Relinquishing the Story: Where Does the Labor End?
The conclusion to this book examines the labor of relinquishing the story. Despite their active role in conceptualizing the story at its beginning and assisting with the construction of the story at every turn, fixers say that they are denied ownership of the final product in any significant sense. Sometimes, the journalist or news organization will invoke the very fact that the fixer is getting paid in order to justify the separation of the fixer from the final product of his or her labor. Some of my interviewees suggest that this especially seems to happen when a fixer takes issue with the journalist’s interpretation of what is “true” or what is most newsworthy. Once the story is finished, news fixers rarely receive substantial credit for their role in reporting the story. Some of my interviewees say that this does not bother them, while others assert that the inability to get a byline hurts their chances for upward mobility in the international reporting industries. Still, very few news fixers appear to feel comfortable with actively contesting this problem. Thus, the conclusion of this book argues that the labor of relinquishing the story is also the moment in which the fixer—sometimes willingly and sometimes unwillingly—acquiesces to his or her own erasure from the practice of international news reporting.
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