ABC News leads the way

in trying to bring foreign news to the U.S.

Good for ABC News. While news organizations are cutting staff and closing news bureaus all over the world, it looks like the network has found a way to keep reporters in the field in far-flung locations. They’re doing this by using new handheld communications technology, and keeping one-person bureaus open in several cities. The reporters will travel their region, using small DV cameras and editing-enabled laptops. According to the Hollywood Reporter,

The small offices, staffed by a reporter-producer with the latest in hand-held digital technology, cost a fraction of what it takes to run a full-time bureau. But the work they file will be featured not only on and ABC News Now but also occasionally on such ABC shows as “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America.”

The mini-bureaus are being opened in Seoul; Rio de Janeiro; Dubai; New Delhi and Mumbai, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Nairobi, Kenya…

They’ll report, write, shoot and edit their pieces, though they also will have support from others at ABC News. Most of the work will be uploaded via broadband to New York, though they will carry a portable satellite dish for the field where broadband isn’t available.

I could play the media critic card and complain that one-person teams covering entire countries—or even regions—doesn’t cut it as far as getting in-depth news from around the world, but reality is, the days of big bureaus are over. In lieu of not having anyone cover these regions, I’ll take single reporters, who live in the region and who understand the people and the culture, over a news blackout any day.

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Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.