we have produced many international specials, all on PBS. And the problem we've found is that we had a highly edited essay forum, like "60 Minutes," without the budget of "60 Minutes." And the problem is always, how do we get the stations to carry them at a time that anybody would want?
And I had to spend my time cultivating stations. So my question to the whole panel is, you've talked about the different modes and the different delivery systems, and you're going to talk about where we might be going, how are you going to get the audience? How do you carve out an audience to pay attention, even if you do beautiful work?
LEMANN: Things are really different, Jerry, from what they used to be. Some of us journalists remember this thing called the news hole that we used to fight to get part of. You know, the idea was there's a very high barrier to entry and disseminating this kind of information. There's only a few people who can do it, and they have the ability to, as the economists would say, extract rents from people in exchange for that. And so you have, you know, a few providers.
And the precious thing, if you're on the production side, if you're a working journalist especially, is to get space. Once you've got the space or airtime, the audience came guaranteed.
Now, you know, anybody can start a website and broadcast to a worldwide market. So it's really a question of, you know, how big an audience you can build.
The finding that those of us who operate websites have is, first, you can develop quite a large Web audience, and that audience, despite a lot of fear and hand-wringing, seems to be able to know what's real news and what isn't. And a chief example is the 20 million or so audience of The New York Times online.
In other words, the big audiences are where most people in this room would want the big audiences to be, if you will, with the possible exception of the Drudge Report. And that itself is all aggregated from mainstream news sites, or almost all.
To keep an audience, it's like -- I don't know if any of you remember from your children these things called Tamagochis that they confiscated in schools, where you'd have to, quote-unquote, "feed" them every three hours or they would die.
HOCKENBERRY: Yeah. It's your secret friend -- (inaudible) -- yes.
LEMANN: Yeah. So that's the experience if you operate a website. It's very easy technologically to put up a fabulous piece of journalism. And sometimes, if it's a super-mega home run it will get a big audience. But you know, to really build an audience for a site, you have to just feed it all the time. People have to know every two hours when they go look at it there's going to be new content there. And if you do that, you can build a really significant community. That's the good news.
The bad news is almost nobody who has succeeded in doing that is making money doing it. And the few that are, to go back to the point raised earlier, are really people like Bloomberg News who are providing kind of actionable information that you can make money on in real time, which applies somewhat but much less than totally to overseas reporting.
HOCKENBERRY: But to take Jerry's point there, PBS has specific distribution problems in terms of reaching its audience that are unique and probably don't apply to Chris' situation, et cetera. And aside from Margaret and the NewsHour, there is no sort of lateral way to reach the PBS news audience, though it does exist, and numerically it does exist.
But Gordon, let me direct a follow up to you. And Nick raised this point. The Bloomberg create-your-own-audience-and-then-run-with-it kind of idea that you're basically dealing with aficionados who want a particular brand of information, actionable in the case of Bloomberg. But in the case of Politico, not necessarily actionable, it's news that you want about politics, about a specific domain. They've been very, very successful with that.
Does international news have a play here in the sense that you create aficionados who are really interested in what's going on, either in regions of the world or in the broad domain of international news? And can you monetize that?
CROVITZ: Absolutely. So I think Nick is absolutely right. There are news brands that have much larger audiences now online than they ever had in their old medium, print, broadcast, whatever it might have been. The opportunity to monetize, to bring brass tacks or platinum tacks, if we're lucky, the ability to monetize that audience has been, so far, a challenge.
I myself think that it's, in large part, from want of trying. That the GlobalPost approach, the Passport approach -- by the way, the NPR approach -- essentially is to say, we know that some modest percentage of our audience is deeply, deeply, deeply engaged. They associate themselves with GlobalPost, with NPR, with The Guardian, with The Times, with The Wall Street Journal, whatever it might be. That is part of themselves.
