The FP Passport Blog links to a new report by Jill Carroll (the CS Monitor who was kidnapped in Iraq last year) about the latest endangered species: foreign correspondents.  Carroll notes that the numbers of foreign correspondents, the reporters that live and report from overseas, have dropped significantly both among television networks and newspapers.  Many news managers are cutter down on their foreign bureaus in order to cut costs, but a lot of valuable insight is being cut, too.

As Carroll writes: "The quality of the information provided by the news media determines to a large extent the quality of the national debate and resulting policies. Having many sources of good quality, in-depth, insightful, well-informed foreign reporting is essential to keeping the national debate vigorous and churning. This moral argument won’t hold sway in many boardrooms, but the financial incentives to produce good quality foreign news should. Hopefully financial decision makers will have the foresight to realize they are drastically undervaluing foreign news coverage and have the wisdom to hang onto and invest in this valuable asset."

Carroll’s report shows that 249 total foreign newspaper correspondents were employed in 2006 (down from 2000 and 2002).  A whopping 109 of those correspondents are employed by the Wall Street Journal!!–which leaves a sparse 141 foreign correspondents at all the other newspapers in the country.  The LA Times comes in second to the Wall Street Journal with 30 foreign correspondents.  As news consumers, we should do what we can to show news producers that we care about good foreign affairs coverage, which means foreign affairs coverage at least sometimes from foreign bureau.

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