Good morning, afternoon or evening wherever you are in the world. I would like to introduce you to World Review, the new weekly global affairs email from the New Statesman.
We first discussed launching an international newsletter a few months ago – part of the ongoing expansion of our offering to globally curious readers in the UK and worldwide. But then came coronavirus. It has changed the world in just weeks and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future, upending old certainties about our politics, societies, economies and the global order. All of which has lent new urgency to the case for bringing the New Statesman’s distinctively progressive, sceptical and ideas-led journalism to bear on the task of explaining and debating international affairs.
Yes, producing the weekly magazine and our website has presented new challenges for the whole New Statesman team. I’m writing from a locked-down Berlin, where restaurants, bars and the city’s famous clubs are shut (though bookshops remain oddly, and somehow reassuringly, open). Emily Tamkin, our new US editor, returned from a stint in Delhi just before Narendra Modi imposed the biggest lockdown in history on his country’s 1.3 billion people. She is now surveying American and international matters for the New Statesman back home in Washington, DC. And Sophie McBain, our special correspondent, is covering social affairs, culture and politics from New York City, now the biggest global hotspot of the virus.
Then there is our growing network of international contributors to keep in touch with: in the past month alone we have published reports from Tokyo, Taipei, Shanghai, Kabul, Moscow, Tbilisi, Rome, Milan and Paris. And that is without mentioning the New Statesman’s core editorial team in the UK. We have all had to adapt our working methods. Zoom calls have become a staple part of our working weeks, as they have in many organisations. Editorial planning that used to take place on paper has migrated to shared documents.
But with print distribution inevitably complicated (Donald Trump has threatened to cut air freight, which would force us to supply our US subscribers by ship) and the biggest, most global, most border-crossing story in decades on our hands, the conclusion has been obvious: to commit even more energetically to both increasing the quality and range of our digital coverage and forging ahead with our international expansion.
Hence our new international homepage, which is tailored for readers – whether in the UK or elsewhere – most interested in our global coverage. Hence, too, our recent packages of on-the-ground reports on how coronavirus is affecting countries around the world. And our new World Review newsletter.
World Review will do what it says on the tin. There are plenty of other outlets offering you second-by-second updates on global news. But the coronavirus crisis has also been a reminder of their limitations. We can watch events rushing across our timelines and screens all day and feel all the more anxious, yet none the wiser as to what it all means and where things are going. This email will provide a succinct, digestible commentary, every Friday, of what has really mattered in the past week. It will bring you my take on the one or two most significant global topics (including non-coronavirus ones), as well as Emily’s perspective from Washington and analyses from Sophie and other members of our network of writers. These will be followed by a round-up of the best international coverage from the New Statesman and elsewhere, and a preview of the week ahead, so you can finish it with a clear sense of what is going on internationally. Think of it as a step back and a deep breath at a time when both are of the essence.
If that sounds like something for you, try World Review by signing up here. And if you like it, please do spread the word. Thoughts, questions and suggestions are welcome too.