I wrote yesterday about the questions and concerns I had about my favorite television news program, PBS Newshour, announcing a partnership to use the international reporting services of Boston-based GlobalPost. GlobalPost, I found, has been described as a “blog” and even NewsHour last evening called it a “Web site.”
Today, I received the following email from a fellow who says he is the communications and marketing person at GlobalPost. I am posting his email here to show what I consider to be the troubling, threatening tone of this outfit, and I invite your comments:
I received your message yesterday, but I couldn’t quite make out your phone number and couldn’t return the call. I saw your post “PBS Newshour Outsources International News,” and your article is so riddled with errors and inaccuracies that we request you remove it immediately.
I have to wonder if you spent a single second researching GlobalPost. I have to conclude that you didn’t, because if you had you would have easily found on our site — or in hundreds of articles posted by major news organizations, including the New York Times, that describe GlobalPost’s model in detail – that GlobalPost is not an “international news aggregator blog.” We don’t aggregate content and we are not a blog. If you had done the slightest bit of research, you would have learned that we are a news organization with a network of 70 credentialed journalists filing stories to us from 50 countries. Yes, they are freelancers, but they also have a contract with GlobalPost to deliver stories each week. All of our correspondents are career journalists. While you write: “some you’ve hear of and many you’ve never heard of,” many are award-winning veteran journalists that have reported for major US news organizations, including: the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, CNN, FOX News, the Associated Press, Reuters and NPR, among many others. The network includes two Pulitzer Prize winners and the editorial output is vetted and managed by a group of top-notch editors in Boston under the direction of our Executive Editor Charles M. Sennott, a respected career journalist and foreign reporter.
You also would have learned, if you had done one iota of reporting, that the Huffington Post and Bill O’Reilly are marketing partnerships – we do not share any editorial responsibility for the content. Those sites give our original content wider reach by displaying it for their audiences, and we are proud of those partnerships. The announcement released yesterday about our partnership with the NewsHour is clear that we will be working together on the segments that appear on their air. Last night on the NewsHour, they did a two-way interview from Kandahar with our correspondent Ben Gilbert. Gilbert’s work has aired on NPR, the PRI/BBC program “The World,” the Canadian Broadcasting Co., BBC and ABC Radio. Gilbert’s articles have appeared in US News and World Report and the San Francisco Chronicle. He spent two years for NPR as Baghdad producer, filing for NPR’s “Newscast,” “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition” and “Day to Day.” He then spent six months in Iraq as bureau chief for Voice of America and “Marketplace.” Is that experienced enough for you?
You should be very careful before you suggest that GlobalPost is “devoid of professional journalistic standards” without any evidence to back it up. Our organization is built on the ideal of professional journalistic standards and we are confident that our reporting lives up to that ideal.
If you consider yourself a journalist, we ask that you accept responsibility for the errors in your piece and remove it. You have disparaged our organization and our people. We are available to talk and I await your response.
Director of Communications & Marketing
The Pilot House/Lewis Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
It should be noted that neither GlobalPost nor Byrne were available to “talk” yesterday before my blog piece was posted.
Let me also call attention to one distortion in Byrne’s email. I did not make a statement about “devoid of professional journalistic standards.” I merely asked a rhetorical question. It was he who made the statement in the email above.