Foreign Correspondent

The life and work of the Foreign Correspondent have a strong appeal for most young men and women in journalism. To cover the world’s news from China to Peru, from Moscow to Cape Town; to send back dispatches under date-lines from «faraway places with strange-sounding names» is the secret dream of many a cub-reporter with which he spends dull hours in the local police court or council chamber.

The work of the Foreign Correspondent is something much wider than the mere reporting of events. He must give his readers at home a complete background service explaining and interpreting the news, providing eye-witness descriptions of scenes and happenings, conjuring up the atmosphere in which events are taking place, mailing informative articles periodically which will make newspaper readers familiar with the background to men and affairs. The journalist who wishes to make a success as an «Ambassador of the Press» must be a first-rate general reporter — he must have the nose for the news and a keenly developed sense of news values, he must be a good listener who can get other people to favour him with their confidences, he must be a good mixer — able to be all things to all men.

The Work of a Foreign Correspondent

The beginner to journalism who is determined to make accreditation as a Foreign Correspondent his aim, must begin by tackling the problem of languages. He should know at least two, apart from his own. Which two will depend, of course, on the part of the world where he is particularly anxious to serve. French and German used to be the minimum equipment of the European correspondent, but it is possible that Russian, rather than German, may be increasingly valuable in the future.

It must be remembered that to know a language, in the sense that a Foreign Correspondent must know it, means a great deal more than a nodding acquaintance with grammar and the ability to pick one’s way through a selected text or two. It means to be able to write the language fluently, to be able to take down speeches in shorthand, to follow conversations through the distorting medium of the telephone, and the like.

The would-be foreign representative must study world geography and get a thorough knowledge of modern history and current affairs, besides making a special study of the history, manners, customs, political system etc., of those countries where he hopes to work. If he is to write authoritatively on foreign affairs he must himself be an authority.

But first and foremost he is, and must remain, a reporter, seeking and reporting news.


привлекательность, очарование
to appeal
привлекать, нравиться
to cover the news
освещать новости
news dispatch
a cub-reporter
начинающий репортер (жаргон)
to give a complete background service
дать исчерпывающее разъяснение подоплеки событий
to provide eye-witness descriptions
описывать события как очевидец
to conjure up the atmosphere
воссоздавать атмосферу
an informative article
содержательная статья
a first-rate general reporter
первоклассный репортер, выполняющий общие задания
a nose for the news
«нюх» на новости ,
a keenly developed sense of news values
остро развитое чувство значимости новостей
to favour somebody with one’s confidence
оказать кому-л. доверие
a good mixer
общительный человек;
a bad mixer
необщительный человек
стремящийся к чему-л., желающий чего-л.;
anxious for success (for peace)
стремящийся к успеху (к миру);
a nodding acquaintance with grammar
«шапочное» знакомство с грамматикой
авторитет, специалист, знаток
first and foremost
прежде всего


1.  Read the text consulting the notes.

a) Answer the following questions:

  1. Why does the work of the foreign correspondent appeal to young men and women in journalism?
  2. Why should the foreign correspondent know foreign languages?
  3. What other subjects should he know well?

b)    Sum up what the text has to say on each of the following points:

  1. The job of the foreign correspondent.
  2. The qualities and qualifications of the foreign correspondent.
  3. Knowledge of foreign languages.

c)    Answer some more questions about the text, working in pairs:

Why is it necessary

  1. to conjure up the atmosphere in which the events are taking place?
  2. to give readers at home a complete background service?
  3. to explain and interpret the news from faraway places?
  4. to write informative articles?
  5. to obtain a thorough knowledge of the history, geography and political system of the country?

2. Read the text with the help of the notes which follow

Mitsuko Shimomura Breaks New Ground for Japanese Women

She joined the Asahi Weekly Magazine 10 years ago. She was the only female writer on the staff.

