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Foreign Correspondents – An Endangered Species?

36 Foreign Correspondents
An Endangered Species?
Lars Willnat and Jason Martin
Coverage of foreign news by the U.S. media has declined signi cantly in recent years as corporate
owners sought increased profi ts and audiences grew more fragmented. Foreign a airs reporting
is expensive, and many news organizations decided that shrinking budgets are best met by closing
o ces abroad and reducing the number of full-time foreign correspondents.
The public’s changing media consumption habits and the instant availability of free online news
have accelerated this trend. Similarly, a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-oper-
ation and Development (OECD 2010: 7) estimates that newspapers in 20 out of 31 OECD coun-
tries face declining readerships, with signifi cant decreases for some (USA, 30%; UK, 21%; Italy,
18%; Spain, 16%; Japan, 16%; Germany, 10%). Especially damaging for the future of the press is
that newspaper readership was found to be lower among younger people who tend to attribute less
importance to print media.
At the same time, new communication technologies have transformed news gathering and its
distribution, allowing for a more open and networked model of reporting international a airs
through social media, news aggregators, and other online tools (Moore 2010). These technologies
have given foreign correspondents quicker access to more diverse news sources, but at the same
time they have challenged the basic de nition of journalism by empowering people, companies,
governments, and other organizations worldwide to participate directly in any public debate. This
has placed the foreign press corps under extreme pressure to compete with alternative news mak-
ers and produce fresh, interesting news around the clock.
To analyze these changes, this chapter will recap the decline in foreign news in the United
States, o er a critical review of research on foreign correspondents, and look at the future of for-
eign correspondence in the United States and elsewhere worldwide.
Decline in Foreign News
The demand for international news has su ered from a series of economic, political, societal, and
technological changes. These include the slow but continuing decline of newspapers; the end of
the Cold War, which provided a clear framework and rationale for covering international a airs;
the ensuing loss of attentiveness to foreign a airs among media audiences; the dominance of TV as
the main news medium and its e ect on news content; and an increase in inter-active media that
enable people to select their information themselves (Moisy 1997).
Covering foreign a airs is expensive. According to some estimates (Carroll 2007), an average
foreign newspaper bureau costs $200,000 to $300,000 a year, depending on whether a reporter’s
salary is included. Sambrook (2010) notes that revenues generated by foreign news have never suf-
ciently covered production costs. As a consequence, foreign news has always been subsidized by
profi ts from other parts of a newspaper or broadcast company. As profi ts declined and pressures
496 Lars Willnat and Jason Martin
grew to reduce costs, many news organizations closed their bureaus overseas in favor of sending
local journalists or correspondents to global hot spots as events took place.
U.S. scholars also have argued that declining international news coverage can be attributed to
a waning interest in foreign news (Gitlin 1980; Hallin 1986; Hess 1996; Moisy 1997; Schudson
& Ti t 2005). A survey by the Pew Research Center (2008a) found that most Americans (53%)
track international news when major developments occur, but far fewer (42%) consistently follow
international events. Others found that U.S. audiences “show only a narrow interest in a limited
category of news stories and are generally inattentive to events outside their immediate environ-
ment, especially those in the remote setting” (Tai & Chang 2002: 262).
Given such perceived disinterest, editors have cut back on foreign news. A Pew survey (2008b)
of editors at 259 U.S. newspapers showed that international news was losing ground at greater
rates than any other topic. Roughly two-thirds (64%) of newsroom executives said space devoted
to foreign news had dropped during the past three years. Almost half (46%) said they had drasti-
cally cut resources devoted to foreign news, and only 10% considered foreign news “very essential.”
So it is no surprise that U.S. media organizations have made deep cuts at their foreign news
desks. Former correspondent Jill Carroll (2007), in a study for Harvard’s Shorenstein Center,
estimated in 2007 that small and mid-size U.S. newspapers have reduced their sta s of foreign
correspondents by 30% since 2000. While larger newspapers have made smaller cuts, a recent
census conducted by American Journalism Review found that the number of foreign correspondents
employed by the 10 largest U.S. newspapers dropped 24% from 307 in 2003 to 234 in 2011
(Kumar 2011).
Media observer Jodi Enda (2011) vividly describes the consequences of these cuts for U.S.
The swift decline and, in some cases, wholesale disappearance of original foreign reporting at
some of the nation’s premier papers created a yawning journalistic void. Increasingly, big-city
newspapers relied solely on wire services to provide foreign news. Space tightened again and
again. Local, local, local became louder, louder, louder. No longer did papers have the space
to run fascinating yarns about how people lived in remote, little-known villages thousands of
miles away. They barely had the sta necessary to cover their own backyards. Neither did they
have the resources to develop foreign stories that were not only interesting but also important
stories that might explain a culture or a country in ways that either foretold or underscored
key global developments in places like Pakistan, China or Congo.
U.S. television networks also have been closing foreign bureaus and, in many countries, only
maintain an “editorial presence” with at least one representative, who may be a sta er, on contract,
or a freelancer. As foreign correspondent Pamela Constable (2007) put it:
In the 1980s, American TV networks each maintained about 15 foreign bureaus; today they
have six or fewer. ABC has shut down its o ces 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.1
The dramatic and sustained cutbacks in network resources and sta ng have made it very
di cult for TV journalists to cover world events, especially over any sustained period of time.
According to the Tyndall Report (2010), which tracks the nightly newscasts of America’s three
Foreign Correspondents—An Endangered Species? 497
main broadcast networks, international news coverage declined dramatically between 1988 and
2010. While NBC, ABC, and CBS featured more than 4,800 foreign news stories in 1989—the
year the Berlin Wall fell and Chinese students protested at Tiananmen Square—such coverage
dropped to about 2,700 stories in 2010, a decline of 56% overall.
Similarly, foreign coverage in U.S. newspapers declined dramatically between 1987 and 2010.
According to content analyses by Pew (2011), the front page newshole for foreign a airs stories in
major U.S. newspapers steadily shrunk from 27% in 1987 to 11% in 2010. During the 2008 U.S.
presidential election year, such coverage reached an all-time low of 6%.
While it may be easy to dismiss these trends as American-only, there is some empirical evi-
dence that this may not be the case. Content analyses of four British newspapers (The Guardian,
Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, and Daily Mirror) in 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009 show that the percent-
age of foreign news stories in the fi rst 10 pages have declined from 33% in 1979, to 27% (1989),
23% (1999), and 15% in 2009 (Moore 2010). Given the growing economic pressures on most
Western media, it seems likely that a decline in foreign news can be found in Europe as well—at
least among media that lack the luxury of public funding.
However, it would be short-sighted not to acknowledge that audiences today have unprec-
edented access to international news through the Internet and 24-hour news channels such as Al
Jazeera, BBC World, France 24, China Central Television (CCTV), Deutsche Welle, and CNN
amongst others. Internet scholar Evgeny Morozov (2010) writes that:
We’ve never had faster access to more world news than we do today. Aggregators like
Google News might be disrupting the business models of CNN and the New York Times,
forcing substantial cutbacks in one particularly costly form of news-gathering—foreign
correspondents—but they have also equalized the playing fi eld for thousands of niche and
country-specifi c news sources, helping them to reach global audiences.