Those people are very, very likely, if offered something beyond what is otherwise available, to become a subscriber in some form, a sponsor, a donor, a supporter, a subscriber. And I think the Web is this enormous audience where virtually any news brand, if you can imagine 10 percent of the monthly online unique visitors to those brands paying $50 a year, $100 a year, would not solve all the problem, but it would certainly alleviate a large part of the problem.
HOCKENBERRY: Well, the (perennial ?) pitch for that is, feel better about yourself and give, you know, because it's not free. Now, in the real business world, that is like there are 10 percent who are suckers, and then there are 90 percent who get it free. (Laughter.)
CROVITZ: In defending the market and not treating consumers as suckers, there are models in the world, which are increasingly common, where websites, for example, will allow people to read 10 articles a month for free, and then after that, people are asked to pay more for them. In other words, people who are sort of a casual user of a website maybe forever will access it for free, but that 10 percent or so who really want everything from that brand -- it could be a Chinese-language newspaper based in Hong Kong that is free in Hong Kong, but they charge people in San Francisco and Sydney and London and Toronto where they live to read it. There are many models like that that are just beginning to get tried.
And I would predict, if we come back in a couple of years, that this will be, you know, one of the rare, bright spots of revenue generation which, as Charlie and his team, I think, are showing, one of the beauties of that approach is it's not just relying on advertising. The editors, the producers, the publishers can focus on the user and what the user really values.
And that is much more exciting, I think, for journalism than hoping that the advertising market comes around.
HOCKENBERRY: Christopher, you had something to say.
ISHAM: Well, I just wanted to -- this isn't responsive to the Web issue, but I think our experience has been that I don't think there's any question that there is an audience out there for international reporting and international news. And again, cite the "60 Minutes" example. I mean, "60 Minutes" maintained a very high level of reporting, continues to do serious reporting on everything from credit-default swaps to the war in Afghanistan. And they've remained in the top 10 week after week after week. It's a hugely successful show. And there are some things, the result of many, many years of building an audience, which is a huge advantage it has. Its address is a huge advantage coming after football. Clearly, it has advantages.
But with that said, they have maintained a very, very high level. And despite the fact they've lost a lot of their original cast, it continues to do incredibly well. So that, to me, tells us that there is an audience out there if you know how to reach them and you tell good stories, which a great, great part of this.
HOCKENBERRY: Quickly, and then we'll get another member.
SENNOTT: Okay, just quickly, I agree completely that it really is about the great stories. And to answer your question directly about audience building, I mean, one of the most exciting things we have at GlobalPost right now is our audience and watching it grow. So we are growing at a rate of 35 percent a month for every month we've been around, which is all of seven and a half months.
But we've reached 3 million visitors now to our site. I don't know how much you want to get into the metrics of the Web, but we could, at some point, if you want. The short story is that we have managed in seven months to build a community that's really interested in international news. And our metrics, and you can really study these with Google analytics, you can know exactly how many times people are coming back, how many page visits there are, time on site on every story.
And one of the most exciting metrics we see is a fully engaged community that keeps coming back. And when they come back, they engage deeply. And that says to me that the Web can also tell us that people do care about international reporting and they do care about great stories.
HOCKENBERRY: A question right here from a member.
QUESTIONER: Hi. Bob Lifton. This is more of an addition to Passport. There is a new technology now that just takes this whole thing one step further, and that is the ability to have unlimited numbers of people on a meeting, on video, on the Web, including hand-held devices, so that people can participate and watching news as it's taking place. And you guys can have people interviewed and talking to these people and charged for that specific group. And they can participate on their BlackBerrys. They can participate on their hand-held iPhones and all.
HOCKENBERRY: Certainly, we saw that in Iran on some level. That was a sort of journalistic component. There are also -- during the U.S. Open, you can see people reacting instantly to whether Melanie Oudin can come back or not, which has certainly news implications. Are these positive, monetizable things, Nick?
