PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A media entrepreneur who's doing for international news digitally what he did for New England news on cable TV, will receive the 2013 Stephen Hamblett Award for a career promoting the people's right to know.
Philip Balboni, a co-founder in 2009 of GlobalPost who earlier conceived and launched New England Cable News, will be honored at the New England First Amendment Coalition's annual luncheon in Boston on Feb. 8."Phil is a pioneer in journalism with an incredible resume of accomplishment in broadcast and digital media," said Terrence Williams, NEFAC treasurer and president and publisher of The Telegraph of Nashua, N.H."His involvement with GlobalPost, a meaningful expansion of international journalism, is a credit to his vision and a benefit to those who seek a broader understanding of world events," Williams said.Balboni and Charles M. Sennott, formerly an international correspondent with The Boston Globe, launched GlobalPost in 2009 "to help fill the enormous void that has grown up in coverage of the world by U.S. news organizations," the organization's mission statement says in part. "More than ever before in history, we need knowledge of other countries and of the global forces that are impacting our economy, our environment and our very security."GlobalPost's correspondents now file stories from more than 50 countries each month.Williams, chairman of NEFAC's nominating committee, said Balboni's commitment to the First Amendment "is visible in the manner in which he increased news coverage in New England, by founding New England Cable News, helping to build WCVB-TV into one of the premiere stations in the country and his straightforward editorials that he broadcast personally on air."Balboni, a graduate of Boston College, began his journalism career at the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch and later served as roving correspondent news editor in the Boston bureau of United Press International. He went on to become news director and vice president of WCVB-TV, where he developed the often-honored nightly newsmagazine "Chronicle."Always an innovator, Balboni came up with the NECN concept and negotiated the joint venture between the Hearst Corp. and Continental Cablevision, now part of news Comcast. NECN went live in 1992 as the nation's first 24-hour, regional TV network. Balboni served initially as its chairman and then as president and CEO for 16 years. He stepped down in 2008 to devote his energies to GlobalPost with Sennott, who is executive editor and vice president of the website dedicated to international news.This will be the third presentation of the Hamblett award, which NEFAC introduced in 2010 to highlight a career of First Amendment advocacy. The award is named for the late chairman and publisher of the Providence Journal. Previous recipients were Martin Baron, editor of The Boston Globe, and retired New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis.The luncheon will be held in conjunction with the New England Newspaper & Press Association's 2013 convention and trade show at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.
The New England First Amendment Coalition is a member of NFOIC. NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public's right to know. A broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society, NEFAC members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians, academics and private citizens.