While instant access to diverse news sources greatly benefi ts consumers of foreign news,
“interactivity and engagement with diverse audiences is increasingly important in all areas of
reporting—including international news” (Sambrook 2010: 56). Online media allow audiences to
interact with journalists and, in some cases, even participate in producing news. CNNi Report,
for example, accepts videos, photos, and audio from people who witnessed an event anywhere in
the world, providing more diverse and possibly more authentic stories. By allowing audiences to
access foreign news that is relevant to them and, at the same time, participate in producing such
news, online media might be able to retrieve audiences that were lost to the constant dribble of
entertainment and gossip so prevalent in today’s media environment.
Despite the obvious benefi ts of instant and global access to foreign news, it is important to
remember that fewer foreign correspondents working for traditional media also means less
variety of foreign news consumed. Sambrook (2010: 31) argues that “digital newsgathering may
be cheaper, but the additional productivity is soaked up by the expansion in channels and outlets,
all refl ecting a similar core agenda. An exponential growth in output rests on a reduced base of
professional international newsgathering.” In other words, the exponential growth of online news
sources might blind us to the fact that more and more news is produced by fewer professional
journalists every day.
This viewpoint is supported by a Pew (2006) study, which analyzed the news coverage of Google
News during one entire day in May 2005. While Google News o ered access to more than 14,000
stories on its front page that day, a deeper analysis showed they simply were accounts of the same
498 Lars Willnat and Jason Martin
31 stories from di erent news sources. So audiences who rely on online news aggregators such as
Google or Yahoo! are likely to encounter the same news stories from the same dominant media
organizations. Only the most engaged and interested consumers of online news will encounter
foreign news that is not produced by leading media conglomerates.
Defi ning Foreign Correspondents
Despite a signifi cant body of literature on foreign correspondents and their work, precise defi ni-
tions of who these journalists are cannot be found (Hahn & Lönnendonker 2009). Most studies
done in the United States de ne foreign correspondents through publicly available lists such as the
Editor and Publisher International Yearbook or the State Department’s Directory of Foreign Correspon-
dents in the United States, basically leaving the task of defi nition to others. Other studies have tried
to compile lists by contacting media organizations and asking for lists of foreign correspondents
they employ. Since the concept of what precisely constitutes a foreign correspondent is rather fl uid
(full-time, part-time, or freelancer?), such attempts did not produce representative lists.
Moreover, as Hamilton and Jenner (2004: 302) note, the defi nition of foreign correspondents
“is based on an anachronistic and static model of what foreign correspondence is and who foreign
correspondents are.” They convincingly argue that economic pressures, inexpensive global com-
munication, and faster and cheaper travel have undermined the traditional role of foreign corre-
spondents stationed abroad. In addition, the growing globalization of commerce and culture has
blurred the lines between foreign and domestic news. Similarly, Franks notes (2005: 100) that “the
demarcation between home and abroad is dissolving as never before. This is not simply a matter of
globalization, but the fact that domestic and foreign matters intersect in an ever more complicated
way. A London commuter worries about safety on the tube, and this is linked to what is going on
in Pakistan and elsewhere.
To account for the new media landscape, Hamilton and Jenner (2004) propose eight types
of foreign journalists: (1) traditional foreign correspondents (full-time foreign correspondents who
are nationals of the country that is home to their news organization); (2) parachute journalists
(journalists sent to report short-term events, usually nationals of the country that is home to
their news organization); (3) native foreign correspondents (foreign nationals who cover international
news); (4) foreign foreign correspondents (foreign nationals who work for local news outlets); (5)
foreign local correspondents (foreign nationals who work for foreign news organizations that make
news available online); (6) in-house foreign correspondents (in-house journalists working online); (7)
premium service foreign correspondents (full-time foreign correspondents who work for specialized
media such as Bloomberg or Reuters); (8) amateur correspondents (una liated, often untrained de
facto journalists).
Others have called for a new breed of foreign journalists that report “global news.” The assistant
managing editor of the Washington Post, David Ho man said in a recent interview: “What I am
championing is a complete overhaul of the way we think of foreign news…to create [reporters]
that are fully global, transnational correspondents. Some beats are organized as issues, ranging
from climate change to technology to terrorism to pathogens” (cited in Carroll 2011: 11).
Current research has not yet caught up with these fast-moving changes. While it seems daunt-
ing to analyze a profession so closely linked to the unprecedented changes in modern journalism,
foreign correspondents are at the forefront of this evolution and therefore deserve more attention
from media scholars and other professional observers.
Foreign Correspondents—An Endangered Species? 499
State of Research on Foreign Correspondents
Most research on foreign correspondents has focused on two main areas: surveys that generate
demographic data and other details about who the correspondents are, and studies focusing on
work routines and experiences. Such data is collected through surveys, content analyses, inter-
views, or observation.
Despite the social signifi cance of such work, and more than a half-century of research about
foreign correspondents, we still know relatively little about them. Formative research on the
backgrounds of foreign correspondents performed between the 1950s and early 1990s produced
mostly descriptive data derived from surveys, and focused almost solely on demographics, work
experience, and use and access to sources. Most studies surveyed either the foreign press corps
working in the United States, or journalists working abroad reporting international news for
American media organizations.
Foreign Correspondents Working in the United States
Early surveys of foreign reporters working in the United States found them to be mostly male,
middle-aged, highly educated, and having one to two decades of journalism experience. During
this period, the foreign press generally relied on American media as their primary information
source, partly because of di culties with access to top-level U.S. government sources. This grow-
ing disenchantment with source access relative to their U.S. counterparts was a key fi nding that
served as the basis for more sophisticated studies in the past 15 years.
Lambert (1956) was the fi rst to analyze the work and demographic backgrounds of foreign cor-
respondents in the United States using a mail survey of 217 foreign journalists from 37 countries.
He found that most foreign journalists were well-educated males in their mid-40s who averaged
about 18 years of professional experience.
Lambert found several important themes that formed the basis of subsequent studies. Along
with foreign journalists relying primarily on U.S. newspapers to set their reporting agendas; they
also believed they had a more interpretive role in reporting news than other types of journalists.
Lambert also found they mostly were pleased with the cooperation of news sources, and that most
had autonomy on what topics to report—so long as they were not censored back home. Lambert
(1956: 356) concluded that “the people of the United States could feel confi dent that information
sent abroad about this country was written by competent and trustworthy professional journalists”
and that “these correspondents showed a devotion to truth and accuracy as journalistic ideals.”
A study by Suh (1972) that closely followed Lambert’s methods and fi ndings renewed interest
in foreign correspondent research nearly two decades later. His mail survey of 126 foreign journal-
ists in the United States again found a prevalent interpretive role of foreign correspondents, the
reliance on U.S. newspapers as their chief news source, and high satisfaction about cooperation
with sources. The author also found that foreign journalists favored improved hiring standards,
and believed strongly in professional autonomy as well as personal responsibility for their judg-
ments and actions.
Mowlana’s (1975a, 1975b) mail survey of 103 foreign journalists stationed in Washington, DC
and New York City found the foreign press corps in the United States to be “a highly liberal,
extremely well-educated, and socially unorthodox group” who fi led mostly stories of general news
coverage (1975b: 89). His studies also revealed that many foreign correspondents were unhappy
that U.S. politicians or state o cials usually were not interested in talking to them. The journalists
500 Lars Willnat and Jason Martin
in his studies averaged only about a dozen years of experience compared to about 20 years in stud-
ies by Lambert (1956) and Suh (1972).
