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From Pigeons to News Portals

Foreign Reporting and the Challenge of New Technology

David Perlmutter

Publication Year: 2007

Ever since the invention of the telegraph, journalists have sought to remove the barriers of time and space. Today, we readily accept that reporters can jet quickly to a distant location and broadcast instantly from a satellite-connected, video-enabled cell phone hanging from their belts. But now that live news coverage is possible from virtually anywhere, is foreign correspondence better? And what are the implications of recent changes in journalistic technology for policy makers and their constituents? In From Pigeons to News Portals, edited by David D. Perlmutter and John Maxwell Hamilton, scholars and journalists survey, probe, and demystify the new foreign correspondence that has emerged from rapidly changing media technology. These distinguished authors challenge long-held beliefs about foreign news coverage, not the least of which is whether, in our interconnected world, such a thing as "foreign news" even exists anymore. Essays explore the ways people have used new media technology--from satellites and cell phones to the Internet--to affect content, delivery modes, and amount and style of coverage. They examine the ways in which speedy reporting conflicts with in-depth reporting, the pros and cons of "parachute" journalism, the declining dominance of mainstream media as a source of foreign news, and the implications of this new foreign correspondence for foreign policy. Entertainment media such as film, television, and video gaming form worldwide opinions about America, often in negative ways. Meanwhile, live reporting abroad is both a blessing and curse for foreign policy makers. Because foreign news is so vital to effective policy making and citizenship, we imperil our future by failing to understand the changes technology brings and how we can wrest the best practice out of those changes. This provocative volume offers valuable insights and analyses to help us better understand the evolving state of foreign news.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Series: Media and Public Affairs

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii-viii

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1. Introduction: The Challenge of Technological Change in Foreign Affairs Reporting

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pp. 1-19

We live in an age where, as Thomas M. Disch put it, science fiction is the “dreams our stuff is made of.” Every year brings a host of new gadgets that change the methods of communicating with each other and how we interact with our world. Perhaps as remarkable is how quickly innovative technology, from...

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2. Rethinking “Foreign News” from a Transnational Perspective

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pp. 20-46

Under globalization, what is foreign news? The notion of “foreign news” implies that internal and external events are neatly separated, yet what characterizes globalization is precisely the opposite. Globalization has been defined as the integration of the world economy, the mixing of cultural traits, the increasing...

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3. The Nokia Effect: The Reemergence of Amateur Journalism and What It Means for International Affairs

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pp. 47-69

Economic and technological forces have placed tremendous pressure on traditional journalistic practices and norms. On the economic front, the emphasis placed on profit by the corporate news media starves the pursuit of serious international news while it encourages dramatic but otherwise trivial content. As a result, in the last decade overseas bureaus have been ...

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4. Bloggers as the New “Foreign” Foreign Correspondents: Personal Publishing as Public Affairs

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pp. 70-88

As detailed in several other chapters in this book, the definition of “foreign correspondent” is increasingly confounded by new media technology and practices. Heretofore, the term evoked a picture of a ruffled “old China (or Moscow, or Paris, or Beirut) hand” whose baggage trail included a Remington typewriter, a whisky...

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5. U.S. Media Teach Negative and Flawed Beliefs about Americans to Youths in Twelve Countries: Implications for Future Foreign Affairs

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pp. 89-109

The emphasis of many of the chapters in this book is on foreign affairs, the journalists who cover it, and how coverage of world events shapes American public opinion about foreign affairs. In other words, we are discussing how what happens “out there” (in other nations) gets reported to us here...

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6. Instant Connection: Foreign News Comes In from the Cold

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pp. 110-129

Foreign correspondents have always been the princes of the profession. Independent and resourceful, they roam the world, pursuing conflicts and famines, coups and earthquakes. Much of what they witness and write about is profoundly serious: terror, ethnic conflict, unimaginable poverty. They also file their share...

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7. Happy Landings: A Defense of Parachute Journalism

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pp. 130-149

“It’s not news when a plane lands safely.” That is a useful newsroom aphorism to explain what is and what isn’t news. But an exception to the rule occurred on October 19, 1936. That day...

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8. The Real-Time Challenge: Speed and the Integrity of International News Coverage

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pp. 150-166

Although real-time news technologies are still evolving, they have already transformed not only the processes of journalism, but also the effects of journalism on the public and policy makers. A problem underlying this transformation—and one that weakens its chances to stimulate constructive change—is journalism’s...

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9. Afterword: Technology and the Policy Maker: No Place to Hide (or, Everyone Knows Everything)

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pp. 167-182

The new information technology, platforms, and formats that have emerged within the past decade have transformed the relationship between policy makers and the world in which they function. This new relationship is due, in large measure, as the other contributors to this volume have demonstrated...


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pp. 183-196


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pp. 197-201


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pp. 203-214

E-ISBN-13: 9780807135334
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807132821

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Media and Public Affairs