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From AJR,   December/January 2011  issue

Foreign Correspondents: Who Covers What   

The number of foreign correspondents employed by U.S. newspapers has decreased markedly since the last AJR census, taken in 2003.


By Priya Kumar
Priya Kumar (2priyak@gmail.com) is a Washington, D.C.-based writer.     

The number of foreign correspondents employed by U.S. newspapers has decreased markedly since the last AJR census, taken in 2003. A count largely conducted in July shows that 10 newspapers and one chain employ 234 correspondents (including one vacancy) to serve as eyes and ears to global events. In 2003, AJR found 307 full-time correspondents and pending assignments. The current list includes a combination of staffers and contract writers, who were not included in 2003. They were counted this time to reflect changes in the industry. If only full-time correspondents were listed, the current total would be far lower. Stringers are not included in the tally.

The list and interactive map below include domestically based reporters who spend a portion of their time covering foreign news, but they are not included in the total. The same is true for reporters who are based in the U.S. and cover border issues.

Twenty papers and companies have cut their foreign bureaus entirely since AJR conducted its first census of foreign correspondents in 1998. Only six papers and chains dedicate reporters in Washington, D.C., to cover the foreign affairs beat, down from 13 in 2003.

The current list includes the Associated Press and Bloomberg News, which were not included in previous AJR surveys.

As for television networks, where airtime for foreign news has declined dramatically over the years, the numbers do not precisely reflect the reality of staffing levels. Some networks this year were more open in their responses than others, so a direct comparison to previous surveys is impossible. NBC distinguished between full-fledged bureaus and editorial presence, listing 14 bureaus and an editorial presence in four other countries. "Editorial presence" means that the organization has at least one representative, who may be a staffer, on contract or a freelancer. In the 2003 count, the networks listed 42 bureaus with full-time correspondents. This year, ABC and CNN declined to distinguish between bureaus and editorial presence, simply listing the cities where they have some representation. CBS declined to provide any information.

One bright spot is the growing international presence of NPR, which has 17 foreign bureaus. NPR had six foreign bureaus a decade ago.


View Census of Foreign Correspondents in a larger map. Click on a blue icon to see which news organizations have a presence in that city.

The Overseas Press Corps

[First Number reflects current bureau total, with 2003 total in parentheses]

Albuquerque Journal 0 (0)
  • Border issues: Rene Romo
Arizona Republic 1 (1)
  • Mexico City: Chris Hawley (half-paid by USA Today) *Only counted once in overall total of correspondents
  • Border issues: Dennis Wagner
Christian Science Monitor 7 (7)
  • Baghdad: Jane Arraf (Cost of bureau shared with McClatchy)
  • Beijing: Peter Ford
  • Istanbul: Scott Peterson
  • Johannesburg: Scott Baldauf
  • Mexico City: Sara Miller Llana
  • New Delhi: Ben Arnoldy
  • Paris: Bob Marquand
Dallas Morning News 1 (4)
  • Mexico City: Alfredo Corchado
El Paso Times
  • No foreign correspondents, but extensive coverage of Mexico.

Houston Chronicle 1 (3)

  • Mexico City: Dudley Althaus
  • Border issues/drug war: Dane Schiller

Los Angeles Times 13 (24)

  • Baghdad: Ned Parker
  • Beijing: Barbara Demick, Megan Stack, David Pierson
  • Beirut: Borzou Daragahi
  • Cairo: Jeffrey Fleishman
  • Islamabad: Alex Rodriguez
  • Jerusalem: Edmund Sanders
  • Johannesburg: Robyn Dixon
  • Kabul: Laura King
  • London: Henry Chu
  • Mexico City: Ken Ellingwood, Tracy Wilkinson
  • Moscow: Vacant
  • New Delhi: Mark Magnier
  • Seoul: John Glionna
McClatchy 4 (Knight Ridder 8)

  • Beijing: Tom Lasseter
  • Cairo: Hannah Allam (spent half year in Baghdad in a bureau shared with Christian Science Monitor)
  • Kabul: Dion Nissenbaum
  • Mexico City: Tim Johnson

Miami Herald

  • No foreign correspondents, but Jim Wyss, who is based in Miami, covers the northern tier of South America. The Herald listed 3 foreign bureaus in 2003.

