In an age where foreign news bureaus are steadily shrinking, Stony Brook University's School of Journalism is preparing on Tuesday to buck the trend, with the launch of the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting.
Headlining the opening of the center on Tuesday – named in honor of the Long Island native who was killed while on assignment last spring in Syria – will be one of the biggest names in international news: Christiane Amanpour.
“I am delighted to support the Center,” said Amanpour, formerly of CNN, who now serves as the Global Affairs anchor for ABC News and hosts the international nightly news program Amanpour.
“Marie Colvin knew that it all starts with a great foundation in the basics and the classics of our craft. That is the aim of the Center: to put international reporting front and center for aspiring young journalists.”
Last November, Amanpour put her money where her mouth is when to Kenya to gain experience abroad.
In recent years, international reporting has found itself on the chopping block in many American newsrooms due to the high cost of sustaining reporting overseas. A 2011 report by the American Journalism Review noted, "Eighteen newspapers and two chains have shuttered every one of their overseas bureaus in the dozen years since AJR first surveyed foreign coverage for the Project on the State of the American Newspaper."
A 2012 Columbia Journalism Review article noted that even the word "bureau" for those still existing could be a bit misleading, as many bureaus consist of only a single reporter.
The AJR added that not all hope is lost, however, as the market for international news has shifted to a degree, with new opportunities opening up with organizations such as the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and the International Reporting Project – both nonprofit ventures – as well as GlobalPost, an online news outlet devoted entirely to international reporting. NPR, it found, actually increased its international reporting during its study.
It's projects such as these that remind leaders of the SBU journalism program – including Howard Schneider, Marcy McGinnis and Ilana Ozernoy – that the need to train qualified journalists for the future still must be filled.
“Never has it been more important to send a message that the work of Marie Colvin is not only valued, but will be carried on by the next generation,” said Schneider.
The Colvin Center will offer courses such as history of foreign reporting, multimedia backpack journalism and more, while creating a travel fellowship to expand the school's Journalism Without Walls program, which has already sent students to China, Russia and Cuba.
Amanpour's lecture, which starts at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, will serve as the inaugural event in a series of lectures. Members of the general public interested in attending can email firstname.lastname@example.org.