Arts, Culture & Media

PRI to merge operations with Global Post

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After the deal closes, which is expected in early November, the GlobalPost brand will live on in the form of new products from PRI, including a newsletter, podcasts and blogs.

Credit:

Jonathan Kealing

PRI.org is getting a little more global.

Public Radio International, WGBH and GlobalPost announced Thursday morning that Boston-based WGBH would acquire GlobalPost and merge its operations with PRI — in a deal expected to close later this year.

The two organizations will be maintaining separate websites for the next few months, but GlobalPost’s archives of stories eventually will appear on PRI.org and new stories will be posted there as well. Many members of GlobalPost’s staff of about 20 will be offered positions at PRI, reporting and editing for PRI.org and for PRI’s The World. 

PRI CEO Alisa Miller said the combination will give PRI the chance to boost its digital audience of about 3 million by as much as 60 percent.

“By acquiring GlobalPost, what it allows us to do is bring in more reporting talent, more digital editors and technical and business development staff to feed that growth,” she said. “We have the opportunity to create one of the best global news websites that appeals to millennials.”

PRI spokeswoman Julia Yager said the financial terms of the deal were not being disclosed.

The integration brings to a close GlobalPost’s six-year run as an independent, for-profit business, devoted to covering global news. But Philip Balboni, co-founder of the Boston-based company, said GlobalPost’s mission and values align well with WGBH and PRI. WGBH acquired PRI in 2012.

“We are united in the belief that America needs more, better and deeper international reporting, something to which PRI has devoted over 30 years. We look forward to reaching new heights of international reporting excellence and digital innovation,” Balboni said in a statement.

After the deal closes, which is expected in early November, the GlobalPost brand will live on in the form of new products from PRI, including a newsletter, podcasts and blogs. Yager said everything that is published under the GlobalPost brand in the future will be “the personal perspective from reporters in the field” — including reporters who may not have a prior connection to Global Post.

GlobalPost has won numerous awards for its journalism and was highly touted after its launch as a bold effort by a for-profit company to do international reporting when other companies were reducing that coverage. In recent years it has also been prominently linked with James Foley, the American journalist who was captured while on assignment for GlobalPost in Syria and executed by ISIS in 2014.

“For all of us in the journalism community, seeing [Foley killed] was horrible. It is our intention to continue reporting from conflict zones,” Miller said. “We’ll continue to take thought and care about when and how we do that.”

Miller said PRI, through its production of PRI’s The World in partnership with the BBC, maintains strict standards about sending reporters into conflict zones, and works closely with the BBC in determining how and when to send reporters into dangerous situations.

The merged editorial operations will be led by PRI’s The World Executive Producer Andrew Sussman and PRI.org Executive Editor David Beard. Sussman and Beard work from the newsroom of The World at WGBH in Boston.

Miller says WGBH’s investment in acquiring GlobalPost and integrating it with PRI is another example of the company’s commitment to positioning public media as a force in journalism into the future.

“The need for trusted, thoughtful and expansive journalism has never been greater, and this is another manifestation of WGBH’s commitment to broadening and deepening public media’s international reporting resources,” WGBH CEO and President Jon Abbott said. Abbott also sits on the board of PRI. “We are excited to invest in PRI’s leadership and strength in global news and innovation to expand our service to the public.”