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Surprising Science

Foreign Journalists Exposed, Scars and All

One overlooked facet amid all the upheavals spurred by the digitization of global media is how it has thrust foreign reporters into the public sphere in their once exotic foreign beats. Though they often remain underpaid and unloved by their editors, foreign correspondents are no longer working in a vacuum.

With the internet’s tentacles spread to the most remote regions, the barrier between reading the news and responding to the news has never been lower. Nor has the barrier been lower for off-the-beaten-track non-journalists who wish to get into the business.

Since time immemorial, foreign reporters–some actually from the nations on which they reported– though most from the US and Europe–filed stories on faraway happenings largely to the ignorance of the reported-on countries. By dint of English or French-only reportage or illiteracy or apathy, the countries in question never read the news, though editions of the foreign papers were often available to them, albeit a few weeks late.

Today myriad platforms exist for locals to vet the correspondence. On Facebook and elsewhere, cultural notes are double-checked, alternate spellings are suggested, and, most importantly, the local view on events–often wholly absent in some countries’ tightly controlled national press–is argued. Global Post has made waves responding to the new situation in the field. From their not-so exotic locales, battalion’s of freelancers write stories, all of which can be commented on by readers. Though they are still spread too thinly to catch all the newsworthy items, correspondents at least have an active audience in their neighborhoods which is more than many American papers can claim right now.


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