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Fixers and Journalism: First-person insights into working together internationally

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- If you read an international news story today, it likely was reported with the aid of a fixer -- a local, on-the-ground guide who worked with American journalists abroad.

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB LOGO. (PRNewsFoto/NATIONAL PRESS CLUB) (PRNewsfoto/National Press Club)

On Thursday, Jan. 30 from 3-4:15p.m., learn from the vast network of locally-based media employees who serve as guides to foreign journalists operating in unfamiliar terrain. Their intimate knowledge of local communities and  relationships make fixers an essential part of the news-gathering process overseas.

But fixers take great risk to help tell important stories. These cultural mediators frequently jeopardize their safety and security, reputation, and relationships in pursuit of truth. A panel of journalists who worked as fixers will share best practices for correspondent-fixer collaborations. They'll also share important insight on crediting fixers, safety measures, and the challenges of embedding and "parachute journalism" in foreign countries.

Panelists include:

  • Chris Knittel, a fixer/producer in the United States who covers crime subjects for documentaries across the country. He's worked for National Geographic, VICELAND, Netflix and others. He is currently directing his first feature documentary about a murder he witnessed as a juvenile, 21 years ago.
  • Ashraf Khalil, a Cairo-based reporter for the Associated Press who has worked as a fixer and a writer in Egypt and Iraq, where he's been published by Foreign Policy , The Times of London and Rolling Stone , among others.
  • Suzan Haidamous, a Washington Post reporter covering Lebanon, Syria and the Middle East region. She has worked as a fixer, producer and interpreter since 2006 for ABC Australia, BBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, and many other news organizations.

The discussion will be moderated by Lindsay Palmer, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and author of "The Fixers: Local News Workers and the Underground Labor of International Reporting." Palmer's book will be available for purchase at the program.

As Palmer shares in her book, "Fixers' contributions to journalism are largely hidden from us, yet they underpin the entire international news industry: almost every international news story we read today could not be produced without a fixer."

The panel discussion will be livestreamed to reach people abroad, and panelists will take questions from in-person and virtual audiences during the talk.

The event is free for members and $5 for non-members. Registration is open on Eventbrite or by following this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fixers-and-journalism-first-person-insights-into-working-together-internationally-tickets-90326032595

Contact Beth Francesco, senior director of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, with any questions at bfrancesco@press.org.

About NPCJI

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press, and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement. As the non-profit of the National Press Club, the Institute serves as a beacon for journalism in the public interest.

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SOURCE National Press Club