New York Times 24 (27)

  • Baghdad: Steve Myers, Anthony Shadid, Timothy Williams, Nada Bakri
  • Beijing: Mike Wines, Ed Wong, Andrew Jacobs, Sharon LaFraniere, Ian Johnson
  • Beirut: Robert Worth
  • Berlin: Michael Slackman
  • Cairo: David Kirkpatrick
  • Caracas: Simon Romero
  • Dakar: Adam Nossiter
  • Hong Kong: Keith Bradsher
  • Islamabad: Jane Perlez, Sabrina Tavernise
  • Jakarta: Nori Onishi
  • Jerusalem: Ethan Bronner, Stephen Farrell, Isabel Kershner
  • Johannesburg: Barry Bearak, Celia Dugger
  • Kabul: Alissa Rubin, Carlotta Gall, Dexter Filkins, Rod Nordland, Rich Oppel
  • London: John Burns, Landon Thomas, Sarah Lyall
  • Mexico City: Randal Archibold, Damien Cave, Elisabeth Malkin
  • Moscow: Cliff Levy, Ellen Barry
  • Mumbai: Vikas Bajaj
  • Nairobi: Jeffrey Gettleman
  • New Delhi: James Yardley, Lydia Polgreen, Hari Kumar
  • Paris: Steven Erlanger, Alan Cowell
    (Based in International Herald Tribune office), Marlise Simons, John Tagliabue
  • Rome: Rachel Donadio
  • São Paulo: Alexei Barrionuevo
  • Shanghai: David Barboza
  • Tokyo: Martin Fackler, Hiroko Tabuchi (IHT)

San Antonio Express-News 0 (1)

  • Border issues: Lynn Brezosky

San Diego Union-Tribune 1 (1)

  • Tijuana: Sandra Dibble
  • Border issues: Morgan Lee

San Jose Mercury News

  • No foreign correspondents, but John Boudreau covers the Pacific Rim.

USA Today 5 (4)

  • Beijing: Calum MacLeod, Sunny Yang
  • Hong Kong: Kathy Chu
  • London: Traci Watson
  • Kabul: William M. Welch
  • Mexico City: Chris Hawley (Shared with Arizona Republic) *Only counted once in overall total of correspondents

Wall Street Journal 35 (36)

  • Franchise staff based abroad totals 129. Franchise staff comprises the news departments of the U.S., Asia and Europe editions of the Wall Street Journal and WSJ.com.
  • Baghdad
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Beirut
  • Berlin
  • Brussels
  • Buenos Aires
  • Dubai
  • Frankfurt
  • Hong Kong
  • Istanbul
  • Jakarta
  • Jerusalem
  • Johannesburg
  • Kabul
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Lagos
  • London
  • Manila
  • Mexico City
  • Moscow
  • Mumbai
  • New Delhi
  • Paris
  • Prague
  • Rio de Janiero
  • Rome
  • São Paulo
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Taipei
  • Tokyo
  • Toronto
  • Zurich

Washington Post 17 (20)

  • Baghdad: Ernesto Londoño, Liz Sly
  • Beijing: (Andrew Higgins in accreditation
    process)
  • Berlin: Michael Birnbaum (Opening Jan. 1)
  • Bogotá: Juan Forero
  • Cairo: Leila Fadel (Opening Jan. 1)
  • Islamabad: Karin Brulliard
  • Jerusalem: Janine Zacharia
  • Kabul: Joshua Partlow
  • London: Anthony Faiola
  • Mexico City: William Booth
  • Moscow: Kathy Lally, Will Englund
  • Nairobi: Sudarsan Raghavan
  • New Delhi: Emily Wax, Rama Lakshmi
  • Paris: Ed Cody
  • Shanghai: Keith Richburg
  • Tehran: Thomas Erdbrink
  • Tokyo: Chico Harlan

Associated Press

  • Global staff of 3,700 employees working in 304 locations in 116 countries; 2,400 are newsgatherers. Six international regional editing hubs:
  • Bangkok: Asia-Pacific desk
  • Cairo: Middle East desk
  • Johannesburg: sub-Saharan Africa desk
  • London: Europe-Africa desk
  • Mexico City: Latin America desk
  • New York: North America desk

Bloomberg News

  • Global staff of more than 2,300 in 146 bureaus (101 are foreign) in 72 countries. Content syndicated to more than 450 media outlets in 66 countries with a combined circulation of 78 million people. A breakdown of the number of correspondents based abroad was not available.

