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President’s Message: 2010 in review

To: Our Readers

From: Philip S. Balboni, President, CEO and Co-Founder of GlobalPost

The year 2010, GlobalPost’s second year of operations, brought with it dramatic new challenges for our international coverage, most notably with the expansion of the war in Afghanistan, the horrific earthquake in Haiti that claimed nearly a quarter of a million lives, and the slow rebuilding of the global economy. But these are just a few of the hundreds of vitally important stories from across the world that played out during the past year. We created GlobalPost to help fill the void in foreign coverage that has been growing wider and deeper in recent years. And who could dispute that international developments have greater impact today on the lives of Americans and people of all nations than ever before in history. These stories cry out for strong, objective and consistent reporting and that is the very core of our mission.

I’m proud to report that GlobalPost’s progress has been very good again this year. Perhaps most importantly, we are proud of the way our brand has spread literally around the world and of the growth in our audience which reached more than 10 million readers this year, nearly triple 2009’s total. Thanks to you we exceeded all of our monthly audience goals this year, passing the one million unique visitor mark in September and reaching the year’s highpoint in October with nearly 1.3 million readers.

Let me share with you a few other audience highlights:

61 percent of readers come from the United States and the rest from virtually every country on earth, 234 in all in 2010 and an average of 220 country visits each month. Top traffic sources include Canada, the U.K., India, Australia, Germany, Indonesia, France, Japan, Turkey, China, Singapore and the Netherlands.

65 percent of readers are male, 35 percent female.

60 percent of our readers are 18 to 49 years of age which is a surprisingly young audience for news. We hope this helps to prove that younger people do care about what’s happening in the world and find the internet to be the most convenient source for news.

29 percent have a household income between $60,000 and $100,000 and 35 percent have a household income above $100,000.

47 percent have college degrees and 23 percent attended graduate school.

GlobalPost also has acquired more than 118,000 Facebook fans. That puts our site in the top rank of all news organizations and far ahead of venerable brands like the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, Slate, Salon and Politico.

Most importantly, we have worked hard to create a compelling online news site with distinctive reporting from every corner of the world. We’ve published more than 7,000 original reports and multi-part series since our launch.

While there are literally hundreds of outstanding examples from this past year, let me highlight a few that showcase the high quality of our reporting. Our “On Location” video series is unique and ambitious, employing the highest standards of professional video production with an authenticity and grit that is palpable. Each video report takes viewers to a remote location — from deep inside the Congo to the mean streets of Juarez, Mexico, introducing viewers to extraordinary characters and providing context on key global issues.

In the special multimedia report “Rise of the Megacities,” GlobalPost attempted the kind of ambitious project that has become increasingly uncommon for established American media, let alone for an online news organization. Through months of tireless reporting, our correspondents Erik German and Solana Pyne delivered a series of in-depth written reports and five documentary videos that provide an extraordinary look at urban living in Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of the world’s sprawling urban behemoths.

Our correspondent James Foley, embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, brought us an incredible video of a firefight in Kunar province, and our Senior Correspondent Jean MacKenzie’s reporting on the war in Afghanistan sparked a year-long government probe into USAID funding which found that Afghan subcontractors have been funneling millions of dollars in American taxpayer money to the Taliban.

We also delivered an ambitious series of reports on the state of gay rights around the world, an examination of Africa’s middle class, in-depth reports on the global financial crisis, and a 70-part series on global education. These efforts are among the many ways that GlobalPost is delivering on our commitment to offer a breadth and depth of international coverage that is increasingly rare today in any medium.

We now have a staff of nearly 20 people at our Boston headquarters and we’ve added two new editors for 2011, one of whom is based in Mumbia, India. Their assignment is to expand GlobalPost’s breaking news content and to improve our engagement with social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Our correspondent corps also continues to expand. On average each month, we pay for reporting from 100 to 120 journalists around the world. And this year we took a very important step and promoted seven strategically placed individuals to senior correspondent status — in Afghanistan, Russia, India, Brazil, and China, in Kenya for East Africa, and in Thailand for Southeast Asia. These outstanding journalists now report primarily for GlobalPost, allowing us to deepen and expand our journalism in these key parts of the world.

Coming in late January is a total redesign of GlobalPost.com, which will dramatically improve navigation and content presentation. You will be able to find more stories and features faster and easier than on our current site. Video reports and photo slideshows will have their own sections with enhanced functionality and we will unveil new GlobalPost blogs and special features crafted to help you to make sense of a complex and ever-changing planet. Overall, the goal of this redesign, which has been in the planning and implementation stages since August, is to move GlobalPost well past its formative stage and to position our site for the editorial, audience, and revenue advances that are needed to drive our eventual success as a business.

And speaking of business, 2010 was a year of very good progress toward our financial goals. We are projecting that total net revenue from all sources will increase 150 percent year-over-year with excellent growth in advertising, our most important revenue stream, and from the syndication of our original content to traditional media. Three of the finest news organizations in America are now affiliates of GlobalPost and use our content: CBS News, the NewsHour on PBS and most recently NPR. We are also proud to serve large daily newspapers such as the Newark (NJ) Star Ledger and the Pittsburgh (PA) Post Gazette, and international partners like the Times of India, Newsweek Japan and the Australian Associated Press. We also re-launched the GlobalPost membership service in 2010 with new technology from our partner Press + and with lower prices and a new monthly membership option. We offer wonderful, unique benefits to members and when you join, you help to support GlobalPost’s overall journalism mission. Please follow this link and give serious consideration to becoming a GlobalPost member.

Personally, 2011 will mark the beginning of my 45th year in journalism. I can honestly say that I have never experienced a more exciting time in this profession despite its many and well publicized difficulties in recent years. Having worked at newspapers, broadcasting and then cable television, all in the best of times for those media, I believe the opportunity before us in the online and digital world surpasses them all. Correspondingly, the intensity of the competition, the speed of change and the technological complexities we face are each greater and more daunting than any I have seen before. Over these past two years we’ve come a considerable distance toward building a wonderful news organization and a business that we hope will stand the test of time.

Thank you again for your readership of GlobalPost. It is always deeply appreciated.

You are most welcome to be in touch with me at any time at pbalboni@globalpost.com.

With my best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year,

Phil Balboni

See previous message from the president.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/worldview/110106/president%E2%80%99s-message-december-31-2010