Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship 60th Anniversary Event

Description

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

5:30 to 6:00 PM RECEPTION

6:00 to 7:15 PM SESSION ONE
Welcome: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations

War Zones: The Changing Environment for Foreign Correspondents
Kim Barker, Former South Asia Bureau Chief, Chicago Tribune; 2009-2010 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
Mohamad Bazzi, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; 2007-2008 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
Christopher S. Dickey, Paris Bureau Chief and Middle East Regional Editor, Newsweek; 1983-1984 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
Kathy Gannon, International Correspondent, Associated Press; 2003-2004 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
Presider: Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN

7:15 to 8:30 PM COCKTAIL RECEPTION

Thursday, September 10, 2009

8:00 to 8:30 AM BREAKFAST RECEPTION

8:30 to 9:45 AM SESSION TWO
Reporting from Closed Societies
Caryle M. Murphy, Independent Journalist and Author; 1994-1995 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
David J. Remnick, Editor, New Yorker; 1991-1992 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
Elizabeth Rubin, Contributing Writer, New York Times Magazine; 2008-2009 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
Dan Southerland, Vice President of Programming and Executive Editor, Radio Free Asia; 1990-1991 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
Presider: Margaret G. Warner, Senior Correspondent, Newshour with Jim Lehrer

10:15 to 11:30 AM SESSION THREE
Technology and Commerce: The Impact on International Coverage
L. Gordon Crovitz, Cofounder, Journalism Online
Christopher Isham, Vice President, Washington Bureau Chief, CBS News
Nicholas Lemann, Dean, Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
Charles M. Sennott, Executive Editor and Cofounder, GlobalPost
Presider: John Hockenberry, Host, Takeaway, WNYC Radio

11:30 to 12:15 PM LUNCH RECEPTION

12:15 to 1:30 PM SESSION FOUR
Conversation with Network News Presidents: Meeting Industry Challenges
Stephen A. Capus, President, NBC News
Jon Klein, President, CNN U.S.
Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports
David Westin, President, ABC News
Presider: Ken Auletta, Media Industry News Columnist, New Yorker

at the Harold Pratt House, 58 East 68th Street, New York, New York 10065

This event will be on the record.

This event is made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation and Time Warner Inc.

To attend, please click on the following link to fill out the response form and fax it to the CFR New York Meetings Program at 212.434.9804 or call the Meetings Response Line at 212.434.9600.

Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship Event Announcement and Response Form

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the New York Meetings Program by phone, 212.434.9600, or email, meetings@cfr.org.

Audio
Transcript

RICHARD N. HAASS: Let me welcome one and all to the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship of the Council on Foreign Relations. Thank you all for being here. And, just to be clear in the way of housekeeping, the entire two-day event is on the record. I believe the media in this room knows what that means. And it's being webcast live on the CFR website, CFR.org. Please bookmark it.

Now I'm going to say the most preposterous thing of the evening. Please turn off your Blackberries. I'm sure there's no one who works for a media organization who needs to stay in touch. So please turn them off, though, because they do interfere with the sound system here.

Let me begin by giving a special welcome to the nearly two dozen former fellows who have come from near and far, as well as to Kim Barker, who just arrived from Pakistan two days ago. We're also delighted to have a fellow from the first decade of the fellowship. Harry Heintzen was selected in 1956 by a committee of three -- (laughter) -- one of whom, I should point out, was Edward R. Murrow himself. Yeah, not bad.

So let me ask all the fellows in the room to stand and acknowledge those who are joining us by live webcast. So, please, those who are former fellows, let's see who you are. (Applause.)

You will see in your program a special dedication to two former fellows -- Elizabeth Neuffer and Welles Hangen, who were killed in the line of duty. And this underscores just how dangerous this line of work can be. Indeed, we meet here just one day following the escape of Stephen Farrell of the New York Times in Afghanistan. And while Maziar Bahari of Newsweek and others are imprisoned in Iran.

