A visit to GlobalPost

December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Before Thanksgiving, we paid a visit to the newsroom of GlobalPost, an international news website based on Boston’s waterfront. Aside from the beautiful architecture and the breathtaking views of the water, the visit impressed upon me the importance of a news organization operating with a sound business structure. GlobalPost uses a for-profit/non-profit model to get the best of both worlds, and it’s been working well for them in a business climate that’s seen many papers close, or on the brink of closure.

But on to the site. It’s a great, comprehensive source of international news. I usually get my international news from The New York Times (I get all my news from NYT actually. I love it.), but this site provides a refreshing departure from The Times. And because its focus is only on international news, it tends to have a more, well, focused approach than a news source that covers much more. I like the way it links to so many other sources – it’s a way of giving the site a more comprehensive feel. But I don’t like how it doesn’t identify those links within the story. You’ll get a link mid-sentence to something important, but the sentence doesn’t always directly attribute the information. I’d like to know what I’m clicking on before I click it, you know?

It’s special reports are another feature of the site I like. There’s something attractive about a nicely packaged, multimedia story. It feels like they’re giving you all the info you need to know about a certain topic.

The feature, “Life, Death and the Taliban” is especially good. The page is really well done. Pictures, articles, videos, a timeline – all set up in a nice little box and ready to be experienced. My favorite part is the timeline. It takes an issue (terrorism in the middle east) and repackages it into an easy-to-understand timeline that provides a necessary context for such an important (and sometimes confusing) issue.

The thing I don’t like about the feature is it doesn’t include all of GlobalPost’s content – below the nice, graphic package is various lines of text links to other relevant stories. Why not include those in the visual part above?

Another cool thing about the site is its Study Abroad series, which includes stories by college students who are abroad. Here’s what I would pitch for the series:

An article about civillian reaction to WikiLeaks. Julian Assange and his nefarious site must be worrying the helpless masses at the mercies of their governments’ leaked secrets.

A slideshow of pictures of Christmas around the world.

A video following people doing their jobs in other countries (I know this sounds mundane, but I’m a sucker for personal stories and seeing how people live. Plus, I think employment in other countries is slightly different than it is here.)

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