Media outlets must cover landmark events and issues. But at the same time they have the opportunity to do something more, to offer the audience a deeper and more diverse picture of the reality around us, even without being on the ground. And journalists, by following this approach, can enrich their portfolios with unique and groundbreaking stories.
Many journalists know the everyday struggle to find compelling new stories – and to do so quickly enough to survive the pace of the newsroom. Furthermore, the content also has to be relevant for the audience: why cover this and not that?
Journalists, of course, cover international landmark events and issues: Brexit, the US elections, some UN conferences, maybe some of the larger protests in ‘important’ countries – to put it simply, major news from parts of the world regarded as ‘prominent’ on the global stage.
But this picture is just one part of a far wider canvas. Journalists have the opportunity to add something more, to offer the audience a more diverse and complex vision of the reality around us.
In the following sections, we offer a few tips and suggestions on how to capture stories across the world more accurately and with a wider range of perspectives, while at the same time compensating for the absence of on the ground reporting. This will help you include fresh and unique content in your everyday news coverage – and even, in some cases, make your work easier too.
Other ways to improve reporting on culturally and/or geographically distant contexts can be found in the section on Global outlook.
But at first, before you begin reading the tips and suggestions, you should think about the two decisions you ought to face. First of all, you should decide whether or not you are actually willing to feature more international news with a global outlook in your foreign news section.
If you do, there is another decision to take. You can either:
- Invest some time into preparing a more detailed output, based on first-hand data and findings, making calls and contacts around the world, or:
- Due to time pressure or other constraints, create material from foreign media coverage, available studies, reports, expert opinions and perhaps testimonies from politicians, if relevant.
Both options are legitimate – they both involve collecting, processing and disseminating the information in the public interest. The second option, despite the fact it is often rightly condemned (if it is more ‘churnalism’ than journalism, the line between them is thin), is actually very common: to do this the right way, make you draw on reliable sources and credit them accordingly.
In both cases, there is the opportunity to ensure your work is different to ‘business as usual’ coverage – more accurate, better balanced, fresh and three-dimensional. Find more in the next post.