Pulitzer Center Update

Is Foreign Correspondence Vanishing?

Megan Wollerton, American University student, for Pulitzer Center

As students of journalism in the United States, we often hear that our world is shrinking. With overseas bureaus closing by the day in favor of a few individuals who bring new meaning to the word "multi-task", staff positions are surely an endangered species. While our professors are charged with the job of painting a realistic picture for those of us stubbornly forging ahead, it is difficult not to feel overwhelmed.

That's where Jason Motlagh comes in. A freelance correspondent who works with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Jason attended our class yesterday afternoon and brought inspiration and an honest, but hopeful assessment of the challenges facing journalists today.

With no formal journalism education, Jason began by writing clips for free and cold-calling foreign editors. Now covering the Maoist insurgency in India, he explained that a combination of creativity, flexibility and drive are absolutely necessary as a foreign correspondent.

For all of the times we are reminded of the "vanishing foreign correspondent", what we need more than ever is to hear from real-life journalists, like Jason Motlaugh who made it work. Newly motivated, we can look beyond the naysayer and instead think about what it often overlooked: our own agency.