Backpack Journalism Overseas

From AJR,   December/January 2011  issue

Broadcast organizations increasingly rely on smaller one- or two-person operations in most of their foreign bureaus, a strategy that makes sense when money is tight and technology reduces the need for large crews.

By Priya Kumar
Priya Kumar (2priyak@gmail.com) is a Washington, D.C.-based writer.

To broadcast live from Baghdad in 1991, reporters needed more than two dozen cases of equipment that took five people to operate, says former CNN senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre. When McIntyre filed his last live report for the network from the Iraqi capital in February 2008, he did so through a Webcam in a MacBook Pro via a satellite Internet transmitter.

“When you’re a TV reporter and you’re doing everything yourself, it does change the way you tell a story,” says McIntyre, now an adjunct professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. McIntyre covered the trial of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver and bodyguard, at Guantánamo Bay in summer 2008 without a crew. “I was doing a lot of the logistics myself, which meant I wasn’t spending as much time in the courtroom.”

Broadcast organizations increasingly rely on smaller one- or two-person operations in most of their foreign bureaus, a strategy that makes sense when money is tight and technology reduces the need for large crews. Most integrate multimedia tools into their reporting, but some journalists want to see the industry do more to capitalize on the unique storytelling opportunities that video journalism offers.

READ MORE at American Journalism Review

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