The Challenge of Foreign Correspondence
The state of foreign reporting today is paradoxical. New technology makes some aspects of foreign reporting faster and easier; it has also raised old problems of trust and the high cost of foreign news that were first seen in the 19th century. This chapter situates today’s new developments in media economics and technology in the context of the 19th-century’s foreign correspondence, which was full of hoaxes and bogus reporting, as well as outstanding correspondents on the ground. Our current moment is a recalibration of three trade-offs in foreign correspondence: managed news vs. independence, speed vs. superficiality, and abundant sources vs. reliability. We examine these trade-offs by looking at modern American and European foreign correspondents, who have long grappled with truth and trust in news.
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