Reporting FromA Foreign Land Vincy Davis Roll No : 128
Basics A Correspondent is a reporter that usually has some level of expertise over her subject and includes some of her own perspective on the news. Eg: Health Correspondent A Reporter, on the other hand, offers largely fact-based reporting. A Stringer is a freelancing reporter and/or photographer who contributes reports or photos to a news organization on an on-going basis but is paid individually for each piece of published or broadcast work. Foreign bureau is a generic term for a news office set up in a country other than the primary operations center. It is located in a foreign country and refers to all creative and administrative operations that take place
Present scenario In the developing world, there have been aggressive efforts to cover global news and provide alternate voices to the Anglo American monopoly. Eg. Al Jazeera in the middle east In contrast many of the world’s largest commercial news organizations - mainly American networks - have mirrored their sense of the perceived public mood by reducing world coverage.
Background Professional foreign news reportage is credited to Moses Yale, editor of The New York Sun - First to cover the Mexican War of 1846 using pony express relays, stagecoaches and telegraph - Decided to share it with competition at a price. Led to the formation of world’s first news agency – Associated Press Paul Julius Reuter used newly laid cables to deliver Europe’s financial news then later, world events. Reuters (1851) Both AP and Reuters understood journalism of being there first mattered along with understanding logistics and comprehending the story.
Role of News Agencies “…Wholesale butchers of the information business, shipping great slabs of fact-based news to newspapers which then fashion and serve it under their own brands and charge full retail price to readers and advertisers who in turn want the readers.” Provide text, photos and raw videos to subscribing networks. Offers strict facts Building up awareness of impending stories before they hit front pages so that alert clients will be ready when the time comes.
Reuters- Largest international multimedia news agency with 196 bureaus in 131 countries followed by AP and AFP Each agency has its own style of shaping reports – USA based AP carries lots of US oriented news; AFP has its strong French base; Reuters considers the needs of financial services industry as well as the media Stringers/Freelancers play a vital role in contributing to news stories and are actively hired by agencies as they provide flexibility in the system. All agencies have strict rules about sourcing their reports.
Challenges for News Agencies Timeliness: How to continue being the first to the story when anyone can access the technology to record events and distribute them over the internet? Technology: Will the democratic nature of technology destroy the Agency’s model? Will it be driven by journalism or technology? Taste: Can Agencies keep their reputation for accuracy, fairness and balance faced with a web audience that wants unmediated access to news, where “shock” takes precedence over “significance”?
Diplomacy and International Reporting Diplomatic journalism not to be mixed with propaganda It is necessary to interpret government- speak or ‘megaphone diplomacy’ to get at the heart of the issue. A diplomatic reporter’s role here is to sift through the jargon, understand subtleties and make it accessible to the reader. Often, journalists are given or denied access to a foreign office on the basis of how ‘friendly’ their reportage is towards their country. Eg. the Indian government refused to extend the visa of Japanese journalist, Shogo Takahashi ‘allegedly’ because his reports focused extensively on poverty and the caste system.
Challenges Thinking ahead Beware of taking information at face value especially from “off the record” sources Predictions Closed societies Reading ‘diplo speak’. “A frank exchange of words” means there was a blazing row. Challenge of ‘spin’ i.e practice of distortions, ommissions or even blatant lies to mislead journalists Avoiding bias Technological challenges plus dealing with new sources of information
General ‘Sources’ Official and private media Official sources – Officially released data and news conferences Business sources Diplomatic sources Private sources – Ranging from local journalists to well placed academics to military officers NGOs, Human Rights groups and other lobby groups
Issues/Challenges Parachute journalism -Lack of cultural perspective -Formulaic reporting -Sensationalism Sources of information -Dangers of relying heavily on govt. sources. ( The challenge of ‘spin’) Censorship Safety. Management of trauma Moral dilemma. Representative of the country or newspaper when in a foreign land?
Roy Gutman, Pulitzer Prize winner for revealing the existence of Serb-run concentration camps in Bosnia : "Youve got to do everything in your power to stop these things and exposing it is one of the best ways to do it.”Gutman is careful, however, to limit the journalists role: "Our job is to supply the facts so other people can make the judgments. The worst thing is to step across the line and recommend what should be done."
“Killing the Messenger” According to International News Safety Institute’s 2007 report, over 1000 members of the media were killed around the world between 1996 and 2006. 85% deaths affected local reporters, editors and photojournalists. Daniel Pearl, Wall Street correspondent was executed in 2002 and its video was uploaded online. Al Jazeera’s station in Baghdad was bombed by US war planes in 2003. Two journalists were killed.
Are foreign correspondents becoming redundant? Many foreign bureaus have shut shop over the years due to : - Economics. Setting up dedicated news teams abroad is very expensive. - Public’s seemingly loss of interest in International News New media (Blogs, social networks, other user generated content) proving to be competition. Yet technology is seldom used to highlight what is happening around the world especially Africa 24X7 news channels do not make international news a priority unless there is a huge breaking news. Exceptions being BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera.
Possible solutions to revive the practiceThe old way of foreign reportage is slowly dying out…According to a research, people are less interested in world news mainly because the issues are traumatic, and coverage is one sided, jaded and/ or shallow. Figures showed they’d be more interested if they get to hear all sides of the story.Training locally stationed journalists might just be the way to be. This includes making provisions for their safety.
Bibliography International News Reporting, John Owen and Heather Purdey 2009 http://wearethebest.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/how-india-tr http://www.suite101.com/content/international-news-reportin http://www.fccsouthasia.net/ Foreign Correspondents Club http://www.suite101.com/content/media-watchdog-groups-a1 BIAS IN MEDIA http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2501/is_3_23/ai_7 8804223/