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News Hole

Senior writer Michael Anft's cover story, "The World, in Eight Weeks" (page 30), hit home for a lot of us on staff. The story is about the Johns Hopkins-affiliated International Reporting Project, which trains journalists for overseas reporting. It touches on the fact that newspapers are struggling to keep afloat, not only because of the immediate economic crisis but because of a longer trend toward becoming a profit-oriented industry in an increasingly post-print (and therefore post-print ad revenue) climate. We all keep company with a lot of reporters, editors, and photojournalists, so we know intimately their struggle to do their jobs well in such an environment. We're also a bunch of news junkies who deeply want to maintain access to information about what's happening locally and globally. Such access will become increasingly rare as newspapers fold.

More important than our own interest, though, is our readers'. In his story, Mike references a survey that suggests that Americans in general aren't all that engaged in international news. But I'm gambling that our readers buck that trend. After all, Johns Hopkins is a global entity. Students and faculty from all over the world trade ideas in Hopkins classrooms. Hopkins researchers work in Africa, Asia, Europe, South and Central America. Hopkins has campuses in Italy and China, and partnerships in many more countries. Its alumni are scattered across the globe. We send almost 10,000 copies of the magazine overseas each issue.

Another example: The Knowledge for the World campaign, which ended December 31, raised $3.74 billion. The goal of the campaign wasn't simply to build buildings and fund scholarships and research, though obviously those things are critical, but to improve lives around the world. (See "The Tally Is In," page 19). More than a quarter of a million people, including many of our readers, contributed to that effort.

Given that kind of world view and world interest, I'm confident this story will hit home with you as well. I'd also add that, as traditional media sources give way to their online counterparts, the long-format story is being replaced by news bites and pithy blogs — shorter stories and shorter attention spans. But rest assured, not Johns Hopkins Magazine. Please enjoy Mike's eight-page, 4,500-word treatment!
— Catherine Pierre

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