Op-eds, Opinions

Leser ’19: For global perspective, see the DailyChatter

By
Op-Ed Contributor
Friday, December 7, 2018

Many of us want to stay up-to-date on the news. More than 250 Brown students take it one step further. They wake up to DailyChatter, a short newsletter that covers vitally important but under-covered events.

DailyChatter drops into inboxes at six o’clock every weekday morning. Its ambitious mission is to brief readers on “the world in two minutes.” Recent topics have included a rare meeting between two major opponents seeking to lead Libya, a crackdown on corrupt politicians in Malaysia and court convictions for the murder of an indigenous rights activist in Honduras.

DailyChatter is an independent and non-partisan newsletter, which for the past year, has been available and free for Brown students and faculty. The DailyChatter’s news service team partnered with the Brown Journal of World Affairs to give students and faculty access to their subscription last semester. The Journal seeks to start serious academic discussions about pressing global issues. Its leaders believed that campus-wide access would allow students to contribute meaningfully to those discussions. In a few concise paragraphs, DailyChatter provides the essentials on all the topics it covers — necessary background information, news and analysis.

Fellow students and DailyChatter subscribers have found the newsletter a useful tool to learn about parts of the world that often escape mainstream media attention. The format of the newsletter is particularly convenient, allowing busy students to set aside a few minutes and learn something new.

The founder and co-executive editor of DailyChatter, Philip Balboni, is an international news enthusiast and entrepreneur who has spent the past 50 years working in print, television and digital journalism. From his office on the Boston waterfront, he supervises a team of nine dedicated professionals who create DailyChatter’s original content.

DailyChatter fills an important gap in the market. It responds to a growing demand for clear and complete, yet accessible information. It is more comprehensive, not to mention more global than your Twitter feed or even the New York Times’ Morning briefing and The Wall Street Journal’s The 10-Point. There is no app to download and nothing to type into your search bar: DailyChatter is a truly low-effort endeavor for readers.

Each edition focuses on five different topics from around the world. The daily digest includes a “Need to know” section, a detailed yet pithy report on a noteworthy region. The same country is never featured two days in row, nor twice within the same week. The newsletter always ends with a globally-focused scientific “Discoveries” section, meant as a change of pace from more conventional news.

Front page news involving the United States and other major powers is, when warranted, featured in DailyChatter. Recently, it has not failed to include the G20 summit in Argentina, the conflict in Yemen, the unfolding of Brexit and protests in France. However, DailyChatter does not highlight American or European interests and viewpoints. It strives to remain fair — one of its core values.

The condensed nature of its 1,200-word format must not, however, be misinterpreted for a lack of journalistic rigor. DailyChatter is written and edited by highly-experienced reporters. They collect information through a variety of reporting sources, but the newsletter publishes original work, Balboni said.

While Balboni is based in Boston, the rest of the team is scattered around the globe. Some of the other members are based in vastly different places, ranging from Delhi, Berlin and Paris to Washington, D.C. Though many subscribers pay to receive DailyChatter, it is available for free at more than 36 universities around the United States. The company is able to fund its university initiative through grants from the Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, as well as through partnerships with media outlets such as the Boston Globe and individual subscriptions.

DailyChatter does not seek to usurp readership from traditional American media. However, a few minutes spent a day learning about issues affecting those whom we otherwise rarely read about is time well-spent.

Sarah Leser ’19 can be reached at sarah_leser@brown.edu.   Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and other op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.