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February 01, 2007


Thomas Crampton

Very much agree with the concept of eliminating the "us" and "them" divide in coverage of international and even domestic events. (An aside: I prefer your suggested "international correspondent" over "foreign" or "overseas".)

Whatever you call the person, they must give a perspective that brings a story to life for readers not living inside that world while also giving news to people within that world.

This is challenging. In writing for the IHT, I address both a local and global audience. I needed my coverage of SARS to tell people outside of Hong Kong what it was like to live through the outbreak, while I wanted to tell readers in Hong Kong information that was still fresh and useful.

Sometimes the two audiences simply cannot be addressed at the same time. The ability to bridge is a real talent.

Rebecca MacKinnon

Thanks Thomas for your perspective from the field. It's easy for somebody like me to make suggestions about how global journalism should change. Finding compelling ways to bridge between readers all over the place certainly isn't easy!

David Michael Berner

Bang on, Rebecca. Yet there is so much more.

In what passes for journalism in Canada, any public figure, particularly one elected to office, if gay or lesbian, is always identified as such. In most instances, the person's sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand. "Joe Glutz, the gay Member of Parliament from Shining Timbers, Alberta says we need less oil, not more." Huh?

And racial profiling is similarly rampant in our press, again to no reasonable end.

It is time for a moral and journalistic awakening, at least here in the tundra.

Thomas Crampton

I guess when it comes to "bridging", what that really means is telling stories in ways that are compelling to as many readers as possible.

In this definition, the use of a traditional newspaper or blog or vblog is just an accident of distribution choice.

This reminds me of a story a colleague told about a memo from a newly appointed editor of the NYT Metro desk. The memo presented a very complex set of objectives urging reporters to delve in deep to show new angles to the city in new ways. My friend, newly arrived at the paper, turned to a longtime reporter to ask what it meant to how the should work: "That memo? Don't worry, all it really means is that they want more good stories."

That, I suppose, is where the art and craft of writing comes out: The ability to produce good stories that speak to a wide audience. Some of it can be nurtured - and the wire services do a great job of it - but some people have it by nature - and we know them because they are our favorite authors.

In sum, I guess I see "bridging" as inextricably linked to the art and craft of good storytelling.

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