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The Guardian - United Kingdom | Thursday, December 9, 2010

Timothy Garton Ash on the role of foreign correspondents

The British historian and commentator Timothy Garton Ash stresses in the left-liberal daily The Guardian that foreign correspondents are indispensable for journalism even in these times of Wikileaks: "A vast surfeit of information, 'news' in the broadest sense, is dumped on us every day. We have a problem of profusion. The quality newspaper's job will be to sift, set in context, follow up, as The Guardian and New York Times did with the Wikileaks trove. ... However many thousands of fantastic clips, blogs and online transcripts you have, there is nothing to compare with being there. You can't do it only from an armchair. The unique value added by the 20th-century foreign correspondent consisted, at best, … of all three elements: witnessing, deciphering, interpreting. If we can somehow preserve that, in the journalism of our day, then we may yet achieve both more and better foreign news."

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