This course is designed to prepare students to work as print, broadcast, photo or video journalists, as well as documentary makers and social media producers, in a foreign country of their choice. We normally define “foreign correspondent” as any journalist working in a country not his/her own and filing information to an outlet outside that country. This course also provides research skills and training applicable in business, non-profit, non-governmental organizations.
“Foreign Correspondence” is modeled after a course I took in graduate school during the mid-1970s. This course launched my own career in foreign correspondence, laying the groundwork for an internship at the Mexico City News and, eventually, a full-time staff position as foreign correspondent/editor for United Press International (UPI) in Mexico City and later in New York City.
Since then, the craft of foreign correspondence has changed profoundly and continues to metamorphose nearly as quickly as we can adapt. The purpose of our craft, however, is unchanged: To provide our audience with information critical to the making of important decisions about their lives and the lives of the nation in which they live.
The work of foreign correspondents changes in sync with the nature of the world they cover. As nations and ideologies compete and struggle for dominance, and as technology transforms the means of communication, the nature of the foreign correspondents’ work changes as well. We examine this process.
We develop skills of critical thinking about how foreign news and information get to us, and through which gatekeepers and filters that news or information passes before arriving. We forge links with the men and women participating in the international dialogue that is foreign correspondence. We connect with American University graduates living overseas and supporting AU students with guidance and information about the countries they live in.
We believe that especially now, in a world made small by travel and communication, and embroiled in conflict and economic calamity, the exchange of info rmation is a worthy, even crucial, endeavor.
Thank you for your attention.
Professor Bill Gentile
School of Communication