Ghorpade (1984a, 1984b, 1984c) found that between the 1950s and 1980s, Washington-based
foreign correspondents became younger and less experienced, but were better educated than their
counterparts three decades prior. His mail survey of 317 journalists found the typical foreign cor-
respondent to be a well-educated male in his early 40s, with about 18 years of experience. Di er-
ences in demographic characteristics based on home country were minimal.
Similar to previous studies, Ghorpade (1984b) found that foreign correspondents rated U.S.
newspapers as their most important news sources. O cial sources such as the White House,
the Supreme Court, and the Pentagon were rated as least accessible and were used least often.
Regardless of geopolitical origin, foreign correspondents also claimed less access to top govern-
ment sources than U. S. journalists.
Nair (1991) carried out a mail survey of 117 Washington-based foreign correspondents, and as
with similar studies, found them to be highly skilled, educated, and experienced reporters who
made extensive use of U.S. media, mainly relying on major newspapers such as The Washington Post,
The New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal; the major television networks, and CNN.
Nairs survey again found that foreign correspondents had less access to government sources
than U.S. journalists, which some respondents attributed to “not wanting to deal with a foreigner
with a shaky grasp of the language,” or feeling “indi erent to what appears in the foreign press”
(Nair 1991: 61). He also found that three-quarters of foreign correspondents reported a coopera-
tive work climate with U.S. journalists, although contact with them was rare.
Willnat and Weaver (2003) built on these previous studies and other surveys of American and
global journalists (Weaver 1998; Weaver & Wilhoit 1996) to look more in-depth at foreign cor-
respondents’ personal backgrounds and professional norms. Their mail survey of 152 U.S.-based
correspondents from 52 countries found the average foreign correspondent to be a 45-year-old
Caucasian male with a college education, more than two decades of journalism experience, and
more than a decade as a foreign correspondent. On average, foreign correspondents were older,
more educated, and more experienced than American journalists. Job satisfaction was fairly high
relative to U.S. journalists due mainly to the autonomy the job a ords, and the perceived interest
that home audiences had in their work covering the United States.
Although most correspondents were somewhat or very satis ed with access to government
information, a large majority cited di culty in contacting government sources. Open-ended
responses cited, among other reasons, perceptions of foreign coverage lacking importance and
prejudice due to nationality (Willnat & Weaver 2003: 14).
The most comprehensive survey of foreign correspondents working in the United States was
conducted in 1999 by Hess (2005). Based on a mail survey of 439 foreign correspondents, Hess
found that the number of foreign correspondents in the United States increased substantially in
the second half of the 20th century. In 1999, European correspondents accounted for 47% of cor-
respondents in America, followed by Asian correspondents at 27%. The average foreign correspon-
dent was about 42 years old and had been posted in the United States for about four years. Hess
also found that full-time male correspondents outnumbered female correspondents three to one.
U.S. Foreign Correspondents Working Abroad
Journalists working abroad for U.S. media historically have shared a similar demographic profi le
with their foreign counterparts working in the United States. They have tended to be highly
Foreign Correspondents—An Endangered Species? 501
educated, highly paid middle-aged males with more than two decades of experience and about a
decade as a foreign correspondent (Kliesch 1991; Yu & Luter 1964). U.S. foreign correspondents
usually have been based in Europe, with London being the most popular location (Kliesch 1991).
Most surveys of U.S. foreign correspondents before the turn of the century found that 30%
to 40% of U.S. reporters working abroad were foreign nationals (Hess 1996; Kliesch 1991). A
more recent survey by Wu and Hamilton (2004) in 2001 found that foreign nationals working for
American media has increased to 69%.
Estimates of how many U.S. journalists worked abroad after World War II are fairly vague.
Anderson (1951), who conducted the fi rst major global survey of foreign correspondents in 1950,
showed only 293 such correspondents. The fi rst systematic study of U.S. foreign correspondents
was done by Maxwell (1956) in 1954 and based on a mail survey of 209 full-time correspondents.
The study, which mainly focused on demographic data, concluded that most foreign correspon-
dents (60%) held a college degree and that 80% of them were posted abroad before they were 35
years old. A similar study of 277 U.S. foreign correspondents stationed in Europe (Kruglak 1955)
found that most correspondents were well-educated males in their 20s and 30s.
Wilhelm’s (1963) “world census” of U.S. foreign correspondents identifi ed 515 American jour-
nalists working for U.S. media in the early 1960s—mostly in London (14.2%), Rome (9.5%),
Paris (9.3%), and Tokyo (9.1%). However, this count is slightly infl ated because Wilhelm’s study
included a number of correspondents who did not work for the news media. A similar study by
Yu and Luter (1964) estimated about 300 full-time journalists working abroad. Their survey of
140 U.S. correspondents stationed abroad found that the typical correspondent was a 41-year-old
male with a college degree (57%) and about 10 years of experience as a foreign correspondent.
Most were stationed in western Europe (47.9%), followed by Asia (23.5%), Latin America (12.1%),
Canada (4.3%), Africa (4.3%), eastern Europe (3.6%), the Middle East (2.1%), and the Soviet
Union (2.1%). A majority said they were “very” (24%) or at least “fairly” happy (53%) with their
jobs and nine out of 10 would again choose the same profession if given a chance.
Bogart’s (1968) study of 206 members of the Overseas Press Club focused on demographics
and lifestyle of U.S. foreign correspondents. As in earlier studies, Bogart found that American
correspondents were experienced, well-educated, and somewhat older reporters. Most U.S. cor-
respondents also believed they had less access to o cial news sources where they worked than did
foreign correspondents working in Washington.
No systematic surveys of U.S. foreign correspondents were done between 1967 and 1992. The
few studies that focused on U.S. foreign correspondents during that period provided only basic
counts of these journalists. Kliesch’s (1991) second “census” of journalists working for U.S. media
abroad, for example, found that the number of U.S. correspondents had jumped from an estimated
676 in 1975 to 1,734 in 1990. He also found that female journalists working for the American
foreign press corps increased from 10% in 1975 to 25% in 1990.
In 1992, Hess (1996) continued the tradition of journalist surveys with a study of 404 U.S.
correspondents working abroad, supplementing the e ort with responses from 370 former for-
eign correspondents. While the average U.S. foreign correspondent still turned out to be a highly
educated middle-aged male (mean age 43), Hess found higher education levels (97.8% holding
college degrees) and more female journalists working abroad (29.2%) compared to Kliesch’s study
conducted in 1990. What made Hess’s study unique was that it also checked the information U.S.
foreign correspondents provided their audiences back home by analyzing 24,000 newspaper, wire
service, newsmagazine, and television stories with foreign datelines. Hess concluded that U.S.
502 Lars Willnat and Jason Martin
media, and TV news in particular, distorted the world geographically by under-representing many
nations while focusing on those of interest to the United States.
