Saturday, February 17, 2007

Farewell, Foreign Correspondents

Pretty interesting piece here on the demise of foreign coverage in print and TV. As the world shrinks, so does our interest in what's going on around us, apparently. Two grafs seemed especially noteworthy:

In a speech at Columbia University last week, veteran TV news anchor Walter Cronkite warned that pressure by media companies to generate increasing profits is threatening our nation's values and freedom by leaving people less informed. In today's complicated world, "the need for high-quality reporting is greater than ever," he said. "It's not just the journalist's job at risk here. It's American democracy."


Don't we learn more about Islam from Anthony Shadid's wide-ranging Post interviews with thoughtful Muslims in Egypt and Turkey than from images of the latest bombing in Baghdad? Don't we identify more with Sharon LaFraniere's New York Times portraits of village customs in Malawi and Mozambique than with dry reports about the grim toll of AIDS across Africa? If newspapers stop covering the world, I fear we will end up with a microscopic elite reading Foreign Affairs and a numbed nation watching terrorist bombings flash briefly among a barrage of commentary, crawls and celebrity gossip.

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