News fixers often face some trouble with foreign correspondents causing issues with reporting the events, giving credit and safety. Lindsay Palmer of University of Wisconsin–Madison interviewed 21 news fixers living and working in Middle Eastern conflict zones.
‘Fixers’ are local media workers who work with foreign news correspondents in setting up interviews, translating text, navigating and helping reporters to stay safe. The study focuses on how fixers view their work, the relationships with correspondents and safety.
Results show issues with foreign journalists’ lack of background and cultural knowledge and the disconnection this causes with the fixers. There is also an issue of safety. Fixers fear that correspondents may misunderstood events they cover, leaving fixers in a difficult position in their home country after the story has been published. Commonly, the safety of foreign correspondents is overemphasized at the cost of the fixers safety.
The news organisations publishing the stories could also be more transparent with their audiences about how the stories were made and how the fixers contributed to it, the study concludes.
The article “Being the bridge” was published recently in the journal Journalism. It is available online (free abstract).
Picture: Syrian Violence Continues by Sorian Soosay, license CC BY 2.0