It's not just dangerous work; it's important work. I often note that the world is not Las Vegas. What happens there does not stay there. Instead, it comes here and it affects life here. And foreign correspondents provide not just history's first draft, but the reporting that is essential if the citizenry in a democracy is to understand the world, and if a democracy such as ours is to be able to make informed decisions about the world.

I'd like to thank the members of our Murrow Selection Committee, chaired this year by Carla Robbins of the New York Times. Each year in the late fall the committee has the daunting task of making a selection from a pool of extraordinarily talented nominees. And since 1949, approximately one per year, the council has been honored to host over 60 fellows, many of whom still devote their life to journalism.

And we would not have been able to do all this without funding from the Carnegie Corporation in those early years and later from the CBS Foundation, when the fellowship was actually renamed the Edward R. Murrow Fellowship in 1965.

On behalf of the council, I want to publicly thank the Ford Foundation for providing the funding this year, part of which is in a challenge grant. And I want to thank Time Warner for being the first to respond. And with more support, we'll be able to keep this fellowship going, but also to expand the work we do on this set of issues that we're going to be discussing tonight and tomorrow, and to make permanent an annual event such as this. So this is a fellowship with a grand tradition and we are ambitious about what we would like to do in the future.

As I expect many of you know, the goal of the program is to promote the quality of responsible and discerning journalism that exemplified the work of Edward R. Murrow during his life. What some of you may not know, though, is he was an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and became a member at the tender age of 25. He therefore lowered the average age of this organization considerably -- (laughter) -- and were he still alive, he would probably be far from the oldest member of this organization. (Laughter.) But I digress.

Richard Hottelet, a journalist and a Council on Foreign Relations member for more than half a century now, who worked closely with Ed Murrow, is here with us tonight, and Dick talks about Murrow as -- and I quote him here -- "a driven man; driven to tell people what was going on in the world." And Dick said that that is what moved him and he took it very seriously.

And the result is a nine-month fellowship at the council which offers journalists who cover international affairs the rare opportunity to engage in the luxury of sustained analysis and writing, free from the deadlines and many of the pressures that characterize the life of a journalist.

I hope you will meet the fellows tonight. And we've put red dots on their nametags just to highlight them at the reception afterwards. You can read about them on CFR.org/Murrow, which is a new online feature that was launched today.

Now, I understand that -- (laughter) -- coincidentally. Now, I understand that we do not operate in a vacuum here. And rumor has it that an important speech will be given later this evening. So, for those of you who want to watch it, we have set up a monitor here, I believe -- will be set up at about 8:00 tonight. Is that correct? Yep. Heads are nodding in the north-south direction.

So, for those of you who want to watch that tonight, you can. For those of you who want to continue partying, however, that will be an option too, and we will not report you to your bosses if you choose the drinking over the viewing.

Tomorrow morning there is going to be three more sessions, and it's an extraordinary lineup of subjects and of individuals, as you will see in the program for today.

We're honored to have someone who is special in many ways moderating our first session. It's CNN's chief international correspondent. She's also the anchor of a new prime time half-hour program on CNN coincidentally titled "Amanpour." (Laughter.) It's amazing how they think of these things. It launches in this country on September 21 on CNN International and the U.S. version will launch on September 27.

In her nearly two decades as an international correspondent, Christiane has reported on just about all the major crises around the world, and her work has earned her Television Academy Honors: nine news and documentary Emmys, four George Foster Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award, and even an Edward R. Murrow Award.

The only thing missing from her resume as best I can tell is she has never been an Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is great to take time out to do this tonight.

She will introduce the extraordinary group of individuals that we have assembled. Christiane, thank you, and over to you.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Thank you very much, Richard. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you to everybody who I'm going to introduce in a second, but I just wanted to say that I was at the Walter Cronkite Memorial today and I was reminded and re-inspired about the power of this business and about the power of this profession.