For eight months she has been a roving correspondent in the United States for Asahi Shimbun, one of Tokyo’s leading daily newspapers, with a circulation of 7.5 million. It is a lonely prominence. Shimomura, at the age of 41, is believed to be the only Japanese woman ever to have become a foreign correspondent. «I’m simply working my head off. I keep moving, moving, moving.» At the moment, Shimomura is doing the kind of important interviews that have made her famous in Japan. The subject is often economics because that is her field of expertise.

She majored in economics at Keio University in Tokyo and received a master’s degree in economics at New York University in 1964. Her first six months in the United States were a nightmare, she said, because of her faulty English. She would dream that English books were tumbling down on her, she said, and she invariably awoke with a scream. Finally, there was «a kind of melting», and the English came to her.

She thinks her drive comes from her mother, who became a doctor in the days when female physicians were rare in Japan.

Her mother was the fifth graduate of the Tokyo Women’s Medical College. «My father, who’s a business executive, wanted me to become a medical doctor, too, but I just wanted to write so much. At that time there was no opportunity — it was just like a dream.»

Her break came at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Tokyo, where Asahi Shimbun hired her as an English interpreter. She interpreted for the newspaper’s reporters and interviewed athletes. In 1965 the newspaper took her on as a staff writer for This Is Japan, its English-language annual publication. In 1971 she was transferred to the Weekly Asahi: «I had to start writing in Japanese again, and it wasn’t easy. But I worked up gradually from little things to pieces on social changes among women, new economic developments and labour relations. I was the first woman in that office. The editors didn’t know what was going on.»

Although courteously treated by the men in her office, she said she felt «alone and isolated.» Of Asahi’s 3,000 reporters and editors, only seven at the Tokyo headquarters6 are women, with 20 more women in outlying bureaus. Once a year there is a «women’s network» luncheon at Asahi. The group’s greatest achievement, she said, was in obtaining equality between men’s and women’s wages.

Soon after becoming a foreign correspondent, Shimomura went to Copenhagen for the UN conference on women, then covered an OPEC conference in London. But above all she likes to do lengthy, one-person interviews.

Speaking about her interviewing manner she said: «I listen, I am very low-key. I want to let people say what they believe in. I want them to trust me so they will open their hearts.»

She does not believe she will ever become Westernized or Americanized. «My instincts and my ways of thinking are deeply Japanese. I want to keep it that way. It makes me a better journalist.»


a roaming correspondent
разъездной корреспондент
to work one’s head off
работать, не покладая рук
a master’s degree
ученая степень магистра (присуждается университетом лицам, успешно завершившим по крайней мере год учебы и исследовательской работы после окончания университета)
энергия, напористость
his style has a drive
у него энергичный стиль
штаб, главное управление
outlying bureaus
отделы, находящиеся не в главном управлении
«women’s network» luncheon
торжественный обед, организованный для женщин, работающих в газете
I am very low-key
я держусь в тени

3. Imagine you are interviewing Shimomura.

a) Formulate questions. Work in pairs:

  1. When/join/the Asahi Weekly Magazine;
  2. How long/be/a roving correspondent/United States/Asahi Shimbun;
  3. What kind of newspaper/be/Asahi Shimbun;
  4. What/be/the circulation/Asahi Shimbun;
  5. How many women/work/foreign correspondents/Japan;
  6. What/be/subject/Shimomura’s interviews;
  7. What university/graduate;
  8. What subject/receive/master’s degree;
  9. What university/receive/a master’s degree;
  10. When/hire/English interpreter;
  11. What newspaper/hire/English interpreter;
  12. Whom/interpret for;
  13. When/taken on/staff writer;
  14. What kind of publication/be/This Is Japan;
  15. What language/write in;
  16. When/transferred to/the Weekly Asahi;
  17. How many reporters/editors/be/the Weekly Asahi;
  18. How many women/work/Tokyo headquarters;
  19. What kind of journalistic job/prefer.

b)    Quickly look through the alternatives and mark the one  which is nearest in meaning to the word or phrase given

1. the field of expertise- a)    the place of experiment
b)    the problem researched
c)    the province of knowledge
2. faulty English — a)    well spoken English
b)    Engish with mistakes
c)    easily understood English
3. a break- a)   opportunity
b)    a nervous stress
c)    an end

c)    Sum up what the text has to say on each of the following points:

  1. The details of the career of Mitsuko Shimomura.
  2. Her educational background,
  3. Her family
  4. Women in Japanese journalism.
  5. The professional qualities of Mitsuko Shimomura.

d)    What do you think is the main idea of the article?

