Fall 2010 | Online Exclusives

Reporting From Faraway Places: Who Does It and How?

Foreign bureaus staffed by correspondents from a newspaper or broadcast network are now largely relics of a bygone era. As this 20th century model of reporting fades, fresh approaches to international reporting are evolving. Nonprofits and freelancers fill much of the void left by news organizations, as do locally based correspondents, an array of partnerships, and digital experimentation. Writing out of their experiences with these new approaches, reporters and editors portray a time of dizzying change, economic challenges, and abundant storytelling possibilities.

Reporting From Faraway Places: Who Does It and How?
Introduction
By John Maxwell Hamilton
Who Does It?
Even in Digital Age, ‘Being There’ Still Matters In Foreign Reporting
‘The textile workers’ strike was into its 19th day, and it appeared that we were the first journalists to arrive.’
By Bill Schiller
Correspondents: They Come in Different Shapes and Sizes (2 comments)
A BBC correspondent describes the benefits of three approaches to foreign news coverage—with caveats accompanying each one.
By James Reynolds
Adding ‘Far-Flungs’ to a New Kind of Reporting Partnership (1 comment)
An investigative story tests a new model of foreign news reporting—and leaves a lot of valuable lessons in its wake.
By Doug Struck
Should Local Voices Bring Us Foreign News?
‘Depending on who is making the argument, the idea of not having foreign correspondents is either something to fear or look forward to.’
By Solana Larsen
The Attention Deficit: Plenty of Content, Yet an Absence of Interest (5 comments)
By Ethan Zuckerman
A Former BBC Producer Takes a Fresh Look at Foreign News: ‘It’s the Audience, Stupid!’
Using a new approach to storytelling ‘we managed to broaden our audience, expand our coverage and—this is critical—not “dumb down” in the process.’
By Maria Balinska
When Journalists Depart, Who Tells the Story? (1 comment)
Press releases and broadcast-ready video substitute for European Union coverage, as news organizations cut back on staff reporters in Brussels.
By Michael J. Jordan
How Is It Done?
Bearing Witness: The Poet as Journalist (1 comment)
‘I stand as a witness to the silences—to what goes unspoken and ignored—to the things that float away as if insubstantial but that are filled with the simple breaths of people trying to make sense of their existence.’
By Kwame Dawes
Chasing Haiti (1 comment)
‘Spending enough time in a tormented country for the reality to truly sink in is a painful experience.’
By Amy Bracken
Tanzanian Travels: Why Flexibility Matters (1 comment)
‘When heading off to Africa in these cash-strapped times, the expectation is that you will return with more than just a few stories. A daily radio show is a hungry beast to feed.’
By Jeb Sharp
Into Africa—With a Newspaper in Iowa
With International Reporting Project support, ‘my story reminded Iowans that it’s not just the large coastal papers that bring them news from abroad.’
By Perry Beeman
The Uninvited: Snapshots From Hyena Square (4 comments)
An Essay in Words and Photographs
By Jeffrey Porter
What Perspective?
A Correspondent for The New York Times Ends Her Reporting in Gaza—For a While (1 comment)
‘... I always say that I am not the story. I am out of it. I observe the place, and I describe it as it is. If I talk to people, I talk to all sides of the story. That’s how I conceive it.’
Conversation with Taghreed El-Khodary
A Foreign Correspondent From India as Suspect in Pakistan (17 comments)
‘One of the first things to hit me was the difference between how the Pakistani state and the Pakistani people viewed me.’
By Nirupama Subramanian
Turkey and the Armenian Diaspora: When ‘We’ Don’t Want to Know About ‘Them’
A lot happened after a Turkish journalist set out to tell people in her country about those who belong to the Armenian diaspora.
By Afsin Yurdakul
Piecing Together a Mosaic of America (1 comment)
‘As a foreign correspondent, my challenge was to tell stories about America in ways that would connect with my Finnish audience—both in print and through my multimedia presentations …’
By Pekka Mykkänen
Nieman Notes
In South Africa, Connecting With a Wealth of Nieman Fellows and Finding Signs of Hope (1 comment)
A first trip to the former land of apartheid is a time to renew friendships and ponder the nation’s future.
By Nancy Day
Class Notes
Compiled by Jan Gardner
Nieman Foundation and Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Join Forces to Strengthen Global Health Reporting
