Borders closed: How the Covid-19 Pandemic has haltered Foreign Correspondence.
With much of international travel being banned, and flights an almost no go zone. The world of Foreign Correspondence found itself in a state of confusion, and practically no ability to reach the areas it needed too.
Before the year that was 2020, and Covid-19 was a thing, foreign correspondence was dictated by journalists exploring war torn areas- like Afghanistan and Syria. Foreign correspondents are responsible for providing information, and news from their set location- for example Katty Kay, is the BBC’s reporter from Washington DC; meaning she details all the happenings from the US Government, The White House and any occurrences in Washington. Foreign correspondents are some of the most important journalists; as they essentially keep the world connected and provide news from some of the most isolated, and dangerous parts of the world.
However, as we are we aware, the Coronavirus Pandemic changed the world of foreign correspondence significantly. Firstly, journalists are not easily able to travel between countries- or even work in the countries they were working in originally. At the start of the outbreak, foreign corespondents- that lived and worked in China- were forced out of the country; Australian reporter Chris Buckley, was forced out of China after working and living their for 24 years in May of 2020. He is the 19th foreign journalist expelled or forced to leave China in the past 12 months, and the second Australian- taken from ABC News, Australia.
So, with this changing field. How did journalists overcome the obstacles? Firstly, not all journalists were asked to leave the country they reside and report in. Many were still able to do their job in a safer ‘socially-distanced’ way. For example, ABC Australia’s London correspondent Samantha Hawley was still reporting from London during the Pandemic; as seen with her article ‘Carry on Covid’ which discusses how local pubs are being affected by the lockdown’s here in the UK. For some journalists, that are unable to travel or their base is here in the UK- they have had to make significant changes. Foreign Corespondent Christina Lamb, detailed that she has had to make significant changes to the way she goes about her journalism- ‘Most of the interviews are by FaceTime and I miss the personal contact but also thank god for technology!’ (Taken from University of Oxford, Foreign Correspondent in Lockdown). Evidently, the ability to conduct journalism through different forms, like Social Media and technology, has allowed foreign correspondents to still research and find out what is going on within their areas of correspondence. However, foreign correspondents are often the first people we turn to when wanting the latest breaking news, yet with having to conduct interviews online- there could be a delay in their breaking news.
As we can see, technology has paved the way for foreign correspondents to complete their job during the pandemic. BBC and other news networks have already taken much of their news online, and to social media. Therefore, many foreign correspondents would already be aware of this and would find much of their news has transitioned this.
When reflecting, I have realised that finding news from away from the UK is simple in the face of social media. Twitter feeds are constantly updating with new information from around the world.