And he was not just America's Uncle Walter nor America's favorite uncle and anchor; he was a war correspondent. That is how he started back in World War II. And the tribute to him played by veterans of World War II and others, mentioning all of what he did throughout those years and beyond, were really a stark and wonderful, timely reminder about how important this profession is and how amazingly he wielded that profession, and also a reminder, which we'll discuss today, about the threats and the changing environment to this profession. So, without further ado, let me introduce our distinguished panel.

First here is Kim Barker, who is about to be this year's Edward R. Murrow Fellow, and she is the former South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune. That means Afghanistan, Pakistan, the tsunami, all the big stories that have happened in that region over the last several years.

Next to her is Mohamad Bazzi, the adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, and of course a former Edward R. Murrow fellow.

And Kathy Gannon of the Associated Press, special correspondent who has also covered all that has to be covered in the region of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the very important pre-9/11 and post-9/11 realities in that region.

And over to the far left over there, my friend, Christopher Dickey, who is the Paris bureau chief -- it's a great, great job -- (laughter) -- and the Middle East editor for Newsweek, based in Paris, and of course also a former Murrow fellow.

Now, there are many aspects to the dangers and the changing environment for a foreign correspondent and a war correspondent. There is the actual danger, the physical danger. There is injury and death. There is also the dearth of foreign correspondents.

There's the different delivery systems, there is the questions about content, and of course there is our changing journalistic environment. So we're going to try to get to all of those. And of course when I introduce and ask them questions they're also free to jump in and talk amongst themselves and not just wait for me to direct them.

Let me first talk about, obviously, what was on the front page of the New York Times today, and that's Stephen Farrell and what happened. And it appears that he was rescued by a British commando team. But he came out; his fixer was killed.

Let me ask Kathy first, who's really worked in that area a lot, what are the dangers today on the ground for foreign correspondents going to try to cover areas such as insurgent-filled parts of Afghanistan?

KATHY GANNON: The dangers are very real. And I think the problems too is you have so many that just come in briefly and quickly, and so they don't know the environment very well, and so they maybe don't do enough research and so they put themselves in harm's way when maybe a little bit more research would have helped.

I think that we've also, post-9/11, with the whole practice of embeds and that, that we've also sort of been maybe a little bit confusing to the people we cover.

AMANPOUR: What, do you think they're getting mixed messages about what side you're on, or are you on a side?

GANNON: Yeah, I think sometimes, you know, there is the mixed messages because they can't differentiate. You're standing beside a soldier but you're taking notes. And you know who you are but, you know, there might be people in that environment that, you know, they don't -- they could be Taliban, they could be -- and they don't differentiate anymore perhaps between, you know, whether they're military, non-military.

I also think that we -- to me what is a big concern is our fixers and our translators and that, that we somehow don't give them the -- we take risks unnecessarily with them. We aren't being responsible enough about them.

There have been several cases in Afghanistan, for example, where the fixers have been killed; an Italian who was -- they paid for him and then his fixer journalist -- I mean, he was really a journalist; he wasn't just a fixer -- I mean, not even just, but he was beheaded.

The other day the -- you know, I mean, there's so many instances where our fixers -- just last week a close colleague friend of mine was shot in the head in Peshawar because he had gone and interviewed Taliban and they didn't like how it was reported. And he had done it for different organizations, and he was targeted and was killed.

So I think that it's become much more insecure, and I think that we have not maybe risen to the challenge in how to make our job possible in this environment by changing things a little.

AMANPOUR: This is -- let me just go to Chris for a second.

CHRISTOPHER S. DICKEY: I think there is a big structural problem here. We're just not as important as we used to be. I mean, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, you went and covered a war and if you were the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, god knows, you were an important person. Everybody recognized that.

And that was really -- if they wanted to get their message out, it didn't matter what side of the conflict they were on or you were covering because they had to talk to you. Now they don't have to talk to us. They've got lots of people to talk to.

