by HALEY KNOPIK
Foreign correspondent Kristin Chick, talked to a number of UMD students Wednesday concerning her decisions to work abroad for U.S. newspapers and life in Lebanon. Chick graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor degree in Journalism. On a whim, she purchased a ticket to Lebanon with a "promise" to work for a paper in Egypt. As for education background, Chick advises students interested in the journalism field, to major in a subject that interests them (i.e; political science, biology, criminology, etc) with a minor in journalism. "The background information you learn in college on specific majors will help your knowledge on the type of things you want to write about," Chick said.
Advice Chick gave to students, "you need to network if you want to become a successful journalist. I have never gotten a job by sending in my resume to a newspaper. It's all about someone you know, who knows someone, who knows somebody, who can set you up with a potential job opportunity."
Other influences that could help a student interested in become a foreign correspondent include, but are not limited to; learning another language(s), studying abroad, and embracing networking skills. Reporting and writing overseas has been a great experience for Chick, and she emphasizes that being a journalist in Cairo is no different than writing in the United States. For instance, writers are constantly supporting yet competing against each other for top stories and good beats.
"A great beat is key to winning over your editor. I've seen some terrible beats, and that can determine your future writing and for whom you write for." The importance of a concise and to the point beat is critical for any writer to achieve. The beat can literally make or break your chances of writing for the paper you want to. Beats must be clear, and contain the important information necessary to keep your editor interested, and from there you can do your major investigating and reporting.
To be successful in the world of foreign corresponding, Chick concludes that you must be determined and strive for what you want to achieve. Being a journalist means that you have to ask the questions nobody wants to answer. In one instance, Chick had to interview people on the streets of Cairo about their opinions on Osama Bin Laden. As a reporter, you must be fearless and take on the challenges of tough reporting.