Americas

  • Bogotá
  • Brasília
  • Buenos Aires
  • Calgary
  • Caracas
  • Lima
  • Mexico City
  • Monterrey
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Quito
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Santiago
  • São Paulo
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

Europe/Mideast/Africa

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Abuja
  • Accra
  • Almaty
  • Amman
  • Amsterdam
  • Ankara
  • Athens
  • Belfast
  • Belgrade
  • Berlin
  • Bratislava
  • Brussels
  • Bucharest
  • Budapest
  • Cairo
  • Cape Town
  • Copenhagen
  • Doha
  • Dubai
  • Dublin
  • Dusseldorf
  • Edinburgh
  • Frankfurt
  • Geneva
  • Helsinki
  • Istanbul
  • Jerusalem
  • Johannesburg
  • Kiev
  • Kuwait
  • Lagos
  • Lisbon
  • Ljubljana
  • London
  • Luxembourg
  • Madrid
  • Manama
  • Milan
  • Moscow
  • Munich
  • Nairobi
  • Nicosia
  • Oslo
  • Paris
  • Prague
  • Riga
  • Riyadh
  • Rome
  • Sofia
  • St. Petersburg
  • Stockholm
  • Tallinn
  • Tel Aviv
  • Toulouse
  • Vienna
  • Vilnius
  • Warsaw
  • Zagreb
  • Zurich

Asia/Asia Pacific

  • Auckland
  • Bangalore
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Canberra
  • Colombo
  • Hanoi
  • Hong Kong
  • Islamabad
  • Jakarta
  • Karachi
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Manila
  • Melbourne
  • Mumbai
  • New Delhi
  • Osaka
  • Perth
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Sydney
  • Taipei
  • Tokyo
  • Wellington

TELEVISION AND RADIO

NBC 14

  • Baghdad
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Beirut
  • Cairo
  • Germany
  • Havana
  • Islamabad
  • Jordan*
  • Kabul
  • London
  • Moscow
  • Saudi Arabia*
  • South Korea*
  • Syria*
  • Tel Aviv
  • Tehran
  • Tokyo

* Editorial presence, not full-fledged bureau.

ABC

  • Baghdad
  • Beijing
  • Buenos Aires
  • Dubai
  • Havana
  • Hong Kong
  • Islamabad
  • Jerusalem
  • Johannesburg
  • Kabul
  • London
  • Mexico City
  • Moscow
  • Nairobi
  • New Delhi
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Seoul
  • Tokyo

Would not distinguish between full-time bureaus and editorial presence.

CBS

  • The Los Angeles Times reported that as of January 2010, cutbacks would leave bureaus in London and Tokyo and small offices in half a dozen other cities. A CBS News spokesperson said the network has a broader foreign presence, but wouldn't provide details.

CNN

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Amman
  • Baghdad
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Beirut
  • Berlin
  • Bogota
  • Buenos Aires
  • Cairo
  • Chennai
  • Dubai
  • Havana
  • Hong Kong
  • Islamabad
  • Istanbul
  • Jakarta
  • Jerusalem
  • Johannesburg
  • Kabul
  • Lagos
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Mexico City
  • Moscow
  • Mumbai
  • Nairobi
  • New Delhi
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Santiago
  • Seoul
  • Tokyo

Would not distinguish between full-time bureaus and editorial presence.

Fox 6 (6)

  • Baghdad
  • Islamabad
  • Jerusalem
  • Kabul
  • London
  • Rome

NPR 17

  • Baghdad
  • Beijing
  • Berlin
  • Bogotá*
  • Cairo
  • Dakar
  • Istanbul
  • Jakarta
  • Jerusalem
  • Johannesburg*
  • Kabul
  • London
  • Mexico City
  • Moscow
  • Nairobi
  • New Delhi
  • Islamabad
  • Rome
  • Shanghai

* Part-time correspondents not counted in the total.