Foreign correspondents work for news wire services, such as the Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP; major metropolitan newspapers; news magazines; and television and radio networks. These media companies have bureaus in the largest cities in the United States and other countries.
College graduates have a couple of paths to choose between on their way to becoming a foreign correspondent. They can decide to experience what being a foreign correspondent is like immediately by going to another country, perhaps one whose language is familiar to them, and freelancing or working as a stringer. That means writing stories and offering them to anyone who will buy them. This method can be hard to accomplish financially in the short run but can pay off substantially in the long run.
Another path is to take the traditional route of a journalist and try to get hired upon graduation at any newspaper, radio station, or television station you can. It helps in this regard to have worked at a summer internship during your college years. Recent college graduates generally get hired at small newspapers or media stations, although a few major metropolitan dailies will employ top graduates for a year with no guarantee of their being kept on afterward. After building experience at a small paper or station, a reporter can try to find work at progressively bigger ones. Reporters who find employment at a major metropolitan daily that uses foreign correspondents can work their way through the ranks to become one. Some foreign correspondents believe that working for a wire service may allow a reporter to be promoted to correspondent faster, but also believe that more freedom can be found working for a newspaper.
Foreign correspondents can advance to other locations that are more appealing to them or that offer a bigger challenge. Or they can return home to become columnists, editorial writers, editors, or network news directors.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings
Participate in internships to obtain experience and make networking contacts. The Dow Jones News Fund and other professional organizations provide information on internships at their Web sites.
Follow the careers of well-known foreign correspondents on Twitter or through other media sources to learn more about the types of topics they cover and their reporting styles.