LEMANN: Again, I'm not seeing -- I mean, we have a really big, natural experiment going on here because the barriers to entry are so low. And we have at least two people on the panel with me are out there taking part in it in an up-close and personal way, which is great and all applause to them.
There's a pretty clear finding, I hate to say, so far from this very large, very distributed, natural experiment, which is almost nobody is making money on online Web journalism.
So I'll return to where I began and say, you know, there's a very rich set of options available to a society if something is a public good and isn't supported by the market. And those would include, you know, a whole bunch of things that sit in the not-for-profit sector, a whole bunch of things that sit in the public sector, not limited to direct subsidy. And we should be exploring those as vigorously as some of my fellow panelists are exploring the other options.
HOCKENBERRY: Specifically, do you think the issue, sort of from the Hoover era to today, would be a fee charged to all Internet service providers, that would cover this kind of phenomenon and pay people who provide news and information, like the BBC sort of forces people for (videos ?)?
LEMANN: I like that idea. Some of my colleagues and I are working on a big kind of report on the future of journalism, which will be out about six weeks from now, five weeks from now. The lead author is Lynn Downey, ex-editor of The Washington Post. And his colleague is Michael Schudson, a scholar on our faculty.
They'll be proposing a number of specific solutions, one of which is a variant on that. So I think that's a promising avenue.
But just to go back to an earlier and as chance to do a shout-out, I mean, there's all sorts of people doing great stuff. I mean, you guys are doing great stuff. The fact that it's not all making money is a concern and something we should talk about, but let's not get off the idea that there's a tremendous amount of wonderful international reporting and domestic reporting being done right now.
And the decline story, because of all the big metro papers cutting back bureaus, is not the only story. Shout-out time -- one of our recent grads, sitting back in the audience, Basharat Peer, has just published a wonderful book on his native Kashmir and is signed up to write a second one. One of his classmates, who some of you may have read about, Kelly Niknejad, is putting out a wonderful blog called Tehran Bureau which Fareed Zakaria recently called indispensable.
You know, this is unbelievable stuff for people two years out of school. Kelly's, you know, doing this out of her parent's basement. So they're all going broke, but they're doing it. (Laughs.)
So another way to frame the problem is, if we look at the miraculous technological and production possibilities, they're so much better than what we had before. Let's think about, solve for that and find ways to pay for it, some of which may sit inside the market system, some of which may not.
HOCKENBERRY: But it's fair to say that the narrative that Nick is describing is consistent with what you were saying, Gordon, in that brands are being developed in parent's basements, and it's not really a basement where GlobalPost is, it's a fine office there in Boston, but as these brands develop, then the monetizable models get connected to them. And it's conceivable that some of these people later in their careers will be able to make a living wage.
CROVITZ: And I think, you know, the business side of journalism is, to some large degree, at fault. Which is to say, for years, have undervalued the journalism by not charging very much for a magazine, for a newspaper, for other forms. And that's only accelerated on the Web. And instead of communicating to people that there's no hope that the government's going to have to subsidize -- God help independent journalism if that ever happened -- instead, the message should be independent, authoritative, trustworthy journalism from around the world is valuable to people.
And they shouldn't feel like suckers if they end up contributing to their favorite sources. And I think that is a sharp shift, surprisingly, but one that, I think, is very much needed.
HOCKENBERRY: Another question -- Bill, and then here in the center.
QUESTIONER: Bill Blakemore, ABC News, a Murrow fellow in '84. A question for Charlie and Gordon, and really for all of us. It's called the worldwide Web, and English is something like the lingua franca of the planet at the moment. Increasingly, from scientists we hear this, of course.
And so that raises an interesting question about who the audience now is. Do you guys get any sense of you're beginning to build a global audience? Can you measure that? I mean, is that changing the way you work as editors and that your writers work as writers?
