Often referred to as international news, foreign coverage, or foreign reporting, this is a subfield of journalism that covers events, stories and information from other countries. Traditionally, this is done by reporters based in foreign cities who regularly file stories to the news editor.
In modern times, the news of a country or region can come to a foreign news outlet through one of several channels: wire services, direct reports from foreign government agencies or the news media itself, and a host of other channels ranging from the Internet to satellite TV and radio.
The most common means of obtaining information from abroad is through a foreign correspondent, who is sent abroad by the news organization or agency to report on a particular event or subject. Generally, these reporters are full-time employees of the news source who cover their assigned territory (or continent) and usually stay in touch with their local sources on a regular basis.
There are a number of different types of foreign correspondents: some focus on covering specific topics, while others cover more specialized subjects such as sports or the arts. Correspondents are often assigned to countries with a high level of security and censorship, such as Iran, China or North Korea, or are sent to remote regions that have been recently hit by natural disasters.
Most news agencies have at least one foreign correspondent who works overseas, and in some cases, dozens of them. These correspondents have a number of important roles, from filing stories to gathering material in-country for the news editors.
For example, the best-known foreign news story of all time, the Iraq invasion, was covered by NPR’s Mideast editor Larry Kaplow during the war’s early days, and it remains a gripping and timely tale to this day. Other notable foreign-related news stories include the first successful telegrams and a hurricane that killed hundreds in Africa.