Being a foreign affairs geek, the decline of overseas bureaus has long been a concern.
Yes, the web could mean that information from overseas is easier to access and verify remotely than ever before (see the success of the Dublin-based Storyful in rapidly verifying UK from all over the world), but having your own trusted people on the ground? Surely that’s an advantage?
Well, yes and no. A correspondent can’t be everywhere at once. In a fast-moving situation like the one ongoing in Ukraine, with so many unverified stories and deliberate falsehoods and fabrications being set up, this becomes even more of a problem.
And so the just-announced Ukraine Desk collaboration between Vice, Quartz, Mashable, Digg, Mother Jones, and BreakingNews.com – pooling their on the ground resources to improve the reliability of their information – is a fascinating one, which I’ll be following with interest (both in the subject and the process).
Could collaborative newsgathering and media coalitions be a way to break down the economic challenges of having reporters on the ground?