What is Global Geneva – www.global-geneva.com?
Launched in December, 2016 by a group of foreign correspondents, editors and media specialists concerned about the deteriorating state of credible reporting worldwide, Global Geneva is an independent, international print and online journalism publication in the public interest incorporated in Dublin, Ireland with a non-profit component Global Geneva Group in Geneva, Switzerland. Editorially, we operate with principal contributing editors out of Geneva, Bangkok, Brussels, London, Dublin, Philadelphia and Nairobi.
Our quarterly print/e-edition is Global Insights Magazine (formerly Global Geneva), while Youth Writes is our worldwide young people’s initiative that began in 2019. We publish mainly in English, but are currently developing content in French in order to reach out to the international francophone community as an indispensable component of our outreach.
Global Geneva is the only English-language print/online journalism publication that serves the so-called “International Geneva” community (also increasingly known as ‘International Switzerland’), both at home and abroad. This consists of local, regional and global communities linked to what International Geneva represents, notably a unique and exceptional knowledge and action hub dealing with planetary issues. The Lake Geneva region alone, which includes neighbouring France, is the hub for 14 United Nations agencies, the international or European headquarters of dozens of corporations and foundations, plus hundreds of non-governmental organizations. Hundreds more are located across Switzerland. Many of these organizations have national or regional offices across the globe. Furthermore, several hundred thousand professionals visit both the Lake Geneva region and Switzerland for business, conferences, workshops, festivals and other events every year. Many of these constitute our core readership.
Global Geneva has already established a dynamic and highly-respected identity as the only serious Swiss and European-based publication with worldwide outreach to audiences ranging from aid workers and entrepreneurs to high school students, health professionals and lawyers interested in what International Geneva presents.
Many of our articles are reports from the field ranging from the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh to the questionable impact of cruise ships on local economies in the Caribbean. These are written both journalists and experts. We also focus on the role of organizations, such as the UN, Médecins sans Frontières, EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) and Interpol in Lyon, on global issues. At the same time, we seek to ensure a diversity of stories relating to local and regional communities, such as corruption or conflicts of interest amongst mayors in France, the influence of expatriate writers from Hemingway to Rilke on Switzerland itself, or our Swiss Journeys features, which explore regions, gastronomy and culture.
One of International Geneva’s biggest problems has been that many of the world’s leading experts who are either based in the region or visit for meetings are unaware of major developments that are happening in parallel right next to them. The purpose of Global Geneva is to report and otherwise highlight such developments but in a manner that is accessible to both specialists and non-specialists worldwide.
As independent journalists (we collaborate with a global network of more than 2,000 reporters, writers, videographers and film-makers, photographers, cartoonists and other newsgatherers), our aim is to critically explore key planetary themes in a manner that is both accessible and informed, but also solutions-oriented. We seek to take the debate further. We are not here to be politically correct, but rather to be informative as well as fair and reliable in our reporting.
Our primary focus is to explore the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what “international Geneva” represents to the world. For us, such articles have to be written in a manner that engage the reader with compelling story-telling. Hence some of our stories are written in a “Letter from…” format. This includes reporting a broad array of issues: humanitarian response, peace & security, climate change, access to health, refugees & migrants, conflict mediation, world trade, human rights, cultural heritage, conservation & environment, education, urban development, innovation and new ideas, international law, cyber security & abuse, disaster risk reduction, ecotourism, lifestyles & travel, book & film reviews…
Based on quality journalism, we stress insight rather than news. Our audiences are both young and old and include aid workers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, academics, bankers, diplomats, civil servants, students, journalists, environmentalists, corporate officers, artists, cyber specialists…Many are well-travelled but curious about what is happening to our world. We seek to put across the key issues of global concern so that they are readily understood.
We regularly run Focus series, which are ongoing, such as the impact of climate change on the polar regions, the importance of water, the impact of corruption on development or the destruction of cultural heritage in time of war. Many of our stories are from the field, whether the Caribbean, Afghanistan or Thailand. We also profile key individuals, who have contributed significantly to positive change in the world, but also creative figures such as film-makers, photographers and cartoonists.
As a publication that seeks to respond both to local and international communities in Europe and abroad, we regularly invite outside specialists to contribute well-written and informed opeds to our Agent Provocateur column. We don’t necessarily want people to agree with each other, but rather to present issues that require greater investigation or public attention. As editors, we are willing to help outside contributors to write in a manner that is accessible to broader audiences.
The bulk of our diverse stories are relatively long (800-1800 words) and seek to provide the background insight that an interested reader is seeking. They are also written so that they will stand as ‘evergreens’, notably content that is just as readable in six months, a year or several years from now. We are already finding that many of our articles are being increasingly consulted for research purposes. We also seek to include high quality photography, cartoons and other graphics to better illustrate our stories. We want our readers to enjoy the articles, but also to benefit from angles they may not have necessarily considered. In other words, we seek to highlight trusted journalism. As we develop, we will be including more audio and video podcasts as a means of broadening our outreach, particularly amongst young people.
Global Insights Magazine: Why a print and e-edition?
We are currently in the process of changing the title of our magazine from Global Geneva to Global Insights Magazine. The website name (www.global-geneva.com), however, will remain. While our content is clearly global, including many of our readers, all too often people on the outside believe that we are about Geneva rather than what this city-region represents internationally.For this reason, we have decided to develop it more as a publication for International Switzerland, Europe and Beyond.