SENNOTT: Great question. So one of the things, you absolutely can monitor it. I mean, every day we can look on Google analytics and we can analyze exactly who's reading our stories and where they're reading them from. And another exciting aspect of the metrics for this very young GlobalPost is that we're being read in every country in the world except for two -- North Korea and, for some reason, Serbia. I have no idea why this is, but I've got a friend in Belgrade. I'm working on getting him online. (Laughter.)
HOCKENBERRY: Nobody told you, huh, Charlie?
SENNOTT: So we're really excited about sort of the reach you can have. But that said, we are very intentionally trying to write to an American audience that we think has really few options for international news. You know, Nick pointed out a truth which is really exciting. If you don't like The New York Times correspondent, you can go find The Guardian, or you can look at how Japan is covering this.
But for a country as large as we are with as many investments as we have in so many different ways overseas, we really have a pretty barren landscape for international news. It's really depressing. You know, I loved in London for five years. But you only have to be there one week on vacation and watch the BBC, and you come home seething with jealousy. And you ask, what the hell happened in America that we don't have that level of quality reporting on international stories every day of the week?
HOCKENBERRY: You're confusing two sets here, domains. One is the global audience where you don't really need to rely on the Americans, who would prefer to get their news at 6:30 every night on network television. You know, this American audience that is this huge beast, kind of like the consumers in China, who suddenly are going to awaken to international news and make all these business models work. You've got to know which one you're talking about. You can't confuse them.
SENNOTT: That is exactly right. But I think we are trying not to be confused on that front and say, we are very consciously trying to find foreign correspondents who really can write to an American audience and who can tell stories with an ear for the way an American audience would hear them. Because if we don't do that, we won't succeed.
HOCKENBERRY: Let me get to Chris. What is the pressure to take your American audience that tunes in to "60 Minutes" and find a global sort of follow on for that? Is that a difficult challenge for CBS? Is that something that they've given up on? Is that doable?
ISHAM: Well, it's a little bit out of my lane. But I think it's something that has been discussed. We have partnerships with Sky TV, for example, in which we package our material and provide it to them. And it does, it goes all over the world. I mean, we do have a global audience in that sense. It's not the CBS brand, however. So that, I think, is still a work in progress and something which we have been completely dependent on the Web.
We have a huge push on, as all the networks do and all mainstream news organizations do, to try to, you know, improve and upgrade and expand our presence on the Web.
HOCKENBERRY: Gordon, I want to hear your comment, but let me get another member question. You can feel free to refer to it.
We'll go here, here and then in the center. And I think that's probably all the time we'll have. Right there -- yes, please. Please stand.
QUESTIONER: Hi. Kira Kay. I run the Bureau for International Reporting which is a nonprofit. I was at ABC News for many years and decided to take the nontraditional route to fund what we're doing.
I did want to ask Chris as the network rep there, there are still the big three commercial networks. They still have airtime. They still have the audience. How do we get that time back for international news? Minute by minute, ratings -- for those of you who don't know -- bosses sitting there, seeing when their audience turns the dial, how do we get over that and bring this, as Mr. Lemann says, the public good back to the commercial airwaves?
ISHAM: That's a question for me? (Laughter.) Well, we're a business, by definition, and we're not a nonprofit, hopefully we will remain in business and we won't go into the nonprofit category. And that does have an influence on our programming. We want to produce programming that people will want to watch. And that is, you know, there is a constant tension within the newsroom -- and it's not just our newsroom, it's every newsroom -- between what we perhaps as journalists want to put on the air versus what our editors believe will sell, people will want to watch.
And it's an ongoing dialogue, there's an ongoing tension. I think the net effect of that actually is that we produce some excellent television along the way. Is it enough? Is there enough that would satisfy you? I doubt it. But we do produce a great deal of really outstanding programming.
HOCKENBERRY: A question right here -- yes.
QUESTIONER: Hi. I'm Evelyn Leopold. I'm freelancing now, U.N. based. Until recently, I was with Reuters in various parts of the world -- (inaudible) -- do the background, do the features and keep going. My question is, are you -- and I haven't read GlobalPost, I will do that immediately -- but are you forced to do foreign news when there's an American angle?
