WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Freelance War Correspondents

Sep 24, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the idea of traveling to and reporting from a war zone when you have no affiliation with a network or newspaper or other established media organization.

It’s also the subject of an excellent article in Columbia Journalism Review by Ann Friedman, “War Reporting for Amateurs.”

Major news organizations have closed foreign bureaus and reduced overseas staffing levels, and the job market is tough for journalists trying to break into the field, so some young reporters head to dangerous places and hope to sell their work as freelancers.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Garcia questioned the decision by many news organizations to close their foreign bureaus.  She wondered why so much of the media does not consider global news to be important.

Garcia and panelist Rich Egger said some news from overseas can be shared by citizen journalists through social media. But Egger said video and audio posted by citizen journalists does not offer the same depth and quality of reporting provide by a trained journalist.

Panelist Lisa Kernek also pointed to the bottom line. She said it’s expensive to staff those bureaus and many Americans don’t want to read about what’s happening in another country – even though they need to be informed about what’s going on.