FULLY BOOKED On the media: Becoming a freelance foreign correspondent

Talk January 11, 2012 7:00 PM


This event is now fully booked but you will be able to watch it live here and follow the discussion on #fcfreelance.

With uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa setting a relentless pace in this year’s news agenda, media outlets have frequently turned to freelances to cover events in countries where they are without staff bureaus and wire services.

The Frontline Club, in association with the BBC College of Journalism,  will be bringing together a panel of freelancers who will discuss the practicalities of life as a freelance foreign correspondent from setting up in a country to finding and pitching stories and dealing with the realities of conflict.

In contrast to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the recent fighting in Libya was not subjec to embedding restrictions and freelances were able to descend on the country and compete to get to the frontline.  Join us to discuss the issues working in a war zone raise for freelances.

Chaired by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.


Tom Finn, a freelance journalist currently based in Sana’a, Yemen. He moved to Sana’a in August 2010 to work as an editor at the Yemen Times. He has been covering Yemen’s Arab uprising since January writing mainly for The Guardian but also for TIME, Foreign Policy Magazine, The Economist and Christian Science Monitor. In May his blog was selected by Foreign Policy Magazine as “recommended reading” for Barack Obama about the Persian Gulf. He is Al-Jazeera English’s correspondent in Yemen. He also blogs on Yemen for the Frontline Club.
Twitter: @TomFinn2

Portia Walker, a freelance journalist who spent the past year covering the Arab Spring. After three years working for Al Jazeera English in London, she moved to Yemen, where she was the stringer for the Economist, the Washington Post, and briefly the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. After being deported from Yemen in March while reporting on the increasingly violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators, she went to Libya where she covered the war and its aftermath for the Washington Post, the Independent, USA Today and Foreign Policy, among others.
Twitter: @portia_walker

James Longman, freelance journalist working as an online producer between Sky News and CNBC. After having spent the past four or five years traveling, working and studying in the Middle East, he headed to Syria to spend time with opposition groups involved in the country’s uprising. Between June-July and September-October 2011, he spent time in hiding with groups in Zabadani, Homs, Rastan, Qabon, Madaya and Damascus where he wrote for the Times and the Telegraph and set up interviews for Sky News, NPR and PBS.
Twitter: @JamesReport

Ruth Sherlock, a freelance journalist who has spent the year chasing the Arab Spring. She moved to the Middle East in 2009, living and working in Israel and the West Bank. On 23 January she packed her bag for a three day trip to see the protests in Cairo, and didn’t come back for six months. Writing primarily for the Daily Telegraph she covered the Egyptian revolution, then the Libyan civil war, and now focuses on the escalating conflict in Syria. Other outlets include Foreign Policy, Sunday Times, The LA Times, The Scotsman, and Al Jazeera English (web).


Picture credit: Danfung Dennis