HOCKENBERRY: Gordon and then Charlie. There's an American angle drive for the coverage of international reporting and some of the brands that we've discussed.
CROVITZ: You know, I want to answer that question a little bit differently, which is to say that there are global brands that are read in the U.S. for international news that are not U.S. brands. The Guardian was mentioned, The Telegraph, both sides of the U.K., have got enormous online audiences, most of which are outside of the U.K., a lot of which are in the U.S.
And people are reading those brands, I think, for high definition on most foreign news and aren't reading The Guardian for coverage of -- (inaudible).
And they're reading those brands and The Economist and some other brands like that because they have a very distinctive point of view, a perspective that is not otherwise available. And there's no reason U.S. brands can't emulate that approach, as some U.S. brands, Newsweek in particular, are now trying to do to make their brands more distinctive, less like everybody else's reporting.
And I think that is part of this technological change. That in the old days, it was all right for a brand to not stand for all that much because it was serving a geographical audience or a mass audience. Brands, I think now, have to stand for much more and to become more different from one another.
HOCKENBERRY: But specifically to the question, does that mean jettisoning the American angle, as you project the information, so that it --
CROVITZ: This is a big -- I mean, one reason -- my own point of view -- I've spent about half my journalistic career outside the U.S. This is a big country. I mean, one reason we have to recall that people in the U.S. focus less on foreign news is this is a big country. The U.K. is a small country.
So I think it's understandable. But the world is now much more relevant to people here, no matter what the news is. I think it's really a question of the most familiar brands not yet having done as good a job as they'll have to do to make international news seem relevant and essential to Americans.
HOCKENBERRY: Okay, Charlie.
SENNOTT: I mean, the answer is no. We don't let the American angle drive the story. We have fantastic correspondents, you know, like, we have Mort Rosenblum in Paris, who wouldn't write a story from his boat there in Paris that only because it's an American angle. He'd tell us something about France that we think an American audience would be interested in.
But that said, you know, I was a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe. And one of the greatest things about being a foreign correspondent for a regional paper was you were constantly looking for this local story. You know, I once covered a guy who was feeding -- all the young Palestinians were throwing rocks at the Israeli soldiers. And I swore I heard a Boston accent in his Arabic. And he was a shwarma, you know, guy.
And I said, where are you from? And he said in perfect Boston accent, Somerville, where are you from? (Laughter.) And I said, oh, my God! So there you have this great local angle, that you can get people who are Boston Globe readers into understanding what he's saying to these young kids and why he moved from Somerville to the West Bank and the hope he had for peace and how it dissolved.
You know, the local angle is a great way to invite people in. But we don't want to be so driven by American interests that we don't open our eyes to the world.
HOCKENBERRY: A question right there. I think that's probably the last. Actually, behind you, sir. But if you already have the mike, go ahead. We'll cram two questions in. Go ahead.
QUESTIONER: I thought you had pointed to me. I'm Claude Erbsen, I'm retired AP vice president, and I was a foreign correspondent for many years.
When we were talking outside, Charlie, you said, the old model of a foreign correspondent with a salary, benefits, moving expenses and what have you and a reasonable living -- nobody ever got rich in journalism -- is finished.
SENNOTT: Some did, actually.
SENNOTT: Some have in recent years.
QUESTIONER: I would like to ask if the rest of the panel agrees that foreign correspondents are going to essentially have to become a monastic order and develop into a sort of an octopus approach of having to scramble around, working for this operation, for that operation, for the other? Or is there still a future for somebody who gets sent out by somebody who pays them a living wage and expects a certain level of coverage, whether it's six stories a day, my days at the AP, or whether you can sit back for three, four days and write a lengthier piece? Is there a future for the old approach, or is it definitely monastic octopus lines?