I mean, al Qaeda has its own television network, for god's sake, and they don't feel that they need us. That right there makes us much more vulnerable -- much more vulnerable than we used to be, and it makes the people who work with us more vulnerable as well.

Always in wars, you're always going to say what you're seeing. People parachute in; they get killed. We always say that. People take too many risks. They take -- they make their stringers and their fixers take too many risks.

Those are all givens. That has happened for a long time. People have been killed; fixers have been killed for a long time. But there is no deterrent anymore. There is really nothing that keeps them distant.

And I think this was really clear as of -- it was getting clearer over time, but by 2003 in Iraq it was really clear. Newsweek made a decision we were not going to do any embeds. We had people -- me, Rod Nordland, Scott Johnson, a lot of people -- we all had decided to try and get into Iraq through different angles, different approaches, and the people who went across the line from Kuwait lasted about an hour before they literally had their cars shot out from under them.

AMANPOUR: So how did the others get in?

DICKEY: People went in through Kurdistan. In fact, Scott Johnson is the guy I'm thinking of. He was a young correspondent and worked with me a lot. He and Luc Delahaye went in, and Luc got through the checkpoints and Scott had his car shot out from under him and we thought for about 24 hours that we'd lost him. What he wound up doing was sticking out his thumb, hitching a ride with the military and embedding after that because that was the only way to stay alive.

AMANPOUR: You wanted to add something about --

KIM BARKER: Well, I just wanted to say that I actually don't think there is a mixed message, and I think we're very important. We're dollar signs. And people see us -- we're white. A lot of us are white. We're going down the road. We're going to meet the Taliban. I mean, what could be easier to kidnap? I mean, what could be easier to get $100,000 here, $200,000 here?

That's the change. We're now not seen as a reporter; we're seen as a target. We're seen as a way to get a lot of money, and we're seen as a way to get their message out very easily. They kidnap us, I mean, it's going to be all over the front pages of different newspapers. That is, if we're not --

AMANPOUR: So what do you do?

BARKER: Well, what you do is -- look, in the last two-and-a-half years, as far as I can tell -- and there could be more, but there have been at least eight journalists kidnapped in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Every single one of them have been somebody who has parachuted in to either Pakistan or Afghanistan and who have gone there specifically with the intent of going out and getting that story that no resident correspondent is, I guess, brave enough to get. The fact of the matter is we kind of know the situation more and we're not going to go driving off to meet the Taliban. And at a certain point it just was no longer seen as safe to do.

So that's the goal. You just have got to be safer. You don't go off driving off to meet the Taliban anymore. I mean, one of these journalists was actually a Dutch porn columnist, seriously. And then there has been this whole movement to censor the news. We don't write about it anymore. A journalist is kidnapped, we no longer write about it. An aid worker is kidnapped on the side of the street, we write about it.

GANNON: And we write about some journalists that have been kidnapped.

BARKER: Yeah.

GANNON: We don't write about other journalists that have been kidnapped.

BARKER: Exactly.

GANNON: And if you don't --

BARKER: And it's a double standard --

(Cross talk.)

GANNON: That we're party to.

BARKER: That we're definitely party to.

MOHAMAD BAZZI: Let me add an observation just on what Chris and what Kim said. I think we're also seeing a new strain of Islamic militants who are specifically targeting journalists and who are targeting aid workers as well and NGO workers, and who aren't making that distinction that maybe 20 years ago or 30 years ago in the terrorism of the 1970s you rarely had. You had many factions of the PLO but you rarely had a faction that would actively take journalists hostage and want to kill them.

And that's something that needs to be taken into account by news organizations and by all of us, and that's a grander issue than the mechanics of resident correspondents or someone parachuting in is there are groups and people who want to take journalists hostage and want to kill them.