Give arguments supporting your viewpoint. Summarise the text.
Look through the text «Work of the Foreign Correspondent» and state whether the text about Shimomura

a) illustrates some viewpoints expressed in it;
b) contradicts some of the viewpoints.

4. Here are some quotations to think over and discuss. Write short essays giving your arguments for and against

  • It is the delight in telling somebody something, it seems to me, that makes a man go into journalism and thereafter constitutes his personal reward.

  • You cannot know too much or have too many useful qualities to be a good journalist.

  • The TV men are certainly more important than the newspapermen, which is undoubtedly true but they are certainly more noisy.

  • I cannot imagine any more rewarding way of life than journalism. 1 must admit 1 am in no position to speak of the advantages and disadvantages of other professions, since I have never worked outside journalism; but after 34 years in journalism I am still fascinated by the birth of the daily newspaper. Every day is a new day. Yesterday’s news is history.

  • When he retired in 1977 after 33 years with the New York Times, including posts as a foreign correspondent, managing editor, and chief of the Washington bureau, Clifton Daniel said, «There’s no profession that offers you more variety in life or more excitement.»

  • As much as any other field, modern journalism offers the stimulation of action, the challenge of discovery, the sense of creativity.

  • There are two great characteristics that make news work worthwhile. Fjrst, journalists are forced to keep learning, to enter new worlds, to see life from yet another perspective. Second, they are supposed to say what things really are.

  • The Nineteenth Century was the era of the novelist, the Twentieth is the era of the journalist

  • One of the editors sums up what he considers the minimum requirements for a journalist: a thorough education, sound training, and discipline; familiarity with basic skills of the journalist; a deep respect for one’s personal and professional integrity.

  • Most journalists find their work interesting and rewarding on the ‘ whole. They face new situations every day. They have chances to meet important and interesting people and deal with vital social and political issues. They get pleasure from doing a public service, however small their contribution. While they work constantly under deadline pressures, they consider this to be part of «being in the action». Most journalists develop a feeling of camaraderie toward their colleagues, of belonging to the news fraternity.

  • Editors and other experts have cited many qualities that go to make a good journalist. Some say curiosity, a «nose for news». Others say integrity and courage, or vitality, or diligence. Still others say an ability to write with style and a disciplined mind to understand and relate the complex issues of modern times.

  • I shouldn’t worry too much whether you have this or that quality, let alone a couple of dozen of them. The chief question is. whether the idea of being a reporter attracts you.

  • It is fairly safe to say that the journalist who is most likely to get to the top is he who is a good, all-round man and at the same time has made himself something of an expert in one or two special directions. He must know a little about a lot, and a lot about a little.

  • I can testify, however, that it is not essential to be an aggressive, fire-breathing extrovert to become a reporter. I myself was and still am the shy type, uneasy in the presence of the loud, the muscular, and the menacing. Even so I got a job as a reporter too. Such a meek fellow takes on new stature and prestige when he can say, «I’m from the News.» For now a powerful organization stands behind him.

  • Compared to men, then, women in journalism are few, and the road is harder for them. But there is no doubt about it. Some of the best newspa¬permen in the business are women.

  • A journalist has a choice of three basic roles to play in the news business. He or she can be a reporter; an editor who edits and otherwise processes the news gathered by the reporter; or a supervising editor who manages the overall editorial operation.

  • What you do every day is use your intellect and your talents to create something that is new and unique to you.