Wu and Hamilton (2004) performed the most recent study of U.S. foreign correspondents in
2000. Based on a survey of 354 U.S. foreign correspondents, they found that most worked for
magazines (42.5%), followed by newspapers (28.6%), wire services (24.0%), network television
(19.4%), Internet (12.4%), cable TV (10.1%), and radio (7.5%). Similar to Hess’s fi ndings eight
years earlier, the average correspondent in 2000 was a 44-year-old male (73.6%) with a college
degree (82.4%), and about seven years of experience as a foreign correspondent. The authors also
noted more foreign nationals working for the U.S. media abroad. While Hess (1996) found in 1992
that 77% of foreign correspondents were American citizens, Wu and Hamilton (20 04) found eight
years later that it had decreased to 69%. However, the authors found no di erences in news values
between citizen and non-citizen correspondents when deciding on what coverage to provide to
their media organizations.
Studies of Foreign Correspondents’ Work Routines and Performance
Scholars have investigated foreign correspondents’ work routines and performance perceptions
through a combination of surveys and interviews, along with content analyses and observation
of work products and routines. While these studies generally are far behind comparable analyses
of U.S. journalists (see, for example, Weaver & Wilhoit 1996), some early conclusions can be
Studies of foreign correspondents’ perceptions of their journalistic roles have consistently
shown that they embrace their function as information interpreters more than other types of
journalists. Willnat and Weaver (2003) found that foreign journalists stationed in the United
States rated the interpretive and analytical role as most important (73%), followed by investiga-
tion (56%) and getting information to the public quickly (55%). Foreign correspondents overall
were much less likely to use questionable reporting tactics—such as using confi dential informa-
tion without authorization or secret recording devices—compared to regular U.S. journalists. Yet
varied responses by the foreign press, depending on their home country, revealed few universal
roles or norms beyond protecting identities of confi dential sources.
Concerning geopolitical developments, Hahn and Lönnendonker (2009) conducted 27 in-depth
interviews with U.S. foreign correspondents working for di erent American media outlets in
Europe. The authors found that post-9/11 foreign coverage shifted in focus toward the Middle
East, resulting in European-based U.S. correspondents reporting more about Muslim-related
news in Europe to the exclusion of other topics. They also found a general and continuous decline
in U.S. foreign news coverage from Europe.
Various other studies have used a mixture of methods to investigate the lives, habits, and work
routines of foreign correspondents in specifi c places, such as those covering the Middle East (Ibra-
him 2003; Nawawy 2001; Sreebny 1979); Australian correspondents covering Asia (Masterton
2009); and correspondents in China (MacKinnon 2007; Oksenberg 1994). The richest fi ndings
among these geographically focused studies have come from researchers who used a variety of
methods or locations to produce greater knowledge. In their case study of London-based journal-
ists, Morrison and Tumber (1985) used a mail survey, more than 150 in-depth interviews, and a
range of observations to capture a full picture of their subjects’ lives during the early-1980s.
German researchers have been particularly interested in learning more about the German for-
eign press corps abroad. Yet as with foreign press research in the United States, their work is
Foreign Correspondents—An Endangered Species? 503
mostly limited to surveys that produce descriptive or exploratory data (Gysin 2000; Hahn, Lön-
nendonker, & Schröder 2008; Junghanns 2004; Junghanns & Hanitzsch 2006; Kopper 2006; Kop-
per & Seller 2007). One exception is Marten’s (1989) multi-method study in which he triangulated
in-depth interview fi ndings with newsroom observations and comparisons to poll results by the
German Allensbach Institute.
More recently, scholars at the University of Dortmund conducted several EU-funded projects
focusing on the work of foreign correspondents in Europe and other parts of the world. The fi rst
was based on in-depth interviews with 142 foreign correspondents from 11 countries working
in Europe. The interviews were conducted in 2006 and center on the work routines and self-
perception of foreign correspondents (AIM Research Consortium 2007). Similar interviews of
300 German foreign correspondents in 2006 examined working conditions and the in uence of
the home newsrooms on their daily work (Hahn et al. 2008). A third project conducted between
2004 and 2006 (see Kopper 2006) analyzed cond itions of foreign news production a mong Ger man
correspondents stationed in the United States. Kopper (2006) concluded that German foreign
correspondents have little direct access to U.S. sources, rely almost exclusively on leading U.S.
media for information, and seldom alter reports to refl ect more stringent journalistic norms and
practices in Germany.
Hannerz’s (2003, 2004) multi-site ethnography of foreign correspondents’ social world is per-
haps the most rigorous and triangulated qualitative investigation of its type. Between 1996 and
2000, Hannerz (2003) conducted in-depth interviews with about 70 American and European
foreign correspondents stationed in Jerusalem, Johannesburg, and Tokyo. He also made extensive
eld and newsroom observations to paint a fuller picture of how these journalists navigate profes-
sional and cultural issues on a daily basis. Hannerz shows that foreign journalists’ work is infl u-
enced by their on-site experiences, personal backgrounds, and interests of their home newsrooms.
One of the most recent attempts to provide a better understanding of foreign correspondents’
work is Gross and Kopper’s (2011) Understanding Foreign Correspondence. It provides a collection of
articles on the work of European and American foreign correspondents, their professional norms
and values, the impact of technology, and, most importantly, a discussion of theoretical frame-
works that guide the study of international newsgathering. While the authors convincingly argue
that media theories such as gatekeeping, agenda-setting, and framing can explain the social pro-
cesses that infl uence how foreign news is created, such theories fail to explain the shifting val-
ues and norms of foreign correspondents and how they perceive their profession. What remains
missing is a more integrative theory of “journalism culture” that explains the professional values
shared by foreign correspondents across nations and cultures (see Hanitzsch et al., chapter 35 in
this volume).
Other research has used content analyses of news coverage or popular media representations
of foreign journalists to better understand their work routines and cultural impact. Such studies
have included descriptive investigations of foreign coverage by The Washington Post (Lester 1994)
and The New York Times (Berry 1990); regional American newspaper representations of Germany
(Kleinfeld 1986); books by and about foreign correspondents (Starck & Villanueva 1992); and
20th-century movie representations of them (Cozma & Hamilton 2009).
Summary of Research Defi cits
A review of related studies on foreign correspondents reveals several key areas of needed improve-
ment, including: (a) more theoretical work; (b) more systematic empirical evidence; (c) more
504 Lars Willnat and Jason Martin
attention to methodological concerns; (d) more comparative studies that place fi ndings in political,
social, or cultural contexts; and (e) more consideration of foreign correspondence as a process,
including attention to various contingencies such as economic and technological pressures.
Lack of Theory. Prior research on foreign correspondents has been overly descriptive, usually
atheoretical, or produced results that lacked contributions to theory building. As Hahn and
Lönnendonker (2009) note, no coherent theoretical model for research on foreign reporting and
foreign correspondents exists. The reliance on descriptive data stems from surveys of foreign
correspondents and content analyses of their work. Too often, survey studies have focused on
personal backgrounds of correspondents, assessments of work routines and pressures, and opinions
about foreign news coverage that do not produce theoretical analysis. With a few exceptions (Hess
1996, 2005), most studies also have not linked analyses of who foreign journalists are with what
they do. This reduces many surveys to descriptions of how foreign journalists view their profession
without linking those perceptions to actual work.
When theory has been invoked, it serves as a referential framework, but the studies often fail to
build on the theory cited. For instance, studies using Lasswell’s (1948) theories of press functions
as an in uence on survey questionnaires have produced mainly descriptive data about roles that
foreign correspondents prefer to self-identify (e.g., Nair 1991; Suh 1972; Willnat & Weaver 2003).
