Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Jill Carroll/Jordan Times connection: It's Worse than her critics imagine

David Paulin at "Big Carnival" has a very interesting explaination of how overseas reporting for the MSM works.
An extract:

............... Papers increasingly rely on freelancers and “contract” reporters; and the way that many people get those jobs is to do what Jill Carroll did: They go abroad and work at an English-language newspaper, get their feet wet, and then start freelancing. In the capitals of most non-English speaking countries, there’s usually one English-language paper. Whether it’s the Mexico City News, Prague Post, Caracas Daily Journal…or The Jordan Times. Papers such as these attract Brits and Americans with varying levels of journalism skills, all with the hope of leveraging their experience into a big-time reporting gig.

That’s the route Carroll took after getting laid off from The Wall Street Journal, where she’d worked as a reporting assistant. By her own account, Carroll always wanted to be a foreign correspondent. She figured that war in Iraq was inevitable; and wanting to have a piece of that action, she got a job at The Jordan Times, a stepping stone on the way to Baghdad.

Carroll learned a bit of Arabic, did some freelance reporting on the side and, basically, positioned herself for her eventual relocation to Iraq where reporters – including many freelance reporters – would be in demand. And like most freelance foreign correspondents, Carroll presumably hoped her freelancework would eventually lead to a full-time staff position. Nobody, after all, likes the irregular pay and lack of benefits that go hand in hand with freelance journalism. Read it all.

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