Foreign correspondents travel the world to investigate and report on current events and news stories on location. They may be stationed in one area for an extended period of time or change locations frequently.
Foreign correspondents collect sources, conduct interviews, and perform other research to present a story either on television or radio or in print.
Once all the facts have been gathered, a foreign correspondent writes the story and checks it for accuracy in substance as well as form.
Along with strong written and oral communication skills, aspiring foreign correspondents should have excellent critical thinking and analytical reasoning abilities as well as a keen eye for detail and curiosity about the world around them. The desire to travel to faraway destinations is critical.
To pursue a career as a foreign correspondent, a candidate should earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, English, or a similar discipline. A program approved by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications would provide excellent preparation for this career path.
A master’s or doctorate degree in journalism or a related discipline can help give a job seeker an edge in this competitive field.
Helpful coursework includes broadcast news production, investigative reporting, ethics in journalism, mass communications, news writing, and photojournalism. Knowledge of at least one foreign language is also a plus as is prior experience at a school or local newspaper, magazine, or other media organization.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that median annual wages of reporters and correspondents in May 2008 were $34,850 with the middle 50% earning between $25,760 and $52,160.