Foreign Correspondents & International Reporting


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A presentation on the history of foreign correspondence and foreign news coverage in the U.S. from Colonial Days to Present Day.

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Foreign Correspondents & International Reporting

  1. 1. Prepared by Mark Grabowski
  2. 2. It’s coverage of people, places and things overseas by our presscorps. Takes its name from the letters that travelers sent homedescribing the exotic sights and experiences encountered duringtheir foreign travel.
  3. 3. • Development of Foreign Correspondence• War Coverage• Famous Correspondents• Innovations & Technological Changes
  4. 4. • Since the first newspapers, the media has devoted at least some coverage to news from abroad. In fact, the first newspaper in America was banned because of its foreign coverage.
  5. 5. Early stories wereabout piracy,diplomacy, crimesand doings ofEuropean royalty.Today, the mediastill covers muchof the same.
  6. 6. • During Colonial Period, coverage wasn’t provided by true journalists, however. It was either plagiarized from European newspapers or involved letters from Americans visiting overseas.• Reporting news overseas initially took considerable time. It might be several weeks or even months before news of major events in Europe reached America. For example, Americans waited seven weeks to receive word of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812
  7. 7. • It was costly. During the Mexican War of 1846-48, daily newspapers on the East Coast would have to pay a lot of money to get news from the battles taking place 4,000 miles away in Texas. They used riders, steamboats, railroads, etc. As a result this led to the formation of what would later become the Associated Press. Newspaper owners realized they could save money by sharing resources and stories.
  8. 8. • With rise of the modern nation state, publishers saw value in foreign news. Wanted more than wire service copy.• It was also getting easier to travel thanks to technological breakthroughs like the steam ship (bottom), which allowed for faster transportation, and to report the news thanks to the the telegraph (top), which allowed for quick transmission of news from far away.
  9. 9. • Newspapers hired their own reporters to go abroad and provide readers with scintillating tales of adventure and gossipy information about rich and famous American travelers. In 1888, Nellie Bly, a reporter at the New York World, took a trip around the world, attempting to turn the• These reporters tended to fictional book Around the be well-known writers, World in Eighty Days into college-educated and fact for the first time. Her newspaper sponsored a known as “travelling contest in which readers commissioners”. tried to guess the exact second she was arrive at her various destinations.
  10. 10. • This gave rise to the foreign correspondent stereotype later seen in Hollywood movies such as Roman Holiday.
  11. 11. • This war may have come about, in large part, due to the “Yellow Journalism” frenzy and circulation battle between New York newspaper publishers William Randolph Hearst (top) and Joseph Pulitzer (bottom).
  12. 12. • The two men’s newspapers pushed for American action in Cuba and provided inflammatory coverage to whip up public sentiment against Spain. For example, even though it was unclear what caused the USS Maine, a U.S. battleship, to sink, both publishers blamed Spain. The sinking was one of the precipitating events of the war.
  13. 13. • As a result of its victory over Spain, the U.S. became a world power and the country became much more involved globally. American businessmen were also doing more business overseas. Consequently, Americans cared more about events overseas.• Radio was also invented in 1912 and national radio networks emerged in the mid-1920s, making it even easier to spread news.
  14. 14. • This interest increased more following World War I when Americans became even less isolationist and more involved in global politics.• Consequently, foreign correspondents now focused more on serious and substantive issues (political turmoil, war, peace talks, the Rise of Hitler and Communism, etc. – i.e. “history in the making”) and Edward Murrow became spent less time pursuing stories well-known for his WWII about travelling Americans and coverage on the radio. He adventure. established a network of• Coverage was peaking. correspondents in Europe, Newspapers were sending more enabling him to provide a and more correspondents firsthand account when overseas. But journalists ran into Germany invaded Austria difficulties reporting due to and Czechoslovakia. access restrictions and military censorship.
  15. 15. • For correspondents, Vietnam was a war like no other. For first time, military gave them unlimited access to battlefield and censorship was minimal.• For the first time, regular TV footage of war appeared on the network news, making stars of reporters and also raising insoluable questions about the power of video images in war.• The media were blamed for their role in generating dissent at home, and critics claim that dissent had “lost” the war. However, most military analysts now agree the media wasn’t to blame for the poor outcome in Vietnam.
  16. 16.  Daniel Pearl murdered• Over the years, many foreign correspondents have been attacked, taken hostage and even killed. In fact, 151 were killed in Iraq and 24 in David Rohde taken hostage  Afghanistan (3 Americans in each), according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.  Lara Logan sexually assaulted
