Thursday, 4 October 2007

ABC to send Digital Reporters Abroard

ABC News announced today that it would dispatch digital reporters to seven foreign cities, a move meant to give the network a broader global presence without incurring the cost of opening full-fledged bureaus.

The reporters will serve as their own producers, bookers and assistants, filing reports for all ABC News platforms. Two people will be posted in India, and one each in South Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, United Arab Emirates and Kenya.

“We don’t need old-style bureaus with a bricks and mortar office, editing suites, and full-time camera crews,” said Marcus Wilford, the London bureau chief for ABC News. “We can shoot video, edit it and feed it over the Internet now.”

The reporters will be supported by ABC’s five fully-staffed bureaus (in London, Moscow, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Beijing) and by the network’s partnerships with other news organizations.

ABC and other networks have been cutting back on their overseas infrastructures for decades, as have newspapers and other news outlets. Their budgets have benefited, even if viewers and readers probably haven’t.

For the latest generation of journalists, conducting interviews, operating a camera, editing video clips and filing stories have turned into common skills. The old norm — of four-person network news crews — is rapidly growing extinct.

One of the new ABC digital reporters, Dana Hughes, formerly an investigative producer, was in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday looking for an apartment, which will also serve as her office.

“I’ve been given the assignment to, more or less, cover the entire continent of Africa,” she said by phone from Nairobi.

Ms. Hughes started gathering news before she even arrived in Kenya. The musician John Legend was on her flight, en route to support a United Nations project and record a music video, and he consented to an interview once the plane landed in Nairobi.

Mr. Wilford of ABC News said he saw this round of foreign posts as the first phase of a broader deployment, adding that he would especially like to add a reporter in Tehran.

Mr. Wilford recalled that when he was hired by ABC News 20 years ago, the news division’s Paris bureau had three camera crews, three producers, two correspondents, drivers, and a chef in a house with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Today the ABC News presence in Paris consists of a lone staff producer.

“It was a palatial establishment,” Mr. Wilford said, “and it wasn’t sustainable.”
Source: New York Times
By Brian Stelter

No comments: