Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to be able to attend a luncheon/seminar from Monica Herrero, the Dean of the School of Communication from the University of Navarra in Spain. I had a great time and a delicious lunch to boot. The main topic of her presentation seemed to be the future in transnational media in Europe. What I took from it was that the language barriers as well as some other factors prevented one company from reaching every nation. The future of expanding companies relies on creating local presences in each nation the way magazine publishers create a different product for different areas, but give it the same name. However, the issue that may be more immediate and relative to those of us in attendance was the issue finding jobs in international media.
It’s almost impossible to go to another country to find a job, from what Monica shared. To work in Europe you essentially have to prove that you are the only one who could fulfill that job position and that you aren’t taking a job from a European. I hope I am someday good enough at one thing to be able to call myself the only man for the job, but that will take a while if it happens.
The next best option to becoming the best in the world at something seems like free lance work. It would be great to be sent off with guaranteed pay by someone in the U.S. but those jobs are few and far between. Of course just because chances are low doesn’t mean I won’t try. Being practical though, the most probable way of getting abroad to tell people’s stories, cover events, and get that foreign perspective is just going. Backpack journalism indeed.
I just find the idea of that job so attractive. When I was in Buenos Aires this summer, a man named Oliver Balch spoke in our journalism class. Oliver is a writer originally from England, who just moved to Argentina one day after getting sick of his old job at a financial firm. He started by writing articles and submitting them to the Guardian back home. Then he decided to write this book on the ways South America is such a restless continent, called Viva South America! He received backing from the publisher to fund his travels and he wrote the book. The way Oliver just went off to South America and made it work is just inspiring to me. And his book is pretty good.
I may not end up in international journalism, but it interests me enough to keep trying. I love the Spanish language, so I would jump at any chance to work in a Spanish speaking country. Being a foreign correspondent of some sort sounds doubtful, but exciting.