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Columbia Missourian

DEAR READER: We're remodeling Global Journalist to serve you better

By Amy McCombs
January 28, 2011 | 11:48 a.m. CST

Dear Reader:

Many of you have been reading the Global Journalist column in The Missourian and, more recently, online. Perhaps you also listened to Global Journalist on KBIA, read Global Journalist magazine or visited its website.


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If you have just come to know Global Journalist, you might not know its long history here in Columbia.

Since 1998, Global Journalist magazine has reported on the state of press freedom around the world, covered developments in international journalism and served international journalists. The magazine's target audience also includes international opinion leaders and government officials. It is produced by MU journalism students and sent to 140 countries.

The weekly radio show, which got its start five years after the magazine, has always been directed toward a general-public audience with the mission of providing an in-depth approach to world news from journalists' points of view.

Each week we gather three or four journalists from sometimes far-reaching corners of the globe to discuss international news topics for a talk show-style radio program on KBIA.

As far as public radio shows go, there's nothing out there quite like it. Through new technologies of streaming video, podcasts and apps, viewers and listeners around the world are receiving Global Journalist broadcasts online.

For the last several years, Missourian readers have enjoyed a weekly column that transcribes the radio program.
 In today's news environment, however, it's not enough to have a unique, high-quality news product.

We know Global Journalist readers and listeners are highly curious about the world beyond their own geographic area. They are seeking deeper understanding of the issues that emerge in a rapidly changing, complex world. News consumers want their information when they want it, delivered in the form that is the most convenient for them.

That's why Global Journalist is continuing the move to new digital delivery platforms and the exciting tools they provide for more in-depth and informative coverage.

Starting next week, readers will see a new version of the Global Journalist column. It will be more than what you have come to expect. It will continue to give you the substance of the radio program but in an enhanced and enriched way.

You will easily be able to connect to the actual program or to the Global Journalist website, where you can receive additional news and information.

As we progress over the months ahead we will continue to expand content and to integrate it into the column, the broadcast programs and the website.
 But effective convergence requires more than new platforms. It requires a new mindset.

Although we had the social media structures in place (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) we had not built a true community of users and news producers who interact with one another on a constant basis. That's what we're trying to do now.

We acknowledge that news consumers (and especially the Global Journalist audience) are no longer passive absorbers of information, but should be brought into the conversation. In that vein, Global Journalist is working to create an online community of news consumers who are interested in the world beyond their own neighborhood, city or country.

At Global Journalist, we are evolving and exploring the ways we can better serve you, so please send us your feedback and thoughts about the new format for the column, or about anything else we're doing. This period of innovation will undoubtedly lead to some failures, but we'll never know if we don't try.

Thanks for helping us on our new adventure.

Amy McCombs is the Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies at the Missouri School of Journalism.