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Friday, February 29, 2008

Foreign correspondence, Medve-whatever, female blogger contest and more

In college, my plans were to become a foreign correspondent. And then I met my husband and, well, my perspective changed a bit. But I still fantasize about living abroad and writing for publications. So I was saddened, though hardly shocked, to read this piece about the declining future for foreign correspondents by a Dutch journalist.
Today's Dutch foreign correspondents report enjoying their work -- although they have to work harder and provide material for a multitude of media. Also, since most of them are freelancers, heavy competition for exposure in the major media has undermined their negotiating position.
He writes about how low wages, competition and the need to produce multimedia has impacted the profession. I don't think producing multimedia is bad, but the low wages are clearly a problem.

How to survive? I decided to quit the foreign correspondent business and have started a speakers' bureau. In financial terms, that's a bit of a different league. Today, many foreign correspondents survive because their partner has a decent job.

I'm not sure that is a sustainable strategy for quality foreign coverage.

Hardly indeed.

How will history view Vladimir Putin?
Victor Erofeyev believes history will look kindly on Putin In his New York Times column, he wrote that in addition to throwing out proponents of democracy in Russia, Putin also did away with the oligarchs, which the Russians really hated. He is credited with bringing about more prosperity and more peace to Chechnya. Where he failed, according to Russian author Erofeyev, was in his "longing to make Russia the successor to the Soviet Union."
This gave rise to the imperial discourse that so frightened neighboring countries, his defense of the Soviet Union’s aggressive foreign policy and the damage to Russia’s image in the world. What’s worse is that our next president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, whom President Putin chose as his heir as if he were a czar, will have to deal with the Russian weaknesses that were hidden from the population under propaganda slogans. The failure to modernize industry or agriculture, the growing corruption in government, the ubiquitous drunkenness, the record numbers of murders and suicides, the terrible state of Russian health care and the problems that come with a shrinking population will fall on Mr. Medvedev’s young shoulders.
We'll be watching Medve-whatever to see what he does.

Favorite female blogger?
I'm not schlepping for votes, but I think this is a worthwhile venture from the folks at Women's Voices Women Vote in honor of Women's History Month, which is March. You can vote for your favorite female blogger here .

H/T to Jill for sending this along.

Tip of the iceberg
As any good writer knows, much of what gets researched and reported doesn't get included in the final draft. That is by design and a hallmark of good writing. To wit:
"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water." — Ernest Hemingway
Word of the day
resonance: a quality of richness or variety d: a quality of evoking response

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