SPJ hosts international journalists to discuss news

International news reporters examined the changes in journalism and the importance of international news in an increasingly globalized world at a panel discussion Tuesday.

The event, hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists, was held in the Alumni House and had a small audience of about a dozen. The panelists, Jamie McIntyre, Chuck Holmes and Jose Lopez Zamorano, described their thoughts on the importance of international news.

“It’s so important to follow international news, and not just during a time of war,” said Lopez, a foreign correspondent in the United States for Notimex, a Mexican news agency. “You can’t just turn your face to the world when there is a crisis.”

A common theme throughout the discussion was the changing world of journalism. Panelists described the increasing reliance on and enhancements of technology and its effect on the profession.

“If one thing has changed the news, it’s the Internet. There is now more access to source material than ever before,” said CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre. “I don’t think coverage of the news is going down. Because of the Internet, far more people are clicking onto CNN.com than getting their news from other sources.”

GW alumnus Chuck Holmes is the foreign press editor of Cox Newspapers and said the new journalist must be a “jack-of-all-trades.”

“I was a graduate of GW in 1980, and they told us that in five years there would be no jobs for us (journalists),” he said. “Today, we are seeing the realization of that prediction. You can’t just be a print reporter anymore.”

McIntyre agreed and said CNN has changed its structure with the advent of technology.

“At CNN, they are able to spend a ton of money, but they do have limited resources,” McIntyre said. “At one time, a media network may have had an expensive bureau set up in Paris with secretaries and office space, etc. Now, there is a correspondent in Paris who may be working from his home, using his laptop to report back to headquarters.”

Lopez was able to offer a unique perspective as a foreigner covering U.S. politics. He said the issue of immigration is the most important one that Latin Americans are concerned with.

“(Mexicans) know America has jobs, and that few Americans want to do those jobs,” Lopez said. “They know by crossing the border that they will have a job.”

Holmes, who reported from Rwanda during the genocide there, discussed the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi native groups.

“I traveled with Tutsi rebels and they took me to see just piles of bodies. It was horrendous. They would show us village after village of carnage. And what scares me about that is that day after day of seeing that, you start to get used to it.”

The panelists concluded the evening with advice for the aspiring journalists in the audience.

McIntyre said, “there are more places to get jobs but more competition. There will always come a point when you think it’s never going to happen … and then it will.”

Junior Naomi Soto, a member of the executive board for SPJ, said, “I think it’s really great that we’re able to meet these (journalists) who report on international news. It was a great opportunity to get a real taste of the industry.”

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