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Reflection on International Journalism

Journalism students who aspire to become international correspondents are concerned about the worsening media credibility in a troubled world. Yet on the other hand, they frequently ask how news coverage of this troubled world can contribute to making it safer and bearable for the next generation.

After the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002, several media critics increasingly bedeviled foreign correspondents and the international news media in general for the way they covered those wars. The criticism of foreign correspondents stemmed from the debate about embedded journalists and their role in framing the wars in the interest of the United States.

As we attempt to improve the basic role of this noble profession, we must also address and reverse the lackluster attitudes about the news media and foreign correspondence. The United States is naturally involved in many global affairs due to its strategic economic and national security interests. Although such a reality would call for more devotion to covering international affairs, there is less commitment to international news hole and airtime.

Most international media scholars argue that at best, news organizations carry out their work based on a similar journalistic expectation, namely that their implicit role is to create conditions in which public accountability and good governance can prevail. In light of all its troubles, foreign correspondents also need to pursue an added task of advocating for global solidarity, justice and human rights. Perhaps this can set in motion the shift in public opinion on the question of media credibility and trust.

September 28, 2008

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