WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Fri - 18.04.2014


Foreign Correspondents

Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times wrote earlier this month about the importance of journalists being there when news happens. Risk-averse, cost-focused news organizations had begun their retreat from the world long ago, Keller wrote, lamenting that the truly committed foreign correspondent was something of an endangered species.

Sadly, in many areas, this issue goes far beyond a diminished corps of foreign correspondents.

The truly committed journalist, who is prepared to make personal sacrifices to tell the story despite economic, social and political obstacles, is in some societies also under threat. And how many publishers are still hiring and training and deploying journalists who are able to make their own calls on how close they get to risky situations?

So when exceptions arise, they are worth making a fuss about. Two Africans who understand the need to be there were in Zambia this week to share their newspaper experiences with participants on WAN-IFRA’s Women in News programme.

Author

Cherilyn Ireton's picture

Cherilyn Ireton

Date

2012-12-13 17:52

The Committee to Protect Journalists reported yesterday that two British journalists of Algerian origin were killed by Syrian forces in Darkoush on Monday, while a third was wounded.

The independent journalists, identified as Naseem Intriri and Walid Bledi, were in the process of filming a documentary about Syrians’ escape from the conflict to neighboring Turkey, the article said. The Syrian army fired at the home where the three journalists and other Syrian activists were seeking refuge, the article said.

Intiri and Bledi initially fled for safety, but were shot upon returning to the house to get equipment, the article said.

After tentatively reporting yesterday that the Syrian Revolution General Commission said two journalists were killed, The Guardian recently confirmed reports of the shooting, citing the CPJ and Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

The British Foreign Office is currently investigating reports of the attack, according to journalism.co.uk.

Author

Gianna Walton's picture

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-28 16:58

Although Europe has seen unprecedented political and economic integration in the past 20 years, daily news coverage remains divided nationally. Decisions made on an international level are filtered through national lenses. As European elites are increasingly mobile, is national coverage becoming outdated?

A new news venture aims to be the first to expand coverage to report from a wholly European perspective. Daniel Freund, a manager of the initiative, believes there is a market for a daily pan-European paper. The English-language project, The European Daily, will be the first daily newspaper to present all European news as domestic.

Since the 1990s, a few publications have launched to aggregate the best of international news for their domestic readers. Le Courrier International translates international publications into French. Internazionale does a similar task for Italian readers. Recently, options for English-language readers have cropped up as well. WorldCrunch translates non-English media that it claims is "shut off" from English language readers.

Author

Florence Pichon

Date

2011-07-01 16:01

As previously reported, digital newsgathering and increasing economic pressure have taken a toll on the number of foreign correspondents. Newspapers and publications have been forced to close foreign desks, make budget cuts to international services, and outsource stories.

To combat this trend, initiatives like the one of WorldCrunch attempt to fill in the gap through translation. WorldCrunch provides local news stories from across the world, and attempts to do foreign correspondents' old job: interpret events and put them in local contexts for Anglophone readers. A few other publications have related projects, notably Le Courrier International, a French weekly that translates publications from all regions of the world, and offers side-by-side comparisons on similar issues. An Italian paper, l'Internazionale, does a similar task.

Although this approach provides for some comprehensive coverage of international events, it remains expensive to maintain, and must compete against other press that presents local news that readers may consider more relevant.

Author

Florence Pichon

Date

2011-06-13 18:39

"In times of economic pressure, sending a foreign correspondent who expects to be treated like a TV star is too expensive."

"Foreign correspondents tend to report just from their perspective and from the one of their audience."

"Foreign correspondents are out of date, we have Twitter and social networks, blogs, aggregators now providing news from everywhere and moreover we can just hire local journalists. We don't need to send correspondents to cover news anymore."

These are some of the criticisms raised regarding the role of the foreign correspondent in this day and age.

So we do still need them?

This provocative question opened the panel "Death of the foreign correspondent?" yesterday at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia.

Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-04-15 21:07

The US State Department has warned journalists that going into Libya is extremely hazardous, as those reporters who have already entered the country illegally are now being considered Al Qaida collaborators by the government and will be arrested if caught.

Libyan Government officials told US diplomats that some members of CNN, BBC Arabic and Al Arabiya would be allowed into the country to report on the situation. They would apparently be escorted, according to the New York Times, and an additional concern is that they would be used as human shields.
The Libyan government insists that journalists have been exaggerating the number of deaths and intends to show reporters its side of the story.

Many journalists, including some from the Guardian and ITV News, have entered Libya this week for the first time in 40 years, the Guardian reported. Most reached the country via its eastern border with Egypt. As the east of the country has fallen into opposition hands, most journalists are based there. For their safety, their exact locations are not being made public.

The Guardian reported yesterday that the country's capital, Tripoli, still remains largely closed off to foreign media.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2011-02-25 14:07

Events in Egypt and the wider Middle East last week constituted the biggest international story in the US in the past four years, according to Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index. Making up 56% of the 'newshole,' turmoil in the Middle East was "easily" the biggest overseas story in a week since Pew started the index in January 2007, and was in fact the fourth biggest story of any kind, behind the 2008 presidential election campaign and last month's Tucson shooting.

The Middle East story was most prominent on cable news, where it accounted for 76% of coverage, but even in newspapers it made up 44% of news and online just over half, at 51%. The blizzard in the American Midwest was the second biggest story, but this only attracted 8% of coverage.

Until now, the biggest international story of any single week was the Iraq war in September 2007, at 43%, followed by the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 with 41%.

Why has the Egyptian unrest, an "event that has not involved U.S. troops or directly imperiled U.S. citizens" generated significantly more attention than the country's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? PEJ's explanation is that there have been a huge number of cameras and journalists on the ground, and that the media themselves became part of the story as journalists suffered attacks and harassment, as well as the political implications of the situation for the US.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2011-02-09 13:54

"Foreign news is undergoing a transformation. For more than a hundred years the principal means of learning about events in the rest of the world has been through the reporting of journalists based abroad. (...) And we are now entering a new era where they may no longer be central to how we learn about the world".

So starts the summary of the book "Are Foreign Correspondents Redundant?" written by the long-time BBC journalist and executive Richard Sambrook, presented yesterday at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.

"A wide range of pressure are undermining the role of foreign correspondent.(...) The economic pressures of maintaining overseas newsgathering have seen the numbers of bureaux and correspondents persistently reduced by major Western news organizations over the last 20 years or more", Sambrook states. "At the same time, digital technology has transformed both the gathering and distribution of news, providing, among other things, the opportunity for a "networked" and more open model for reporting international affairs, with internet blogs, aggregators, and new models of low-cost online news and information."

Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-09 11:41

Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian's Jerusalem correspondent, recently reflected on what it means to be a foreign correspondent in the digital age of media. She begins by reflecting on what a foreign correspondence should be. The Guardian, she says, should be "bold distinctive, thoughtful and original as well as, of course, covering the 'news,' ie reacting to events." Moreover, she asserts that foreign correspondents should spend their time in the field, talking to people and finding things out. Essentially, it is the foreign correspondent's job to get out there, not be "chained to their laptops," and do what newsroom journalists can't.

However, she points out, there is a new component to foreign journalism to consider: digital media. With digital information moving at ever increasingly speed, the competition between news sources to provide breaking news has become more intense. Thus, meaning that foreign correspondents have less time to do their job as foreign correspondents and must devote more time to digital media. She notes that finding the balance between fulfilling her job as a foreign correspondent and keeping up with the competition has become particularly difficult since the Guardian integrated its web and paper operations.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-16 11:34

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