SENNOTT: God forbid we become monastic. But the high church of the idea that a newspaper like The Globe or The Chicago Tribune or, increasingly, the networks are going to give you that package that some of us were really lucky to have -- I feel really fortunate to have been able to do foreign reporting that way -- but the economics will not sustain that now, unless it's AP, Washington Post or New York Times.
But that said, what I call the Ancien Regime of profligate waste -- I mean, you have to see a network cover John Paul II's funeral to see. I mean, it is absurd what they are spending on some of this coverage when they neglect to cover huge parts of the world. And that was an important funeral. He was important historic figure. And it deserved great treatment, and it was beautifully covered. But the networks, I just watched them because I was there, and I couldn't believe the waste.
And I think there is a new era that's going to be more stealth. It's going to be different, and we're going to have to find that right balance.
HOCKENBERRY: A final question right here in the back. Sorry, sir, I've overlooked you twice. A member question -- you're it, you go. Yes.
QUESTIONER: My name is Abdou Simones (ph), I'm a former fellow. My latest piece of work is a book that will be out at the end of this month on Islamic fundamentalism rising in Southeast Asia. And there will be a piece in Foreign Affairs as well.
HOCKENBERRY: One more, and it's a plug. It's an actual plug. (Laughter.)
QUESTIONER: It is a plug, but it's for myself. I'll start with a quick little anecdote about my former boss at The Washington Post, Kay Graham, who was making a grand tour of Post bureaus and had met at her hotel suite with a young woman who, at that time, was a correspondent, a stringer in Hong Kong. And Mrs. Graham said to her, surely, my dear, you don't live on what we pay you.
And this brings me to the GlobalPost, I'm afraid, and the notion that either you've got a rich aunt somewhere or that you are burning the fire at 23 and ready to risk your life for anything. This goes on. I mean, I started my career in Vietnam and with people who turned out the gutsiest, craziest photographs and news stories were the freelancers who were willing to risk their lives because they were young and hungry.
But the assumption that you can build a solid reporting base from overseas of young kids and mid-career people who are out of work and trying to cobble together a few strings or semi-retired or fully retired people who are anxious to keep a finger in the game, I think, is a nonstarter.
Yet I know from Nick Lemann --
HOCKENBERRY: Question, question.
QUESTIONER: I'm sorry. I'm going to ask my question right now.
I know from Nick Lemann that they have no problems getting top-class students at Columbia. And I'd like to know from Nick or anybody else who wants to toss it in, what is it that attracts young people into journalism today and into foreign correspondency, in particular?
LEMANN: Well, try to tie all these strings together. So there's a lot of journalists in the audience, right? Among the journalists in the audience, raise your hand if your mom begged you to go into journalism because it was a nice, secure living. (Laughter.)
So what I'm saying is people go into it out of love. People go to our school or to NYU out of love. They are entranced by the ability to perform the function. And our students are particularly entranced these days by the lure of being a foreign correspondent. Our student body gets more international every year. And you know, our frustration, there is either a true or urban legend. It's that -- excuse my language -- that the students one year had a T-shirt printed up that said "Fuck Topeka." This is in response to the advice from me and the Career Services Office that you have to go to a small town and make your bones as a journalist. (Laughter.)
HOCKENBERRY: Anyone from Topeka here?
LEMANN: So there's an enormous interest in being a journalist. All this talk about the crisis in journalism, I think, drives interest in young people, because they figure, and they may not be wrong, that we're in a moment when everything has been thrown up in the air. And by the time they're 35, it will have fallen down somewhere, and it won't be quite as chaotic as today.
Going back to Claude's question for a minute. It's pretty clear to me what the landscape may look like, and that is there will be a global, small group of global news brands that will maintain, you know, foreign-reporting staffs. Those staffs will be kind of lighter on the ground, the old days of, you know, the ABC bureau with the chef and the chauffeur for the bureau chief in Paris.
