Craig Timberg has been studying potential revenue sources and business opportunities related to foreign news coverage, which he fears is under particular threat from digital disruption of the news industry. As a former Africa correspondent for The Washington Post, he has watched with growing concern as many traditional news organizations have closed bureaus around the world or withdrawn from global coverage entirely. Driving these decisions has been the conviction that foreign coverage has inherently high costs and slim profit potential, especially when compared to areas that traditionally have drawn more digital traffic, such as sports, politics and entertainment. Through business school classes, interviews with news industry executives and other independent research, Timberg has sought to discover financially viable ways to protect and eventually expand global news coverage in the United States and beyond.
Disappearing profits have forced many U.S. news organizations to curb their international ambitions, but is global coverage really doomed?
Craig Timberg is the national technology reporter for The Washington Post, which he joined in 1998, covering local politics. In 2004, he became chief of the Johannesburg bureau, leading the Post’s coverage of western and southern Africa. In 2009, he became the paper’s education editor — accepting his boss’ challenge to take an entrepreneurial approach to the job. He led his team in rethinking coverage and developing digital strategies to sustain and support the coverage. In less than two years, online education readership tripled, generating enough advertising revenue to support the team. In 2011, he became a deputy editor on the national desk and the following year moved to his current position covering technology, privacy and security. He participated in the Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Edward Snowden revelations, chronicling the tech industry’s response. Timberg grew up in a newspaper family; his father covered The White House and politics for The Baltimore Sun.
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