A Texas Border Community Grapples With Illegal Immigration
The Victoria Advocate’s multimedia reporting about a tragedy involving human trafficking elicits vociferous criticism and civil conversation in community events.
By Chris Cobler
Curator’s Corner
Overcoming the U.S. Visa Denial of a Colombian Nieman Fellow (1 comment)
A collaborative effort reverses a ‘permanent’ decision by the State Department and enables investigative reporter Hollman Morris to join his classmates at Harvard.
By Bob Giles
Who Pays?
The Sometimes Bumpy Nonprofit Ride Into Digital Foreign Correspondence (1 comment)
‘We began with the naïve assumption that if we covered the costs of getting journalists to the field they would be able to earn a decent income through placement of the resulting stories. We were wrong!’
By Jon Sawyer
Foreign Reporting: It’s Not Like It Used to Be
Just a dozen years ago, the International Reporting Project’s approach was very different. Then, it trained staff reporters hoping to head to foreign bureaus; now it supports story ideas, many of them from freelancers.
By John Schidlovsky
Global Investigative Reporting Effort Exposes Asbestos Trade
Exposing the booming asbestos trade in the developing world became the most recent of many projects undertaken by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
By David E. Kaplan
Africa—Revealed on GlobalPost Through People-Oriented Stories
‘We work hard to make our stories break out of the “should read” category and into the “want to know” one.’
By Andrew Meldrum
An Odd Couple: Journalists and Academics (1 comment)
Partnering with Harvard’s Carr Center gave a freelance journalist the chance to continue her reporting about drug wars in Juárez, Mexico.
By Monica Campbell
Foreign Policy: Morphing Into an Online Daily (1 comment)
‘At the start of our Web relaunch, here’s what we had: essentially no money, no reporters, a creaky and often barely functioning custom-made Web platform, a wonderfully talented young staff …’
By Susan B. Glasser
Connecting Correspondents With Broadcasters
Global Radio News, an online agency for reporters, insists on fair treatment and insurance to protect those whose work takes them into harm’s way.
By Henry Peirse
Similar Paths, Different Missions: International Journalists and Human Rights Observers
As some journalists migrate to Human Rights Watch, one reason might be that they are ‘tired of treating all stories with the same pretense of aloofness—especially the ones who have covered mass atrocities.’
By Carroll Bogert
Living Manhattan, Feeling Zamboanga
After returning to the United States following a long stint overseas, a reporter is reminded that it is still all about adapting to circumstances.
By Phil Zabriskie
What Happens in War?
This Is How I Go (2 comments)
‘Every time I leave for war, there are rituals and routines—and one unyielding truth.’
By Kevin Sites
Bonds of Friendship on an Emotional Journey
By Joseph Kearns Goodwin
Noticing Quiet Amid the Battles of War
By Chris Vognar
From War Zones to Life at Home: Serendipity and Partners Matter
‘This Pulitzer Center partnership turned out to be the start of a productive ad hoc partnership that kick-started my career as an independent journalist.”
By Jason Motlagh
Trust and Perception: Powerful Factors in Assessing News About War
How the public responded to news reporting about the surge in Iraq was more about what the audience brought with them than what they took away.
By Matthew A. Baum
What Are the Risks?
Brutal Censorship: Targeting Russian Journalists
By Fatima Tlisova
Journalists Who Dared to Report—Before They Fled or Were Murdered
By Fatima Tlisova
A Journalist’s Near-Death Experience in Chechnya
‘... I said to myself, “This is the place where I’m going to die. This is the last thing I’m going to see in my life.”’
By Anne Nivat
What Can Be Taught?
Teaching the Science of Journalism in China (1 comment)
‘... I was constantly aware that the journalism they could practice was antithetical to the principles I was teaching, or so I believed, until I learned to trust the scientific nature of these principles.’
By Glenn Mott
An American Observes a Vietnamese Approach to Newsgathering
‘Consider this a content sharing agreement, with the “agreement” part being implicit, at best.’
By Sam Butterfield
Investigative Journalism in the Arab World
‘Why not create a ProPublica-like news organization here to give the public more watchdog journalism?’
By Justin D. Martin
Taking Those First Small Steps
‘“You mean it’s OK in your country to tell a leader what to do?” a few of them asked.’
By Madeleine Blais