Jill Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor (best known for being kidnapped in 2006) has a working paper at the Shorenstein Center that everyone interested in either global affairs of the newspaper industry should read. It is titled Foreign News Coverage: The US Media's Undervalued Asset.
Media companies are cutting back on the numbers of foreign bureaus and correspondents as the newspaper and television news business face financial pressures. But they are making a financial miscalculation and missing an opportunity to capitalize on an asset that they appear to undervalue.
Good quality foreign news coverage is in fact in demand by readers and viewers. It adds significant value to a medium, but in ways that can’t always be directly measured by net profits. Higher quality employees, greater credibility and exclusive stories are all a result of having one’s own staff providing good quality foreign news coverage. These benefits strengthen the medium as an organization and when factored into a cost-benefit calculation, the costs associated with producing good quality foreign news coverage begin to seem like a bargain.
I plan on giving a more in-depth analysis of this trend and its consequences and a more thorough look at Carroll's paper, but for this week I am simply going to point readers in the direction of outlets once can go to in order to find foreign coverage. Here are five places, and and throughout the week I will add more.
The Christian Science Monitor
It is only fitting to start with Carrol's paper. The Monitor was founded in 1908 and is not a religious paper, though they have one religious article each issue. It is released Monday –Friday and is based in Boston. It has many foreign bureaus and is entirely dedicated to US and world news. It suffers little of the sensationalism of other papers and has s unique style that focuses on individuals to help readers understand the consequences of larger issues.
Featured article: Jill Carrol’s 11 part account of her capture.
Notable Contributors: Jill Carroll, Gail Russell
Council on Foreign Relations
This is what one might call the establishment place for US-centric foreign analysis. It's Foreign Affairs is the major element but its website is updated daily and has lots of information. Of course, this source needs to be understood for what it is: it views foreign policy from the lens of the United States. It is typically on critical of the US for strategic blunders, or engaging in policy that will jeopardize its geopolitical power. Still, this viewpoint can be very beneficial even for those, like me, who do not view foreign relations with this in mind. For example, its post-9-11 article called Grand Imperial Strategy, gives a hard look at the US plans for a permanent superpower. It does not do so in order to criticize it for being imperial, immoral insanity -- it merely calculates the plan to create a permanent hyper superpower in light of the end of the cold war and 9-11. It is especially valuable if one is looking for this kind of dry geopolitical analysis, and to know what the foreign policy establishment is thinking.
Featured Article: America’s Imperial Ambition
Notable Contributors: Some fellows include, Vali Nasr, Peter Beinart
Foreign Policy Magazine
This is funded by an endowment from Carnegie. It is published bi-monthly. Much of it is behind a pay wall, but its blog, Passport is updated daily.
I find there views to be lacking in several ways. One, it takes its red-faced US exceptional ism to absurd heights. It simply cannot be trusted to give a measured look at countries that are viewed as enemies: Venezuela, Iran etc.... But, despite its flaws, it is narrowly focused on Foreign Policy.
Featured Article: How to Save Iraqi Kurdistan From Itself
Notable Contributers: Christopher Hitchens, Blake Hounsell, Mike Boyer
This web site is without a doubt the best Iraq related site around. It is updated constantly and covers everything from major sectarian strife to stories that are barely covered elsewhere: in short, if it happens in Iraq, IraqSlogger will report it. Their access to information is so good that they even offer a premium service to those in Iraq to help them know what areas are safe. It is called Iraq Safety Net and it is “targeted to meet the urgent need in Iraq for useful safety-related information, insightful advice, news, and independent analysis.”
Perhaps the best feature is their daily overview of the Iraq coverage in the US and in Iraqi newspapers. The summary of the Iraqi papers is a huge benefit since many of the Iraqi papers are in Arabic only.
Featured Article. Mentally Handicapped Children Used in Attacks
Notable Contributers: Robert Young Pelton, Nir Rosen, Zeyad, Amer Mohsen,
Blog: (the whole site is in a blog format)
This is the “Paper of Record” of Israel, and gives in-depth insight into the affairs in the Middle East. It has a liberal secular editorial page and is not afraid to criticize the hardline policies of the Israeli government -- though they do support free trade and privatization. One interesting feature is Rosner’s blog which highlights relevant US articles about Israel.
Featured Article: IDF chief: We must make draft dodgers 'blush with shame'
Notable Contributers: Gideon Levy, Yoel Marcus, Aluf Benn
Blogs: Rosner’s Blog
Part II: Broadcast