In an age when many believe that print is dead, we are finding that our high quality print version is extremely sought after. Many of our readers tell us that they read most if not all the articles in the print version. This makes us more interesting from the advertising point-of-view, but also as a vehicle for attracting more readers to our website. Reader feedback has been extremely positive. Mainly sponsored complimentary copies are distributed to international conferences, workshops, UN agencies, NGOs, law firms, airport lounges, select hotels, businesses, schools and universities. Even high school students tell us that they prefer reading the print edition rather than online, which, as with many digital offerings on the internet, they only tend to skim. As a result, our magazine has become a very important part of our Youth Writes programme enabling teachers to discuss key global issues with their classes.
Youth Writes: Helping young people better understand the role of journalism but also to improve their writing skills
Global Geneva’s Youth Writes initiative has become an extremely important part of our journalistic offerings. If journalism is to survive, we consider it vital to engage youth. Hence, we offer young writers the chance to express themselves and to be published, both in print and online. In 2018/19, we created the Youth Writes Awards. Open to high school students (14-19 years), young people from English-language Swiss schools were invited to submit stories – fact or fiction – about any SDG or ‘international Geneva’ issue. The top three winning entries won travel grants worth 1200, 750 and 500 CHF and were published in Global Geneva. The fact that stories of our laureates were published – and no less in print – provoked enormous interest amongst their fellow students. Our second edition – the 2020 Youth Writes Awards are open to high school students the world over. For more details, please see HERE.
Youth Writes is also about helping young people discern what is credible – and what is not – in social media. Furthermore, as teachers, parents, university professors and company managers are increasingly pointing out, many young people are turning up for higher education or jobs unable to write properly. This is where Youth Writes hopes to make a difference. For this reason, Global Geneva began running special writing workshops in the spring of 2019 aimed at high school students. With COVID-19, we are in the process of developing worldwide webinars aimed at introducing young people to the role of good journalism coupled with the need to write well, regardless which profession a young person eventually chooses, whether lawyer, banker, aid worker, entrepreneur, civil servant, journalist… We are also launching a programme that will help young people find internships and volunteerships both in Europe and worldwide.
Editorial independence, diversity and whistleblowing policies
As professional journalists, many of us with years of experience covering wars, humanitarian crises, human rights, development and other related issues across the globe, we strongly believe in the need to serve the public interest. We also consider independent, critical and solutions-oriented journalism as a basic and imperative component of any democracy and society. It is the role of the journalist to speak out, but also to be fair.
All our funders, supporters, sponsors and advertisers are aware that we regard editorial independence as vital to our existence. As a result, we do not accept any sponsored content that seeks to masquerade as editorial. We offer the possibility for outside writers to contribute opeds as long as they are well-written and informed – and serve to further the public debate. We are not a communications agency. We do not accept ‘placed’ articles nor do we promote. Our role is to report. And this is clearly what our readers want. They are interested in being properly informed. Anything that smacks of promotion or PR is simply not read.
From the diversity point of view, we seek to have a solid mix in our reporting of trusted local and international journalists, regardless of gender. In any case, we do not differentiate. As far as we are concerned, a journalist is a journalist.
Our hope is to have the financial means to engage in more long-term investigative reporting, which some may describe as ‘whistle-blowing’. But we consider it important to highlight issues, such as corruption and conflicts of interest, unfair treatment of employees or human rights abuses. Some of our stories have dealt with such issues and we have been taken to task legally. We are small but we have fought back. And we intend to continue doing so. Far too many of us have dealt with dictators or abuses in our worldwide reporting over the decades to allow ourselves to be intimidated.
How do we fund ourselves?
We started Global Geneva in 2016 with extremely limited funding but an extraordinary amount of goodwill. We first wanted to show what was possible and whether there was a need for such a publication. The simple answer is ‘yes’. But our approach to independent journalism, which includes properly sourced investigative reporting, costs money. We also feel strongly about the need to pay our collaborators properly. Only then can one expect the high quality that Global Geneva has already established for itself. This is also in the reader’s interest.
For the moment, our funding comes primarily from foundation grants, individual contributions, member subscriptions and advertising. Until we know that we can produce four quarterly print editions per year, we have been reluctant to push for subscriptions. We have thus focused on convincing groups and individuals to support us in the public interest. We consider it vital to make our content available to all free-of-charge the world over. At the same time, we need to persuade readers and other supporters to contribute the funding we need in order to operate, particularly long-term. We are very careful with our budgets and operate with low overheads given that most of our operation is virtual. However, we would like to have the means to plan ahead over a two to three year period.
Funding improved significantly in 2019 and for the first time we were able to pay some of our editors and journalists. We also had high hopes of finally being able to plan for more indepth reporting projects across the globe. For the first time, too, we were beginning to prove of interest to advertisers given the quality of readers we are able to reach from Geneva and Brussels to Bangkok, Singapore and Mexico.
We believe that our business model can succeed through a combination of donor and member support as well as advertising. (You can see our donors and partners here) With COVID-19, however, financial support has slowed significantly. We are now seeking funding for both Global Geneva and Youth Writes in order to keep going and in order to respond to the needs of our readers, who are growing in number. For the moment, we estimate a regular readership of 60,000+.
We believe strongly in the importance of working with media and other partners worldwide. Our aim is to make our content as widely available as possible – and free-of-charge – to collaborating partners. These include organizations such as Cartooning for Peace in Geneva,The Rory Peck Trust in London and Nexstep in Bangkok. (See our partners)
For more information, please contact: Edward Girardet, Editor-in-Chief: firstname.lastname@example.org