AMANPOUR: And since this is fundamental, because our job -- I mean, I was in Afghanistan in March for the latest documentary I did -- our job is to go out there and be the eyes and ears and get the facts on the ground. Is there a way that we can push back against this as correspondents on the ground?

GANNON: But I think part of our job too is to have contacts. I mean, we're supposed to be building contacts --

AMANPOUR: Right.

GANNON: -- so you really should have contacts within the Taliban. You should have contacts within the military. You should have contacts -- and I'm not saying that it's easy and I'm not saying -- but, I mean, that's -- as you say, I mean, we have to go out and get the story.

Whether they're targeting you specifically as a journalist so that they can, you know, make -- and it's true; we're dollar signs. I think anyone that is out there is a dollar sign for so many of the criminal element.

AMANPOUR: But they've tried to focus on how do we get the story, get the news, verify it, verify the sources and deliver the information to readers, listeners, viewers.

BARKER: A lot of times you're having to -- I mean, having been in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than five years at this point, you're having to get people to come to you. You've got to verify who they are and you have them come to a safe place and you meet them in the provincial capital or you meet them in Kabul or you meet them in, you know, the Continental Hotel in Kandahar, and you do it that way.

You just have to take precautions. Sometimes you're using local staff. A lot of times when you're going out in Afghanistan or Pakistan you're working through the tribal elders. You're getting a guarantee of safety before you go anywhere, and you're working through the system that exists in Pashtun tribal culture. You're not just sort of driving out there to a scene to see what happens; you're actually taking precautions.

AMANPOUR: So it works.

BARKER: It can work.

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: But it has to be re-tailored.

BARKER: It can work, but --

GANNON: It can work, and it has to be retailored and you have to do the basic things that journalists do -- you know, develop contacts, go out and try to, you know, meet people. You know, I mean, the fundamental things that we've -- this is the way --

(Cross talk.)

DICKEY: Well, this is what really speaks to the issue of parachuting in, I mean, is that you can't begin to just crash into an environment where people are looking to kidnap you, or even 30 years ago in Central America, places like that, you could go back and forth across the lines and eventually you would get shot doing that.

But you would try to develop sources on every side and people who would talk to you and trust you, even if they were connected with organizations like the death squads, much less groups like the guerrillas, the Sandinistas.

AMANPOUR: Absolutely.

DICKEY: Always you've been able to do that, but it takes time. You have to spend a lot of time --

AMANPOUR: And money -- time and money because to have those --

BARKER: Which we don't have anymore.

AMANPOUR: -- permanent correspondents on the ground, permanent producers, permanent fixers to build up the bank of contacts and to really, you know, make the terrain familiar terrain if not friendly terrain, it takes time and money.

What do you tell your students, young people who say they want to go into this job? I mean, they come up to me all the time -- I want to do what you do. I want to do what you do -- and I'm afraid these days to tell them to go and do it. I do, I tell them, listen, it's going to be very difficult; it's going to be dangerous. I advise you to go and try it, but no -- (laughter) -- yeah, I do, I do.

BARKER: Good luck on that one.

DICKEY: And don't parachute in.

(Laughter.)

BAZZI: I tell them there are places where they're just never going to be able to afford the kidnap and ransom insurance, so we get a certain part of the globe out of the way. But, I mean, it's very difficult. But although a lot of young students are interested in doing what many of us did in terms of living someplace and really developing those contacts.

I mean, unfortunately they don't have the institutional support in most of those cases, but they're definitely willing to invest the time and the years it will take to do this.

But my concern, my question is to everyone else is also -- there are always going to be people in this new landscape, and I think we saw this after Danny Pearl. There is a set of people who is going to not only see us as dollar signs, but see us as ideological targets, and how do we make the distinction when we're dealing with those people? I mean, how do we set systems in place where you know there is going to be a risk?

GANNON: I think to a certain extent -- I mean, it's not our business whether they see us as ideological targets or they ---

BAZZI: But it is our business --

GANNON: I mean, obviously it's to do --

AMANPOUR: But explain --

BAZZI: -- if they're going to behead us.