Ibrahim (2003) used Shoemaker and Reese’s hierarchy of infl uences (1996) as a framework for
studying Middle East correspondents’ work routines, but ultimately concluded that further
empirical work was needed to form any systematic conclusions. Starck and Villanueva (1992)
similarly proposed using cultural framing to study foreign correspondents, but never managed to
show conclusively how culture might infl uence their work.
Given that the fi rst studies on foreign correspondents appeared in the early 1950s, this is
surprising. Yet studies of professional journalists have su ered from a similar lack of theory that
would explain work and role perceptions. Only recently have scholars began to seriously consider
theoretical foundations for their survey work on journalists (Hanitzsch 2007).
More Empirical Evidence. One way theory may become more prominent in studies on foreign
correspondents is by producing more systematic empirical evidence. As noted earlier, more studies
are ne ede d t hat li nk att it ude s of fo reign cor res po nde nts with their act ual wor k. Mor e c onsi derat ion
of the various infl uences on their work, including working conditions, routines, and news making
processes, are needed as well. Specifi c concerns include economic and technological developments
that have caused massive shifts in global journalism and a ected how foreign journalists work.
Hahn and Lönnendonker (2009), for example, note there is a need to study how online media
and satellite technology a ect foreign news coverage. Of particular concern is that traditional
foreign correspondents stationed abroad might be replaced with “virtual” foreign correspondents.
Overall, the number of studies on foreign journalists is surprisingly small and indicates a gap in
the academic literature on professional journalism.
Another open question in research on foreign journalists is how their reports depict their
host nation. For most people, the only (or most important) way to learn about foreign nations is
through mass media. In turn, the way foreign correspondents describe a host nation will infl uence
audience perceptions in foreign nations. Yet despite the obvious importance of such news reports
for international understanding and peace, we know very little about how correspondents portray
their host nations, why they cover certain topics rather than others, and how these depictions
di er among journalists from countries around the world. Analyzing their work with theoretical
Foreign Correspondents—An Endangered Species? 505
concepts such as “globalization or “domestication” of foreign news might help explain some of
these questions and di erences.
Methodological Concerns. One of the biggest problems in researching foreign correspondents has
been methodological fl aws in the design of survey studies. Because of the transient nature of foreign
correspondents and their ever-changing defi nition, attempts to identify the actual population have
failed consistently. As a result, many studies are left to rely on incomplete lists as the sampling
basis. Wu and Hamilton (2004), for example, relied on a list of 4,825 foreign correspondents
compiled over several years by contacting news organizations and scanning newspapers for bylines.
Since foreign correspondents often move to other assignments or were inaccurately counted, such
lists usually are incomplete. Hess (2005), on the other hand, used various existing lists to identify
nearly 2,000 foreign journalists working in the United States: the press gallery section of the
Congressional Directory, the State Department’s Directory of Foreign Correspondents in the United States,
Editor and Publisher International Year Book, Hudson’s Washington News Media Contacts Directory, News
Media Yellow Book, and the membership directories of the Foreign Press Association of New York,
the UN Correspondents Association, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Although
this is a fairly complete collection of foreign correspondent listings, most of these lists contain
journalists that are long gone or just arrived in the United States.
While it is unfair to blame anybody for such shortcomings, media scholars need to generate
better representative samples of foreign correspondents. Only then can something be said
defi nitively about who foreign correspondents are and what they think about themselves and their
profession. Of course, the fi rst step in creating such a sample would be to defi ne who actually
qualifi es as such a journalist, a task that becomes increasingly di cult as the nature of foreign
news reporting evolves.
Lack of Comparative Studies. Another concern is the lack of comparative studies that prevent placing
foreign correspondent research in wider political, social, or cultural contexts. As previous chapters
in this book have shown, comparative studies of journalists allow researchers to compare the
norms and values of one group of journalists with those of other groups. The observed di erences
help us place fi ndings outside normative frameworks into context and see them from a less
culturally “biased” viewpoint. Stevenson (2004: 371) notes that “comparative studies do provide
additional data points, but we do not see them very often. They are expensive and complicated, but
without them, a large part of the body of comparative communication research continues to rely
on traditional polemic, citing other polemics instead of evidence that challenges the conventional
wisdom of critical research or even addresses the core questions. In other words, comparative
research not only avoids narrow national perspectives, but allows scholars to incorporate and test
the validity of new theoretical ideas and concepts across nations or cultures.
Overall, research needs to foster a more sophisticated understanding of foreign correspondents
work based on cultural di erences in press systems, and the media climates where foreign cor-
respondents are based as well as their home countries. Willnat and Weaver (2003), for example,
suggest more focus on the infl uence of political systems and national cultures on journalists’ roles
and reporting methods.
Contingent Conditions. Finally, as this review on foreign correspondent research has shown, there
is a great need to address the latest economic and technological changes that have a ected foreign
a airs reporting. Economic pressures have forced many Western media organizations to reduce or
506 Lars Willnat and Jason Martin
eliminate their networks of foreign correspondents. Yet technological advances have allowed even
small media organizations with limited news budgets to cover international events with “parachute”
journalists or local stringers. How these paradoxical trends a ect foreign correspondents’ self-
perception and foreign news production remains largely unknown. In addition, the growing
concentration of foreign news reporting by a few large media corporations—coupled with the
apparent surge of foreign news on the Internet—demands close attention from researchers
concerned with diversity in international news. Foreign journalists play a key role in setting the
international agenda and should be analyzed within a new framework of economic and political
The Future of Foreign Correspondents
As this chapter attempts to show, foreign correspondents are endangered and evolving. While
media organizations have reduced the ranks of foreign journalists to trim costs, new media tech-
nologies have changed the process of foreign news production.
It seems likely that these economic and technological trends particularly will benefi t media
organizations with the resources to run global networks of news bureaus and foreign correspon-
dents. Thus, powerful news agencies such as the Associated Press, which employs about 2,500
newsgatherers in more than 300 locations worldwide (Associated Press 2011) or Thomson Reuters
with 2,800 full-time journalists in 200 bureaus around the world (Thomson Reuters 2010), will
continue to provide the vast majority of professional foreign reporting. As Moore (2010: 43) points
out, however, these organizationsare likely to come under increasing pressure to gather more
news for more platforms in less time.”
The Internet and an emerging global news audience have transformed foreign news in remark-
able ways that remain poorly understood. Reese, Rutigliano, Hyun, and Jeong (2006: 256), for
example, argue that “globalization and the Internet have created a space for news and political
discourse that overrides geography and increases opportunities for non-mainstream, citizen-based
news sources.” Citizen journalists located anywhere in the world can post comments alongside
stories written by professional foreign correspondents, add their information to stories, or even
work directly with correspondents on stories that otherwise would go uncovered.
For example, citizen journalists played a crucial role during the “Arab spring” protests that
rocked Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, and Syria in 2011. Mainstream media have relied
extensively on bloggers, political activists, and involved citizens to provide information, pictures,
and videos from protest sites that often were inaccessible to regular journalists. Media organiza-
tions also have increasingly used footage of natural disasters, accidents, crimes, and other unique
events witnessed and recorded by such “accidental journalists.” Social networking sites such as
Facebook or YouTube accelerated this distribution of citizen-produced news by allowing global
audiences to follow events without interference by local or foreign news organizations.
