Monday 14 April 2008

The end of the foreign correspondent

Solana Larsen, co-managing editor of Global Voices Online, recently suggested that foreign correspondents will have disappeared by 2013.

This debate has been rumbling along in the background for a while. Back in October, John Simpson, World Affairs Editor at the BBC, said he regarded the foreign correspondent as an 'endangered species' on a programme for Radio 4.

Reporting overseas, and warfare in particular, has become more dangerous. In an article entitled 'Journalism and the war in Iraq', Howard Tumber noted that while reporting twenty-one years of conflict in Vietnam 63 journalists were killed.

By August 2004, 50 journalists had already lost their lives in Iraq. Reporters Without Borders claim that 156 journalists have been killed to date.

Safety-conscious and business-minded media organisations are now reluctant to send their journalists abroad, let alone pay to have them there permanently. The axing of foreign bureaux has long been recognised, as this video (among other things) demonstrates:

I found this video on Frontline's Blog, as part of an excellent digest of what has been said on the future of the foreign correspondent and various related issues, including blogging, local journalists, and the middle class nature of the journalism profession.


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