ISHAM: Those days are gone. (Laughter.)
HOCKENBERRY: The chef has to do a report now. The chef has to file.
LEMANN: But they'll have reporters. So that's one category. And there will be however many, 10 players in the world, or something like that. Then there will be a bunch of more specialty brands that do, you know, more like newsletter publishing, very specific business journalism, but subcategories of business journalism.
And then, you know, yes, there will be this big world. But Lou (sp), that's how the book industry works, for example. You know, I remember when I was young, I had that exact same conversation with Mrs. Graham, who I then worked for as a full-time employee, by the way. And then I signed my first book contract, and I had the same conversation with the book publisher.
So you know, a lot of these businesses don't work in any rational way. So I think that you'll see this giant, shaggy, unorganized world of freelancers and super stringers and book writers who sort of piece it together and find ways to do foreign correspondence. Then the specialty tranche. Then this sort of mainstream media tranche.
HOCKENBERRY: Some final thoughts. Chris -- we'll just go down the panel.
ISHAM: Well, I just want to say one thing. I want to echo what Nick has said. I'm consistently impressed with the quality of young people coming into the business. And they really are stunning.
And it's also very right that a lot of them are coming out of journalism schools and much more international in flavor and very, very strong. And my chief foreign affairs correspondent, by the way, to the questioner in the back, is Lara Logan, who works, she's fearless and is a tireless correspondent. And I do not see her heading for the monastery any time soon.
CROVITZ: I want to balance my otherwise optimistic point of view in one regard, which is that the one thing we do have to keep in mind -- to Claude, your question -- foreign correspondents especially require strong institutional backing from time to time. Many of us have had experiences of foreign correspondents having, you know, one difficulty or another around the world, in countries that don't appreciate their presence or their reporting.
If there are 10 such institutions left -- Nick, to your estimate -- that would be great. If it turns out there are many fewer than that, then I would be much more concerned.
And for the GlobalPosts of the world, of which I hope there are many, that institutional power to support journalism in countries around the world, that we can't lose sight of, and that's not something the government support can handle, that's not something that a nonprofit status, I don't think, can handle. It requires a robust business where the business is protecting the reputation of the brand and the journalist to defend people in those circumstances.
SENNOTT: So you know, I think, basically, freelance is a great tradition. I mean, Michael Kelly was a freelancer for The Boston Globe. Samantha Power was a freelancer. Some of the really great journalists have worked on that model of getting out there on a huge story and cobbling it together and telling the story. Not all of the correspondents out there were lucky enough to have benefited from the full package.
There is middle ground here, and that's what we're looking for. And we're going to be looking for those correspondents who live in the places about which they write, who really want to tell the great stories. But we're also going to have to be creative about our business model. We're going to have to think about partnerships.
We just did a great partnership with Public Radio International, GlobalPost and, sort of in a tertiary way, the NewsHour where we did a fantastic group of reports -- video, audio, photography and print -- called "Life, Death and the Taliban." And I urge you to go on globalpost.com and look at that project.
And I really want to invite you to go to the site because, you know, I am from Boston. And Tip O'Neill did say, if you don't ask people to vote for you, you'll never win an election. (Laughter.) And I want to really ask you to go to GlobalPost and check it out and look for Passport and look to become a member of what we're trying to do. Because if we get membership, if we get institutional support, we're going to have full-time positions, and we're going to be a success. And that's our great goal. So I really invite you to check it out. And please, stay in touch with me, let me know what you think.
HOCKENBERRY: All right. I'd like to thank the panel. Please give them a round of applause. (Applause.)
A discussion of old regimes, new regimes, new and old partnerships -- perhaps if we're discussing the future of journalism a year or two from now, it won't --
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
JOHN HOCKENBERRY: We had a terrific conversation this morning, which really gives you a sense of the dimensions of technology's reach into communities that don't get coverage and the importance of delivering information from those communities.