The global success of social networking sites also has changed the way many people receive and
consume foreign news. A growing number of Facebook and Twitter users, for example, consume
news sent to them by family, friends, or colleagues within their social network circle. While
such a personalized distribution of foreign news might undermine the agenda-setting power of
mainstream media, people are much more likely to pay attention to news forwarded by those
they know. If that is the case, foreign news might experience a rebirth on social networks with a
limited, but highly engaged audience.
Foreign Correspondents—An Endangered Species? 507
Another trend in modern foreign reporting is a shift toward one-person bureaus. Small over-
seas o ces, sta ed by a reporter with the latest digital-media technology that can record, edit, and
send video, cost a fraction of what it takes to run a full-time bureau. Because of rapid advances in
media technology, one reporter with a handheld digital video camera and a laptop can now cover
a story that once required a correspondent, a producer, and a two-person crew. In 2007, ABC
opened seven of these highly fl exible and mobile “mini-bureaus” in Seoul, South Korea; Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; New Delhi and Mumbai, India; Jakarta, Indonesia;
and Nairobi, Kenya. Altogether they cost about as much as the full-featured Paris bureau did when
it was open (Gough 2007). While this new breed of foreign journalist is expected to write reports
and gather audio, photos, and video during a typical reporting assignment, they are not totally
alone. Their stories get edited by colleagues in London or New York and they often receive logisti-
cal and technical support from stringers and ABC News partners such as the BBC (Dorroh 2008).
Even cheaper than journalists working alone abroad are “virtual foreign correspondents” who
assemble news stories at home by relying exclusively on wire service reports, phone interviews,
online news from abroad, and other sources accessed remotely by Internet. Thus, many “foreign”
correspondents do not travel abroad anymore but report about international events right from
behind their desks in New York or wherever their news organization is located. Although such
news reports are much less expensive than regular foreign news stories, they are likely to be simi-
lar to many stories published elsewhere. As Moore (2010: 44) notes, “they help fi ll the ‘news hole’
but are not distinctive and do not provide a competitive advantage.
Another interesting trend in foreign news reporting is the emergence of online sites that o er
international news from freelancers or grant-supported journalists. The best-known example is
probably GlobalPost (, launched in 2009 to provide “English-language read-
ers around the world, with a depth, breadth and quality of original international reporting that has
been steadily diminished in too many American newspapers and television networks” (GlobalPost
2001). It features reports from 100 to 120 freelancers worldwide who pay special attention to
geographic areas that have been under-reported by mainstream U.S. media. In addition, 50 to 60
reporters on contract write at least one story a week (Sambrook 2010). GlobalPost earns most
of its money through advertising, but also syndicates its content to newspapers, Web sites, radio
stations, and television networks in the United States and abroad. Another revenue source is mem-
bership, which costs about $30 a year and allows readers to access additional content and interact
with correspondents (Enda 2011).
The nonprofi t International Reporting Project ( was
founded in 1998 to fi nancially support journalists working on foreign news stories unlikely to
be reported elsewhere (Enda 2011). Since the program’s start, the International Reporting Proj-
ect has supported more than 300 U.S. journalists with travel grants to more than 85 countries
to work on stories to be featured their IRP news site. The reporters usually can stay fi ve weeks
abroad, then have another four weeks to work on their projects in Washington (Enda 2011). Yet
despite the fact that such a non-profi t, grant-based model fi lls an important niche by focusing on
stories too expensive to cover for most mainstream media, many of those stories will appeal only
to a small core audience. The same is true for profi t-oriented e orts such as GlobalPost. Such cov-
erage is extremely valuable and will add to the diversity of foreign news in the United States, but
it will only appeal to audiences already interested in foreign news. As a consequence, growth of
such online news sites beyond traditional foreign news audiences seems unlikely.
Ultimately, the contemporary state of foreign correspondence is marked by an intriguing
contradiction: fewer journalists defi ned in the traditional sense are reporting abroad, and they
508 Lars Willnat and Jason Martin
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understand not only the nature of these changes but also their impact on the foreign correspon-
dent’s profession and identity, the international news they produce and distribute, and what their
impact holds for an increasingly interconnected world.
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... The role of foreign correspondents is critical here. 1 They routinely inform about distant nations, set the foreign news agenda and can influence the perception that elites and the general public may have of a given nation (Hannerz 2004;Nothias 2020;Willnat and Martin 2012). ...
... Although digital technologies and advertising techniques play a significant role in nation branding (Bolin and Ståhlberg 2020), 'southern' nations such as Brazil remain highly dependent on securing positive coverage by overseas news organisations, due to their limited resources to establish their own transnational broadcasters, as well as the perceived need to be recognised by the West. Hence, although foreign correspondents might be an 'endangered species' in the West (Willnat and Martin 2012), they remain significant because they have the power to shape how the world is looking at the Global South. ...
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Despite a growing recognition of the role of the media in nation branding, a clear understanding of the relationship between the latter and foreign correspondents is absent and needed. Although foreign correspondents are a key target of nation branding, studies generally depict these journalists as vehicles exploited by authorities and consultants rather than actors in their own right. Drawing on twenty-one interviews with foreign correspondents who have covered Brazil in the last two decades, this article identifies three relationship modes between journalists and nation branding: ‘challenging’, ‘aligning with’ and ‘filtering’ soft power. These modes open up a more nuanced understanding of the soft power-journalism nexus, with foreign correspondents having the potential to be collaborators or antagonists of soft power. Acknowledging the agency of Western journalists in relation to soft power initiatives is especially important for Global South nations, due to the dependency of the latter on securing positive coverage by overseas news organisations and their perceived need to be recognised by the West. Moreover, although foreign correspondents claim to contest the version of Brazil put forward by authorities, they ultimately favour similar forms of national imagination, emphasising economic performance, global inequalities and consequently restricting alternative possibilities to communicate the nation.
... One of the paradoxes of today's media cultures is the co-existence of increasing transnational interdependence in the political, economic, and cultural realm and stable or even growing levels of parochialism in the coverage of many media outlets: in Europe, foreign coverage is found to be stagnating while it is shrinking in US media (Cohen, 2013;Wessler et al., 2008;Willnat and Martin, 2012). Media content, often, does not mirror global interdependencies but national myths of sovereignty (Hafez, 2011). ...
... In order to study foreign correspondents, a working definition for the object of study is necessary. Most research on foreign correspondents defines this group, pragmatically, as those individuals who were registered as such (Willnat and Martin, 2012). According to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the International Right of Correction, a correspondent is an individual employed by a media organization who is regularly engaged in the collection and the reporting of news material and who, when abroad, is identified as a correspondent by a valid passport or by a similar document (Convention on the International Right of Correction,435 U.N.T.S. 191). ...
