Foreign Corespondent

Session Title — Breaking into International News
Session Speaker — Joe Coleman of Indiana University

Overview —

The benefits:

  • the farther form your editors the better
  • big stories and big responsibilities
  • potential for high profile work
  • see the world no someone else’s dime

You are given a lot of freedom and you are usually the sole person to make the decision on what story to cover.  After all you the expert in your area.  But with that freedom comes large amounts of responsibility.  And you have the chance to make an impact and write high-profile cases from the start.


  • the death of the foreign correspondent
  • overall financial crisis in the news business
  • perception of limited interest in foreign news
  • high cost of stationing reporters
  • newspapers closing offices, pulling home corespondents
  • cost of covering wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is sucking up the foreign corespondent budget

But there are still opportunities you can and must take advantage of:

  • Global Post: 70 corespondents in 53 countries
  • Philanthropy: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
  • The Blogosphere: Global Voices Online — translates languages
  • The Wires: AP and its competitors (hundreds of bureaus) have been hit by the recession, but aren’t going to disappear anytime soon
  • The pullout of newspaper and other mainstream media is creating space for freelancers (kevin sites — in the Hot Zone)
  • Financial business is growing and expanding around the world

So how do you prepare:

  • develop a passion for a part of the world, learn the language, the culture, the history
  • build basic news reporting sills — the more skills the betters
  • know multimedia
  • be versatile: do sports, business, politics, culture
  • be an entrepreneur: take a class in entrepreneurship

My take — This session was more useful than the other.  Throughout the session I wondered if he had read the recent Neiman Reports on “Reporting From Faraway Place: Who Does it and How?”  He mentioned most of the sections in the books and hit several important points a lot of students needed to know about.  However, since I was lucky enough to have an adviser that passed on the resource several weeks ago, I still left feeling a little disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong, there was amazing information and I was able to grab Coleman’s card to shoot him an e-mail for later.  I think that is what it is going to come down to, finding contacts and talking one on one.  The generals are not longer getting me where I need to be.  I just hope someone is seeing the legwork.  I need it to pay off or I’m just parachuting into Kenya this summer. Here’s hoping the several faces I’ve met can help and hopefully they can get something from me too.  (And yes he had read the report.  He brought it up in the question and answer part.)


— Anna Johnson


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s