‘The Era of the Foreign Correspondent is Over’: Justin Smith on his Media Start-up
“The idea that you send some educated young graduates from the Ivy League to Mumbai to tell us what is happening in Mumbai in 2022,” Mr. Smith said.
Instead, he said, he would pursue “very educated, English-language-educated journalists around the world,” describing an opportunity “to enhance local and regional newsrooms at a lower cost.”
He also argued that many foreign news readers were ill-treated.
“You probably went to school in America, you are very well educated, you are connected to your worldwide network and your family – and the quality of your local media is not surprising,” Mr. Smith said. “It’s either state-censored or, it’s just, journalism isn’t great.”
“So, what do you do?” He continued. “You say, well, okay, let me pick up The New York Times, or let me pick up The Wall Street Journal, or let me pick up The Washington Post. And what do you get? You get what you expect If you read something that has the word New York in it, or something that has the word Washington in it. Or you go to CNN and you get a feed from Atlanta, some regional story from the Midwest, and you’re sitting in Singapore.
(The Post and The Times, among other US outlets, have expanded their reporting presence in Europe in recent years. CNN broadcasts an international feed outside the United States.)
Mr. Smith told his listeners that he was reluctant to share much of the plan. (“When you’re starting a new company it’s not a huge advantage to take away all the specifications.”) But he allowed them to launch in the United States and “at least one other major international market.” And he is expected to be integrated into a live event business. The co-founders are aiming to launch in the second half of this year.
Mr Smith also said that he was interested in the automatic translation of non-English-language news articles. “The quality of translation software for journalism is actually quite amazing; It captures subtlety and nuance in a way that was not there in previous years,” he said.
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