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Foreign correspondents seem to have become an endangered species. They are said to be increasingly substituted by new forms of foreign correspondence. These claims are often raised by researchers studying foreign correspondence to and from the United States and the United Kingdom. We test whether assumptions about the demise and substitution of the traditional foreign correspondent also apply beyond these contexts. Particularly, the study seeks to explore the differences in the working conditions of various kinds of foreign correspondents. Based on 211 responses gathered through an online survey of a carefully reconstructed population of 721 journalists, it describes the profile and working conditions of foreign correspondents in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. It finds that the traditional correspondent – a professional journalist working full-time for legacy media – may be more resistant to change than expected. In the perception of correspondents, there is not much substitution through parachutes, locals, amateurs, or reporting from the headquarters. Working conditions are not worsening for everyone (…)
... One of the paradoxes of today's media cultures is the co-existence of increasing transna tional interdependence in the political, economic, and cultural realm and stable or even growing levels of parochialism in the coverage of many media outlets: in Europe, foreign coverage is found to be stagnating while it is shrinking in US media (Cohen, 2013;Wessler et al., 2008;Willnat and Martin, 2012). Media content, often, does not mirror global interdependencies but national myths of sovereignty (Hafez, 2011). ...
... In order to study foreign correspondents, a working definition for the object of study is necessary. Most research on foreign correspondents defines this group, pragmatically, as those individuals who were registered as such (Willnat and Martin, 2012). According to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the International Right of Correction, a cor respondent is an individual employed by a media organization who is regularly engaged in the collection and the reporting of news material and who, when abroad, is identified as a correspondent by a valid passport or by a similar document (Convention on the International Right of Correction,435 U.N.T.S. 191). ...
Foreign correspondents seem to have become an endangered species. They are said to be increasingly substituted by new forms of foreign correspondence. These claims are often raised by researchers studying foreign correspondence to and from the United States and the United Kingdom. We test whether assumptions about the demise and substitution of the traditional foreign correspondent also apply beyond these contexts. Particularly, the study seeks to explore the differences in the working conditions of various kinds of foreign correspondents. Based on 211 responses gathered through an online survey of a carefully reconstructed population of 721 journalists, it describes the profile and working conditions of foreign correspondents in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. It finds that the traditional correspondent – a professional journalist working full-time for legacy media – may be more resistant to change than expected. In the perception of correspondents, there is not much substitution through parachutes, locals, amateurs, or reporting from the headquarters. Working conditions are not worsening for everyone. Rather, we find diverging worlds of foreign correspondence depending on the media type, the country of origin, and the kind of job contract journalists have.
... Against the overall trend of down-sizing overseas postings (see, for example, Willnat and Martin, 2012), news organizations worldwide are still trying to maintain their presence in China, as the country is undergoing rapid economic development and rising to world importance. The number of registered foreign correspondents in China in 2015, for example, was 636, employed by 277 news organizations. ...
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Amidst the debate over a ‘global journalistic culture’, this study, drawing on Hallin and Mancini’s typology of media systems and Hanitzsch’s deconstruction of journalistic role perception, looks into how foreign correspondents in China perceive their professional roles, and how their role perceptions differ across different media systems. Based on a survey analysis of 101 journalists, the study identifies three role types among China correspondents: detached disseminator, populist watchdog, and facilitative change agent. A majority of respondents perceive their professional role as non-facilitative and non-advocate, disputing the ‘hostile foreign forces’ allegation China usually employs to discredit foreign correspondents. No significant national variance is detected in the relative size of the three role types, and journalists from different media systems all value objectivity, neutrality, detachment, as well as a strong audience orientation, echoing the global homogenizing tendency in certain components of journalistic culture. Yet, strong national variance prevails in key dimensions, including a watchdog role for the host country, advocacy orientation and power distance with home government, largely consistent with the respective journalistic culture in each media system, suggesting that national journalistic culture still holds a strong grip on foreign correspondence.
... In most cases, the head of the German government not only received information but also interpretation and assessment. That corresponds with the research findings of Willnat and Weaver (2003;Willnat & Martin, 2012). Working out from the concrete case of Schmidt, a model for the different methods and forms of communication that exist between single persons in politics on the one hand and foreign correspondents on the other can be presented as a result of this analysis (see Figure 1): ...
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This paper addresses the role of foreign correspondents during the Cold War. More specifically, it focuses on the case study of the relationship between former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and foreign correspondents in Germanyand abroad. A synthesis of historical research and qualitative analysis of documentsand interviews provides a behind-the-scenes look at media diplomacy during the 70s andearly 80s. From the perspective of system theory and the concept of mediatization, mediaand politics are understood as separate but equal social systems that interact with eachother. This case study is based on documents from the private archives of Helmut Schmidtand from the annals of his party, the German Social Democrats, as well as interviews conducted with Schmidt and former journalist and correspondent Gerd Ruge. Analysis of theinterviews and the private and secret correspondence of Schmidt with journalists affordsan inside view into the role foreign correspondents played during the Cold War when communicationacross the Iron Curtain was especially challenging. Our conclusions show howimportant foreign correspondents are in international relations, while also demonstrating that aspects of international diplomacy, though involving journalists, were not necessarily included in media coverage. This study helps to clarify the complex interactions between media and politics. On the basis of our explorative research, a model is proffered of possible relations and interactions between politicians and foreign correspondents. As sources of information and means of communication, foreign correspondents exert a strong influence on the fates of nations and governments, before and behind the scenes. Esta proposta aborda o papel dos correspondentes estrangeiros durante a Guerra Fria. Mais especificamente, centra-se no estudo de caso da relação entre o ex-chanceler alemão Helmut Schmidt e os correspondentes estrangeiros na Alemanha e no exterior. A síntese da pesquisa histórica e da análise qualitativa de documentos e entrevistas permite um olhar nos bastidores da diplomacia da mídia durante a década de 1970 e início de 1980. Do ponto de vista da teoria dos sistemas e do conceito de midiatização, mídia e política são entendidos como espaços separados, mas se constituem em sistemas sociais equivalentes e que interagem um com o outro. Este estudo de caso é baseado em documentos dos arquivos privados de Helmut Schmidt e dos anais do seu partido, o Social-Democrata alemão, bem como entrevistas realizadas com Schmidt e com o ex-jornalista e correspondente Gerd Ruge. A análise das entrevistas e da correspondência privada e secreta de Schmidt com os jornalistas proporciona uma visão interna sobre o papel desempenhado pelos correspondentes estrangeiros durante a Guerra Fria, quando acomunicação através da Cortina de Ferro foi especialmente desafiadora. Nossas conclusões mostram a importância dos os correspondentes estrangeiros nas relações internacionais, ao mesmo tempo, demonstrando que os aspectos da diplomacia internacional, mesmo quando envolviam jornalistas, não foram necessariamente incluídos na cobertura da mídia. Este estudo ajuda a esclarecer as complexas interações entre mídia e política. Com base na nossa pesquisa exploratória, apresentamos m modelo sobre as relações e interações possíveis entre os políticos e os correspondentes estrangeiros. Como fontes de informação e meios de comunicação, os correspondentes estrangeiros exercem uma forte influência nos destinos de nações e governos, atuando tanto na cena principal como nos bastidores.Cet article aborde le rôle des correspondants à l’étranger pendant la guerre froide et s’attache plus précisément, dans le cadre d’une étude de cas, à examiner les rapports entre l’ancien chancelier allemand Helmut Schmidt et les correspondants en Allemagne et à l’étranger. La recherche historique, alliée à l’analyse qualitative de documents et d’entrevues, permet de jeter un regard dans les coulisses de la diplomatie médiatique des années 1970 et du début des années 1980. Du point de vue de la théorie systémique et du concept de médiatisation, les médias et la politique sont considérés comme des systèmes sociaux distincts mais d’importance équivalente qui interagissent l’un avec l’autre. Cette étude de cas s’appuie sur des documents extraits des archives privées de Helmut Schmidt et des archives de son parti, les sociaux-démocrates allemands, ainsi que sur des entrevues menées avec Schmidt et l’ancien journaliste et correspondant à l’étranger Gerd Ruge. L’analyse des entretiens et de la correspondance privée et confidentielle de Schmidt avec des journalistes offre un aperçu, depuis l’intérieur, du rôle qu’occupaient les correspondants à l’étranger pendant la guerre froide, lorsque le rideau de fer rendait la communication particulièrement délicate. Nos conclusions font d’une part la lumière sur l’importance des correspondants à l’étranger dans le cadre des relations internationales et montrent d’autre part que certains aspects de la diplomatie internationale, bien qu’impliquant des journalistes, n’étaient pas nécessairement intégrés dans la couverture médiatique. Cet article offre ainsi des outils permettant de mieux comprendre les rapports complexes entre médias et politique. Nos recherches exploratoires servent de base au développement d’un modèle de relations et d’interactions possibles entre représentants politiques et correspondants à l’étranger. En leur qualité de sources d’informations et moyens de communication, les correspondants à l’étranger exerçaient une forte influence sur le sort des nations et des gouvernements, aussi bien sur le devant de la scène qu’en coulisses.