  17. 17. In the past year, notable warcorrespondent deaths includeAmerican journalists Marie Colvin, anOyster Bay native and reporter for TheSunday Times, and Anthony Shadid, atwo-time Pulitzer Prize winner for TheNew York Times, who died in Syria.
  18. 18. • CNN was the only news outlet with the ability to communicate from inside Iraq during the initial hours of the Coalition bombing campaign. Operation Desert Storm as• CNN realized that captured live on a CNN night audiences would be eager vision camera with reporters narrating. See initial broadcast: to watch certain kinds of news reports any time, day or night
  19. 19. • A 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that some 70 percent of the public relied on television as a main source for national and international news last year.
  20. 20. • Following the collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union, the U.S. established itself as the sole superpower and Americans were less concerned about foreign news.• Now, Americans are only interested if there’s some kind of military conflict, crisis or scandal.
  21. 21. • “Squeezed out by intense coverage of the presidential election campaign and the domestic consequences of skyrocketing oil prices and the subsequent credit crisis, international and overseas events received by far the least attention from the 30-minute evening news programs of the three networks - the primary source of national and international news for most U.S. citizens - of any since the report was first published in 1988.” – 2009 Tyndall Report.
  22. 22. • Maintaining a foreign newspaper bureau, for example, costs $1 million plus in Baghdad.• Not surprisingly, most print media outlets have completely eliminated or at least drastically reduced their foreign reporting staff.• For example, in 2006, Newsday had half a dozen foreign bureaus. Today, they have none. The Boston Globe recently closed its remaining foreign bureaus.• Print media outlets, such as newspapers and news wire services, have gone from a total of 307 foreign correspondents in 2003 to 234 as of January 2011.*
  23. 23. • Most print media outlets these days receive their foreign news from wire services, such as the Associated Press and Reuters, and from locally-based stringers.• Some are even outsourcing foreign news coverage. New York Daily News recently hired Boston-based start-up called GlobalPost to use the companys network of part-time foreign correspondents. The deal costs less than what the Daily News would pay one entry-level reporter, plus they save on bureau and travel expenses.
  24. 24. • In the 1980s, American TV networks each maintained about 15 foreign bureaus; today they have a third or fewer. ABC has shut down its offices in Moscow, Paris and Tokyo; NBC closed bureaus in Beijing, Cairo and Johannesburg. Aside from a one-person ABC bureau in Nairobi, there are no network bureaus left at all in Africa, India or South America -- regions that are home to more than 2 billion people.
  25. 25. • ABC News took a new step in the process of redefining foreign correspondence in 2007, when it sent seven television journalists with laptops and handheld video cameras to one-person bureaus around the world. Dana Hughes, an ABC correspondent based in Nairobi, told the American Journalism Review, "We are fixers, shooters, reporters, producers, and bureau chiefs." Five jobs, one person.• Other strategies are to fly in reporters to cover breaking news stories abroad. As the reporters may not have had time to study the language or culture of the area, their reporting may lack context and a true understanding of the significance of events.
  26. 26. • Foreign correspondents can have a significant impact on the world, by bringing attention to important information the public doesn’t know.• For example, in the 1990s, Newsday’s Roy Gutman exposed a network of concentration camps run by Bosnian Serbs, where Muslims were beaten, starved and often murdered. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates 5,000 to 6,000 lives were saved as a result -- and Gutman won a Pulitzer Prize.• Now more than ever, we need foreign correspondence. And there is some hope….
  27. 27. American Journalism Review’s January 2011 cover storywas on the decline of foreign news coverage.
  28. 28. • CNN maintains 33 international newsgathering locations, and in January appointed three new international correspondents.• NPR now has 17 foreign bureaus. A decade ago, they had only six.• Los Angeles Times has 13 foreign bureaus (down from 24 in 2003. Will soon cut down to 8)• The New York Times has 24 foreign bureaus• The Washington Post maintains 17 international bureaus• The Wall Street Journal has 35 bureaus and an Asian and European edition• Christian Science Monitor, a national news organization based in Boston, focuses on international news.
  29. 29. • Thanks to Internet and satellites, Americans have access to more international coverage than ever before. For example, Al-Jazeera and BBC News on TV and all kinds of websites.• Citizen journalists are also beginning to fill in some holes. During the 2008 Iran protests and the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, regular people on the ground used Twitter to describe what they were experiencing – and they got word out before the mainstream media.
  30. 30. Unrest in the Mideast has piqued Americans’ interest in foreign news coverage.
  31. 31. For the first time in a long time, Americans are interested inforeign news – and the amount of media coverage matchesAmericans’ interest in foreign news.
  32. 32. • American Journalism Review• American Journalism: History, Principles & Practices• Pew Research Center for Journalism• Committee to Protect Journalists• New York Times