Look here. From tonight this site could be part of the future of newspapers.

Last month Crikey reported on a move by Reuters to link with a political website to offer newspapers political reports and comment from Washington.

Now GlobalPost is planning to offer foreign news to cash-strapped US papers. It is an online news outlet that launches tonight, our time, in the US.

It will be selling more in-depth reports than the raw news reported by the likes of Reuters and the Associated Press.

More than $US8 million has been invested in the business from a variety of sources: it claims to have 65 correspondents in 46 countries, (mostly freelancers paid a monthly retainer). It will have its own website and sell its reports to papers whose readers want analysis of current stories.

According to the website, Philip Balboni is GlobalPost’s president and chief executive. He’s a former president of New England Cable News and a former executive at big US media company, Hearst Corp. The site says Charles Sennott, a long time Boston Globe foreign correspondent, is the other co-founder.

This is the latest of a number of moves by US media groups to cut costs or offer new, low cost services to the struggling US media group.

For example ABC News (owned by Disney) is starting a joint venture with the BBC on Iraq reporting as the US network cuts cuts its coverage of the country.

Time Warner CNN is offering a new wire service to papers and political news website Politico has joined with Reuters to offer Washington coverage to US papers which have slashed their national reporting, as well as their foreign coverage.

The Christian Science Monitor recently said it would offer overseas news to papers. The paper is closing its print edition and will only offer its news coverage from its website starting in April.

In Seattle, one of the two local papers, the Seattle Post Intelligencer will be sold, closed or go web-only, according to the paper which is owned by Hearst Corp. According to Bloomberg the paper lost $US14 million last year and will lose more this year if action isn’t taken. Hearst owns 16 daily papers across the US, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, and Albany Times Union. So far the deal in Seattle hasn’t been applied to these other outlets.

As well, the two remaining Detroit papers are cutting back deliveries to subscribers to Thursday, Friday and Sunday and pushing more reports onto its website, papers will still be printed and sold through news stands and other outlets such as convenience stores.

Late last month, The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post said they would begin sharing stories and photos in a deal intended to save money for both papers.

And last week the New York Times sold and published its first ever Page one ad.

Peter Fray

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