> Even star foreign correspondents, if they
> come back to base, have to serve out their
> time in suburban counties,

Huh? Where in the world has this happened? What a daft, baseless observation.

Posted by: J. Luke Seemann at September 9, 2002 06:42 AM

And another:

> Break up the newspaper trade unions,
> which have power in the US they lost two
> decades ago in the UK.

This is rich. Power? My eye. All the viagra in the world could not give rise to the flaccid importance of the Newspaper Guild.

Posted by: J. Luke Seemann at September 9, 2002 07:00 AM

Luke -- It's not daft or baseless, that observation. It happened, quite specifically, to Nick's friend Peter Maass (if my memory serves) -- he went from doing terrific work for the Washington Post in Yugoslavia (culminating in his great book "Love They Neighbor"), to being assigned a suburban metro area upon return.

Another friend of mine did fine work in the Balkans for Newsweek, only to come home and be strapped to an utterly inconsequential rewrite desk in Manhattan. A third friend worked in Beirut & the Middle East for AP, then they told him to come home and sharpen his chops in the Phoenix bureau for a couple of years, if he wanted to continue working there.

What's actually more prevalent than that, is for stringers who work daily from war zones for UPI, Time, Newsweek, CNN, Times of London, whoever -- to come home and be offered *nothing*, by anyone, let alone the organizations they risked their lives for (without benefit of insurance, mind you). I know maybe a dozen people who can be described this way; at least half are now out of journalism.

News companies slash foreign bureaus, rely overmuch on reckless hard-working stringers, then reward them with zilcho. Maass was at least lucky enough to be offered a suburban staff job (Peter, if you're out there & I'm mis-representing you, please correct).

Posted by: Matt Welch at September 9, 2002 12:43 PM
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