‘The Era of the Foreign Correspondent Is Over’
It will be named for a word that is the same in dozens of languages. It will recruit
English-speaking journalists from countries like India and Singapore to cover
the news. And according to its cofounder, “The era of the foreign
correspondent is over.”
These are among the ideas in store for the new media venture led by Justin
Smith, the former chief executive of Bloomberg Media, and Ben Smith, the
former editor of BuzzFeed and media columnist for The New York Times,
according to remarks by Justin Smith during an online seminar.
The Smiths, who are not related, have been tight-lipped about plans for
their new company, which has captured the fascination of the media industry
because of its high-profile founders and their ambitious pledge to compete
with international outlets like Reuters, The Associated Press and The Times.
The Smiths are seeking tens of millions of dollars in funding from prominent
investors. They announced the hiring of Gina Chua, a top editor at Reuters
who will serve as executive editor.
Justin Smith offered some new details during an hourlong Zoom interview
sponsored by the Harvard Business School Club of New York.
“We’ve chosen a brand that we’re going to be unveiling in a couple of months
that is the same word in 25 or 35 different languages,” Smith told the
moderator. “It is very intentionally going to be able to live in Asia or
Europe or the Middle East or America.”
Smith did not reveal the name that he had selected. English words that are
the same or similar in many other languages include taxi, tea, coffee, chai,
sugar, pajama, radio and soup.
Smith also shared his thoughts about what he called the end of an era where
news outlets based in London, New York or Washington dispatched journalists
to foreign countries to report on the goings-on there. He asked why foreign
readers would not prefer a homegrown English-speaking native to report the
news in their region.
“The idea that you send some well-educated young graduate from the Ivy
League to Mumbai to tell us about what’s going on in Mumbai in 2022 is
sort of insane,” Smith said.
Instead, he said he would pursue “very educated, English-language-educated
journalists all around the world,” describing an opportunity “for scaling
local and regional newsrooms at a lower cost.”
文／Michael M. Grynbaum 譯／李京倫