Who Is A Foreign Correspondent?

Foreign correspondents are journalists or commentators based in a foreign country.
The primary role of these journalists is to gather and analyze events of international importance, and write news stories for their organisations – newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations.

A foreign news correspondent is a journalist responsible for gathering and reporting news from another country, especially where he or she is stationed. The job description consists of covering anything from wars to politics to living conditions and attitudes in this country. The foreign news correspondent is the eyes and ears of his organisation in a foreign country.
This is a tasking job which involves interviewing people, getting background information and details of events, and presenting such as reports to their organisations. Once the news has been gathered, foreign correspondents prepare reports and review the copy for errors in grammar, punctuation, content, and accuracy. This they do using the house style of their organisation.

The foreign correspondent does much the same job as a reporter. However, correspondents often have the liberty to express their own views or interpretations of news and events, whereas reporters are confined to unbiased fact-based reporting. Correspondents often engage in news interpretation, which consists of providing substantial context to the news events, highlighting the important facts and details.

According to Practican, the basic tasks of a foreign correspondent are as follows:
Gather and analyze events of international importance, and write news stories for newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasts
Once the news has been gathered, foreign correspondents prepare reports and review the copy for errors in grammar, punctuation, content, and accuracy
Interviewing people in a range of different circumstances
Building contacts to maintain a flow of news, for example, police and emergency services, local council, community groups, health trusts, press officers from a variety of organisations, the general public, etc
Seeking out and investigating stories via your contacts, press releases and other media
Attending press conferences and asking questions
Attending a variety of events, such as council meetings, magistrates’ court proceedings, football matches, talent contests, etc
Reacting to breaking news stories
Recording interviews and meetings using shorthand or technical equipment
‘Live’ online reporting or real-time blogging when covering important events – a growing area of work
Key skills for Foreign Correspondent:
Passionate about your work
Curiosity and inquisitiveness
Interest in world events
Ability to speak the local language
Ability to work under pressure
Multiple media skills

Being a foreign correspondent is an exciting job to do. You get involved in travelling a lot and getting used to foreign culture. It’s a specialized area worth venturing into.

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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