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Wannabe Hacks: Sunday Times foreign editor on ‘rough ride’ of profession

June 2nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Jobs, Training

In an interesting interview with the Wannabe Hacks Sunday Times foreign editor Sean Ryan offers plenty of tips for journalists interested in becoming foreign correspondents. There are plenty of warnings too, calling on journalists to be sure to consider the realities of reporting from across the world:

There’s also a psychological toll which I think as an industry we’re becoming increasingly aware of which is the tendency to suffer from depression as a result of traumatic experiences that you’ll inevitability accumulate along the way. So we have had cases of post-traumatic distress disorder diagnosed in several of our reporters and it’s deeply distressing to witness. It takes a lot of treatment and a long time to recover from, although I’m pleased to say that in all cases, we’ve seen a full recovery and people have gone back to work and come to terms with what they’ve experienced in the past. But it’s not easy and it’s not good going into being a foreign correspondent thinking it’s all travel and meeting people and being on the frontline of a war because there’s a heavy price to pay.

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Eric Weiner: 10 career options for foreign correspondents

October 1st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Job losses, Jobs, Journalism

Thomas Crampton, former foreign correspondent turned social media director, filmed Eric Weiner, journalist and author outlining 10 career options for foreign correspondents.

Originally thought-up to help ’40-something’ correspondents wanting to re-enter the mainstream, Crampton suggests that the tips may also be useful for young journalists facing the reality of industry cut-backs – smaller newsrooms and budgets.

‘Death’ is in the list – ‘it is not the preferred option’ but people will remember you fondly as a result. Although he admits there’s a downside to that one: ‘well, you’re dead’. And at the very end, there’s the digital option.

Full post at this link…

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#FollowJourn: @MarcusWa/online editor

September 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Marcus Warren

Who? Editor, Telegraph.co.uk

What? Former foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, now editor of Telegraph.co.uk, in charge of the day-to-day running of the site.

Where? @MarcusWa or Telegraph.co.uk

Contact? marcus.warren [at] telegraph.co.uk

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura [at] journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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BBC Radio 4: Why do foreign correspondents capture the imagination?

July 30th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

A nice segment from the Radio 4 Today programme this morning:

“A novel about a group of journalists in Africa has made the nominations for this year’s Booker prize. Not Untrue and Not Unkind tells the story of their friendship, rivalry and betrayal. The book’s author and former foreign correspondent, Ed O’Loughlin, and foreign correspondent Martin Bell, discuss why foreign correspondents attract so much interest.”

Listen here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8176000/8176198.stm

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Sean Langan at the Frontline Club: “perhaps I was like Icarus flying too close to the sun’

February 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Press freedom and ethics

Sean Langan, the British journalist kidnapped and held hostage by the Taliban for three months in 2008, spoke to the foreign correspondent Sam Kiley at the Frontline Club on Friday.

Langan talks about his work, the kidnap and the “film that wasn’t made: ‘Kidnapped by the Taliban.'”

  • “There’s an element to it (…) perhaps I was like Icarus flying too close to the sun.”
  • “It goes well – you’re at the top of the pile; it goes wrong – you’re seen as irresponsible.”
  • “I don’t regret doing anything I’ve done. I would do it again. I might not do undercover with terrorists again, too often.”

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BBC: Bill Thompson on journalism in the ‘network age’

While the majority of online news continues to be produced or edited by professionals, online journalism teacher Bill Thompson says journalists should not ignore the benefits of closer collaboration with citizens – in particular when reporting outside the western world.

“The idea of the “foreign correspondent”, sent off to a strange land to report on the activities of the “natives” for the benefit of those who require their strange customs to be interpreted and sanitised is a relic of a pre-network age.”

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Innovations in Journalism – CoveritLive ‘Humbly, we are forging a new form of journalism’

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. Today it’s live blogging with difference, with an interactive community, through CoveritLive.

image of cover it live website

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
I’m Keith McSpurren, president of CoveritLive, which is what we call ‘live blogging 2.0’.  It evolves live blogging from an interesting recap into an engaging event.

We have added interactivity features to live blogging, like polling questions and reader Q&A to involve the audience more.

We also made it simple for journalists to pull in rich multimedia (video, pictures, audio and even advertising) to create an event worth sticking around for.

Humbly, we think we are forging a new form of journalism.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
People look to journalists for information and perspective. We believe there are many instances where getting that as events unfold is better than after the event is over.

Instead of reading an article about The Oscars or a Q&A session in Parliament for a few minutes the next day, why not get running commentary in real time from your favourite writers?

Why not have the chance for readers to ask questions or add to the conversation or answer polling questions as well as draw upon the multimedia readily available on the web during the event?

These are all good ideas but the real benefit of CoveritLive to the journalist is that we believe we have made it possible to do all of this without the need for the IT department or any technical training.

The ease of implementation and use is really what gets writers excited when they first try it out.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?

CoveritLive is the first piece of software in the world to focus on live blogging. This is an evolving form of journalism and we listen very carefully to our users to develop better features all the time.

For example, next week we will launch a feature we call ‘Panel Discussion’ which will allow writers to have up to ten other writers all in the same live blog. Great for Q&A sessions, particularly with people who are spread out around the world.

Imagine the foreign correspondent in Baghdad online with the political reporter and two guests…without needing anyone to ‘set it up’ for them.

Cobbling together other expensive technology can do this kind of thing but by making it easy to do, we expect these kinds of features to grow the field of live blog reporting.

In the same way cheap, easy to use blogging software created a new form of reporting, we hope to do this where ‘live and in-depth’ is important.

4) Why are you doing this?
CiL is a commercial venture so we most definitely have a profit motive. That said the idea came around because I felt (after watching far too much television and yelling at it) that “there is more to be said”.

We think, with the right software, journalists can make their coverage better or add to what I’m watching on television. Politics, sports, financial news, conferences and even education are all areas where easy to use, low cost software can help the people who cover it.

5) What does it cost to use it?
The software is free to use.  This sometimes has an unintended impact where larger news organisations think, “It’s free.  It must not be very good or be able to handle someone big like us.”

That could not be farther from the truth.  It’s free because we are trying to lead the way with our users towards a new form of reporting. Putting price as a barrier to trial is not a good idea.

6) How will you make it pay?
We think our software creates significant opportunities for our users in terms of engaging their readers for long periods of time during a live blog.

Some recent data from an NFL football blog using CoveritLive demonstrates my point:

  • Unique viewers: 2750
  • Average duration on the live blog:  62 minutes
  • Percentage of readers 30 minutes or more: 51% (or over 1300 readers)
  • Number of Instant Replays clicked to view after the live blog:  4700

These kind of numbers create huge advertising opportunities for users interested in that type of thing.

We expect that value is worth paying for at some point once we have proven to be the software of choice in this new category.

Additionally, advertising supported software is a proven business model that will be more appropriate for micro-niche bloggers/writers who get the benefit of enterprise class software at no cost.

All this said, we are focused solely on being responsive to our users and growing usage.  Revenue will follow good ideas.

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