Philip Balboni is the President and Chief Executive Officer of GlobalPost. He is the Founder and for the past 16 years was the President of New England Cable News (NECN), the nation’s largest and most honored regional news network, reaching more than 3.6 million homes in the six-state region.
Mr. Balboni has long been an innovator in quality television programming. He is a pioneer in the development of 24-hour local cable news, and has built one of the most distinguished and successful records in journalism in the United States, serving as chairman, president or board member of numerous national organizations.
As NECN’s Founder, Mr. Balboni conceptualized the network, developed its business plan, and negotiated the joint venture between owners Hearst Corp. and Continental Cablevision, now Comcast. After initially serving as a Director and as Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Balboni became President and Chief Executive Officer in 1994.
He led NECN’s financial turnaround, allowing the network to move into the black in 1998 and achieve strong growth in profitability each year since. From 2002 to 2006, the network’s average annual growth in operating profit has exceeded 40 percent. NECN has earned a national reputation for excellence, winning all of the country’s major journalism awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award, generally regarded as television’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize; the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award; and two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, three national Gabriel Awards as Television Station of the Year, and a Walter Cronkite Award from the Annenberg School of the University of Southern California for NECN’s political coverage of the 2006 elections.
Previously, Mr. Balboni served as Special Assistant for New Projects to the Chief Executive Officer of the Hearst Corp., with responsibility for technology assessment, strategy, and government relations. Hearst is one of the world’s largest private media companies, with major holdings in both print and electronic media. During this period, Mr. Balboni was instrumental in founding the News in the Future Consortium at the MIT Media Lab and served as a member of its Executive Board for five years, joining representatives from 20 other media and telecommunications companies from the United States, Europe, and Latin America.
At WCVB-TV, the ABC-affiliated television station in Boston that the New York Times once called “perhaps the finest television station in America,” Mr. Balboni held several key management positions, including eight years as Vice President and News Director. Beginning in 1982, he reshaped and gave new vision to the station’s news department, gaining a prominent national reputation for both excellence and bold innovation while maintaining consistent No. 1 market ratings.
While at the station, Mr. Balboni was the direct or leadership recipient of scores of national and regional journalism awards, including nine Emmys, the Edward R. Murrow Award for best local television news organization in America, as well as the coveted Peabody, duPont-Columbia, and Gabriel awards. He was also twice named outstanding broadcast editorialist in America during the period in which he directed the station’s editorial department and delivered most of the editorials on-air.
One of the hallmarks of Mr. Balboni’s career has been his ability to conceive and execute new forms of high quality journalism. At WCVB-TV, he conceived and in 1982 launched the nightly newsmagazine “Chronicle” which has gone on to become the most successful local television program in American history, winning dozens of important awards for excellence and achieving significant, continuing audience and financial success.
Throughout his career, Mr. Balboni has been a leader in his profession. In recent years, he has served as Chairman of the Association of Regional News Channels during a critical period in which the association saw enormous growth in membership and national attention for 24-hour local cable news as a new genre of television, and as President of the New England Broadcasting Association, the region’s leading professional organization for radio and television stations and advertising agencies, during the year of its 50th anniversary.
Mr. Balboni is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He is the longest serving member of the national jury for the duPont-Columbia Awards (15 years), and he served for three years as Executive Producer of the nationally televised duPont-Columbia Awards program, “Telling the Truth: The Best in Broadcast Journalism seen on PBS stations throughout America.” He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and is a member of the Visiting Committee of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He was for many years a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Columbia Journalism Review; a trustee of Emerson College in Boston; a member of the National Advisory Board for the Caption Center, the country’s oldest institution devoted to making television accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired; President of the National Broadcast Editorial Association; and a Board member of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.
He has also received prominent recognition for his journalistic accomplishments, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University; the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; the Yankee Quill Award from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors; and in March 2007, he received the First Amendment Service Award from the Radio Television News Directors Foundation.
Mr. Balboni began his journalism career as a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, VA) and then moved to United Press International where he was a correspondent and editor in the Boston bureau. He is an honors graduate of Boston College, attended the Sorbonne in Paris, and was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Advanced International Reporting at the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University.
Mr. Balboni served for two years as a US Army officer on active duty, including a tour in Vietnam. He is married to Elizabeth C. Houghteling. They have a son, Philip, and reside in Cambridge, MA. Mr. Balboni also has a daughter, Jessica, who lives in New York City and is Associate Director of Creative Services at ESPN.