Our new field guide

BOSTON – Looking back on 2010, it was a year in which journalism crackled with new, perhaps reckless energy in the wake of the WikiLeaks affair and America seemed to face a sense of its own limits. Not just an economic reckoning, which is more than two years underway now. This year suggested more of a strategic reckoning.

Going on 10 years after Sept. 11, we just don’t have much to show in the way of success for our military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nor do we have much to show on the diplomatic front. We certainly have much to be thankful for in the men and women who are doing their best to provide military service or working in the diplomatic corps or in the army of NGOs trying to help. But it feels like the new year will be the time when we as a nation finally face the tough questions that so many empires have faced in Afghanistan.

At GlobalPost, we’re proud of the coverage we provided this year particularly in Afghanistan. Our team has done stellar work there and we are thankful to them for it. We’ve had some notable successes in other areas of our reporting, which I have tried to highlight albeit sporadically here in this blog. But we also recognize that we at GlobalPost have much work to do in 2011. We are poised for a year of change and growth, a pivotal year where we will launch a redesign of the site and where we will take on more ambitious, in-depth reporting.

I would like to keep you involved in the conversation of how we’re evolving as a news organizations. I’ve tried to do that through the blog, but haven’t always succeeded as the demands of the daily news operation have been relentless in our two years since launch. In the spirit of starting fresh and living up to resolutions, I thought I’d copy you in on a New Year memo I just sent to our correspondents in the field and a link to our new 2011 Field Guide for Correspondents. It’s hot off the presses and dated 1/1/11, which as one of my sons just joked will be a one-derful year! We ask that you not reprint the Field Guide without our permission, but we invite you to take a look as it contains our news organization’s core values and it also includes our correction policy as well as nine essays written by seven of our correspondents in the field and from our editor-at-large Sebastian Junger as well as the BBC Washington Bureau Chief Simon Wilson.

Here it is:

To all correspondents in the field,

BOSTON – Wishing you all the best in 2011. Thinking particularly of those of you in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places in the field where you might be far from family and friends. No matter where you are, I trust you are all resourceful enough foreign correspondents to find a glass of cheer. So, here’s to you.
Happy New Year!

Here’s the 2011 edition of GlobalPost’s Field Guide for Correspondents. This year you will see I have updated some chapters and included nine essays from correspondents in the field which we’ve collected over the last two years. I’ve also made an addendum which includes a tip sheet on social networking and our policy for corrections, which was first sent out to you at the beginning of last year. You can quickly retrieve the full 33-page Field Guide for Correspondents at this link.

We hope you will download and save the Field Guide and maybe even be old school enough to print it out. We want you to know it and refer to it when needed. We will have some bound copies here for those of you who might be passing through Boston.

The expectations, standards and policies that are written in the Field Guide shape the core of our relationship with those of you in the field. They have put us in very good stead in the last two years as we’ve worked together to build a news organization which has earned a solid reputation for accuracy and integrity. That has come through the skill and vigilance of our editing team here in Boston and the solid, balanced reporting you correspondents do every day in the field. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work.

The New Year is shaping up as a very exciting one for GlobalPost with a lot of good changes in the air. We are looking forward to the pending launch of our redesign which looks great. We are also looking forward to the transition in our editorial team as Editor Thomas Mucha takes the reins of daily news operations and I turn my focus to Special Reports and a new initiative for in-depth reporting through non-profit funding. It’s a pivotal year for GlobalPost and Tom and I are both looking forward to working together with you to step up our coverage on all fronts.

We are pleased to share the news with you that we have secured two significant grants for 2011, one for reporting on global health and the other for reporting on human rights. I will soon provide more details about those and other grants and how you can be part of these reporting projects. As previously stated, it is my hope that you will be sending along ground-breaking project ideas and that we might have a chance to work together on these Special Reports. I am looking forward to getting back in the field myself in the coming year. Hope to see you out there.

All best in 2011!


Charles M. Sennott
Executive Editor and co-founder

In PoliticsGroundTruth.

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