After abandoning a previous attempt to cover the American news market from U.S. shores, U.K.-based Guardian News & Media announced on Friday that it will try it again — launching a new New York-based digital operation later this year.
“We've learned a lot about what digital journalism can do, and now we want to build on that to cover America better and cover the world better for our American users,” Janine Gibson, the Guardian’s new U.S. editor, said in a release. “To do that, we'll be mixing the journalistic ambition, trust and long history of the Guardian with the energy and innovation that comes from being a start-up in the world capital of digital media."
Gibson, current editor of the Guardian's U.K. site, joins Steve Howe — former U.S. president of the Financial Times — who was hired by the Guardian last week to be its chief revenue officer. Stuart Miller, news editor of the Guardian.co.uk, will become Gibson's deputy in the states.
In 2007, the Guardian launched a U.S. version of its homepage, and operated it from Washington, D.C. with about a dozen staffers. In 2009, Caroline Little, the former Washington Post Interactive publisher, was hired full-time to oversee its American ambitions.
But the Guardian's U.S. build-up fizzled that October, when it ditched the "confusing" GuardianAmerica site, replacing it with U.S.-centric stories already found on Guardian.co.uk. (The U.S. staff was cut, and Little stepped down last August.)
So what makes the company think it’ll work this time, aside from the New York zip code?
There’s a big audience for it, Guardian executives say. Of the 40 million unique visitors the site attracted in February, 8 million were in the U.S., according to Comscore estimates.
"The Guardian has attracted a very considerable audience in America in recent years,” GNM editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger said. “We believe there is real demand for the sort of open, internationalist, digital journalism which we have been pioneering.”