... Often, a major event will take place, increasing the media coverage and audience awareness, until interest wanes and a new event occurs. The Pew Research Center released a study in 2008, which demonstrated that 53% of Americans track international news as it develops, but only 42% consistently follow international news coverage (Willnat & Martin, 2012). ...
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This chapter analyzes different stereotypes used by media when covering terrorism events. It discusses topics such as: media stereotypes of different terrorist groups, how media responses differ according to the type of terrorism, type of medium (e.g., print, broadcast, and on-line), location of the headquarters of the medium (regional subjectivity), the audience of the medium (national, transnational, or international), and the political affiliation and market orientation of the medium. This chapter attempts to provide an additional analysis of the way that these stereotypes are formulated by the use of basic and not so basic rhetorical techniques of the invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery applied. All the above are analyzed against the background of the basic social determinants of journalism: political pressures and censorship, technological possibilities, news management and public relations strategies of the army, economic pressures and professional culture, and the basic news values or news selection criteria (e.g., timing of the event, negativity, meaningfulness, and reference to elite nations and persons).
Drawing on the structural-constructivist framework of journalistic field and habitus, Reporting China on the Rise examines the internal and external dynamics which are shaping the work of foreign correspondents in China during Xi Jinping’s tenure. This study presents findings from extensive surveys and interviews with current and former correspondents based in China. It aims to explore how they have responded, and continue to respond, to pressures from within the journalistic field (such as a transforming media industry), as well as from constant shifts in global geopolitics, and China’s increasingly restrictive journalistic environment. These factors are shown to work together to relationally define the news production practice of these correspondents and, ultimately, shape the final news product. Journalism in modern China has become a widely discussed, yet gravely under-researched topic, both for policy-makers and academics. Reporting China on the Rise seeks to open up discussions around the role of the foreign press in generating meaningful media coverage of this growing superpower. It will be an invaluable resource for students and researchers of Journalism and Media Studies.
Journalistic branding in the age of social media has been attracting growing academic interest. Self-branding has become an everyday routine among journalists, but the very limited scholarship on journalistic branding on social media has largely focused on national or local journalists in single democracies, ignoring foreign correspondents, who traditionally enjoy more professional autonomy but are going social under the challenges in the age of social media. This study looks at how foreign correspondents in China, with a heavily regulated and censored social media environment, use Twitter for journalistic branding, and examines the dynamics of this branding. The Twitter profiles of 129 China correspondents and 1,249 of their tweets were content analyzed, with the findings suggesting that foreign correspondents in China use Twitter primarily for broadcasting rather than networking. They also emphasize organizational identity much more than personal one. The implications of those findings and the extent to which they might be specific to China are discussed.
While western foreign correspondence is retreating, Chinese central media and correspondents, bestowed by the government’s financial backing for media’s role in public diplomacy, are taking the opportunities to expand overseas bureaus, hire experienced local employees, enhance the quantity and quality of international news reporting, use digital technologies in newsgathering and dissemination, and receive western-style trainings. Against this backdrop this paper studies the identities, media cultures and journalistic practices of Chinese foreign correspondents as well as the international news output, media-audience and media-foreign policy relationship. In doing so we propose a new six-level theoretical model - (1) journalists’ identities; (2) cultures; (3) practices; (4) news output; (5) news dissemination, reception and audiences’ interactions, and (6) the impacts of international news coverage. Based on semi-structured interviews with Chinese resident journalists over eight years, we argue that the media-audience and media-foreign policy relationship in China have become more interactive, dynamic and complex.
A new census of American media correspondents abroad shows a sharp reversal of what had been steadily declining numbers, an easing of its historically heavy emphasis on Europe and an increasing reliance on female journalists in foreign news bureaus.
When the author of this commentary was teaching or consulting—but not ‘foreign correspondensing’—in Malaysia, Singapore and later India, as he was in the early and mid-1990s―he met and spoke with many journalists who were employed as correspondents to report on events in those countries for Australian newspapers and broadcasters. None of them considered their colleagues to be total masters of the art of delivering an accurate and informed report on Asia-Pacific events in which Australia (and also New Zealand) should be interested. It was not a case of defaming the opposition, since every one of them admitted that at times they might fall short and themselves commit one of the sins of which foreign correspondents have so often been accused. The author believes that when they read today’s newspapers or watch today’s television, they find that today’s foreign correspondents still face the same cross-cultural problems they faced in the past and are guilty of the same shortcomings.
Americans often forget that, just as they watch the world through U.S. media, they are also being watched. Foreign correspondents based in the United States report news and provide context to events that are often unfamiliar or confusing to their readers back home. Unfortunately, there has been too little thoughtful examination of the foreign press in America and its role in the world media. Through Their Eyes fills this void in the unmistakable voice of Stephen Hess, who has been reporting on reporting for over a quarter century. Globalization is shrinking the planet, making it more important than ever to know what is going on in the world and how those events are being interpreted elsewhere. September 11 was a chilling reminder that how others perceive us does matter, like it or not. Hess seeks to answer three basic yet essential journalistic questions: Who are these U.S.-based foreign correspondents? How do they operate? And perhaps most important, what do they report, and how? Informed by scores of interviews and armed with original survey research, Hess reveals the mindset of foreign correspondents from a broad sample of countries. He examines how reporting from abroad has changed over the past twenty years and addresses the daunting challenges facing these journalists, ranging from home-office politics to national stereotypes. Unique among works on the subject, this book provides an engaging and humanizing "Day in the Life?" section, illustrating how foreign correspondents conduct their daily activities. This book continues the author's comprehensive Newswork series on the nexus of media, government, and politics. These five books, starting with The Washington Reporters (Brookings, 1981), have become valuable reference materials for all who seek to understand this intersection of journalism and government. Through Their Eyes furthers that rich tradition, making it essential and enjoyable reading.