PERISCOPE POST INTERVIEW
Finally a resource of news I enjoy that is opinionated and smart. I've been enjoying the reads on The Periscope Post- an online news site of short articles reviewing key editorial and commentary pieces that is finally interactive. I encourage you all to check it out and share your views.
Founder and Publisher. Thomas D. Gommes is a former corporate lawyer and a graduate of the Masters’ program at The Columbia University School of Journalism. In December 2009, aiming to combine the best elements of professional journalism with the best elements of reader interaction, he launched The Periscope Post. Born in London of Greek and French parents, he moved to New York for his Bachelor’s degree at Columbia. After graduation, he obtained his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School, where he served as Senior Editor on The Columbia Law Review, followed by some years at the firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore where he practiced litigation and corporate law before leaving in favour of journalism and a return to Europe.
Greatest inspirations or influences?
My greatest inspiration so far has been my late father, who passed away in February and who was an inspiration to succeed independently, to be honest, strong, and diligent. Regrettably I haven't quite learnt all those lessons yet, but I'm working on them (and no I won't admit which ones need the most work).
Why did you launch The Periscope Post?
I wanted to build a business that I enjoyed working on, that provided the sort of high quality news analysis outlet I felt was missing especially in Europe, and a service that made it easier for everybody to participate in the debates that should be surrounding topics in the news. I think it's important that non-journalists have a voice and the ability to comment on, challenge, and understand all perspectives of news stories. And if I can simultaneously turn
into a profitable business, well, I wouldn't complain about that either.
Challenges of starting this venture?
The two greatest challenges in launching
have been funding and partnership. I know that
The Periscope Post
is an excellent product but without funding for marketing It's difficult to get that message out. In terms of partnership, it has to date been a challenge to find the right technology partner -- someone excited by the prospect of growing the business, who can invest time and money in the partnership, and who has the technology background to help us grow
into more than just an excellent news content web-site; the goal would be to offer readers more sophisticated and seamless ways of interacting among one another, sharing and commenting on news stories, and consuming the content in whatever format they chose and on whatever mobile device they wanted.
- It's difficult to find anything out there as good as Periscope but I suppose if pushed I'd have to say that First Post.co.uk and Gawker are pretty good
- and, of course, the phenomenal Ninu Nina.com (especially the playlist)
What are some of the biggest changes going on in the news environment?
The main changes happening in the news environment are (and will continue to be) technological changes. One always hears these seemingly endless, navel-gazing, discussions about something that's apparently called "the future of news" but that nobody seems able to actually define. I think it's quite simple: democratic communities will continue, as they always have done, to tell and listen to stories about what's going on around them and to challenge and hold accountable their leaders and celebrities; the only thing that will change is how those stories are told --- be it in images, in words, in animation, on mobile devices, or with greater interactivity and participation among readers. The substantive change these technological advances offer is to give a voice to a greater number of people by facilitating involvement by non-professional journalists in the news narrative.
The most interesting response or opinion as of yet to one of your articles?
Probably it was the responses I got to an opinion article I wrote about small businesses in the UK:
. Various friends came crashing down on me claiming that I sounded more communist that Fidel Castro and that I had become a socialist in disguise. As anyone who knows me will confirm, I've always been pretty open about liking the good life too much, I suspect, to fit into any communist or socialist mould.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Just the pleasures of reading
The Periscope Post
everyday (and telling your friends about us too).