AMANPOUR: Kathy, explain, because you were allowed into Afghanistan by the Taliban.

GANNON: Yeah, the last three weeks of the bombing. And that was -- you know, I mean, and ideologically they certainly didn't relate to me, nor did they relate to me because I was a woman. So, you know, with two counts there I was -- but I had built the contacts over time.

I had been to the front line when they were trying to get into Kabul. I'd been to the front line while they were in Kabul. I didn't get involved in that we were ideologically different. I didn't -- I really tried to do the story just as a journalist and to cover both sides and to try and as best -- I mean, I wrote stories about training camps, I wrote stories about Mullah Omar, I wrote stories about women.

So I think that there is a way to do it because -- I mean, this is what I'm saying. I do believe that there is a way to do the job that is still fundamentally the same job, that you were saying, where we -- I was there to try and tell the story and to try to give both sides as best we can.

And, yes, of course -- you know, I mean, ideologically we're different, but I'm not so sure that we should get involved in those -- you know, I mean, for sure they see us as dollar signs, so you take precautions. You know, you limit your risk as best you can but you don't stop taking risks.

DICKEY: No, I don't think any of us has stopped taking risks.

GANNON: Yeah, exactly, so you try to limit them. You know, it's sort of like risk management as opposed to --

AMANPOUR: Now, we'll come back to this, but what about -- okay, there is the risk on the ground, obviously, that we've talked about. And then there's the risk back at headquarters, and that is the dearth of foreign correspondents and the cutbacks and the really paring down of any kind of international news-gathering operation. You seem to be a victim of that.

BARKER: I'm the poster child for it. (Chuckles.)

AMANPOUR: Explain.

BARKER: Well, at the end of March I basically got a phone call and was told that the Tribune was cutting back most of its foreign staff. Two correspondents survived and they were folded into the LA Times foreign correspondents staff.

It happened very quietly. Nobody really talked that much about it. And I think the Tribune Company tried to sell this as, we're consolidating, we're improving, but in reality a lot of people lost their jobs. We were called back to Chicago, but when once you get the bug of being overseas, the whole idea of going back and covering metro and writing about school board meetings, while very important, is nothing you really want to do.

So I decided to actually quit my job and to see what I could make of free-lancing. I did not yet know at that point that I got this fellowship, and I was offered various opportunities including one from a major newspaper, that I shall not name because this is on the record and I want to preserve my career as a journalist -- (laughter) -- that was for $30,000 a year -- $30,000 a year to cover Afghanistan, to cover a war zone. I was going to be super-stringer.

Out of that money ---

DICKEY: It's cheap there. It's cheap living there.

(Laughter.)

BARKER: Yeah. Out of that money I was supposed to pay for my rent, I was supposed to pay for my fixer, and I was supposed to pay for my health insurance, and I was supposed to be glad to have a job. These are the jobs that are open to foreign correspondents now. So I have to thank the Council on Foreign Relations actually -- (laughter) -- for giving me this opportunity to allow me to --

GANNON: But, see, there are a lot of people who will take that. It just --

BARKER: Well, they found a guy who was about 15 years, 10 years younger than I was and he was willing to take it, you know --

GANNON: Absolutely.

BARKER: -- because it's an opportunity.

GANNON: But then what kind of coverage are they going to get?

BARKER: Well, and what sort of safety net does he --

DICKEY: Well, I think there's a couple of forces coming together here. It's not just that everybody is facing economic cutbacks and the industry is rethinking. I think there's real news fatigue going on, and this goes in cycles.

I mean, after '89, '90, '91, by the time we got to '93, '94, after the fall of the wall, after the Iraq War, after all those things that happened, nobody wanted to know anything about foreign news. We didn't have a big crisis, but everybody was cutting back. Everybody was cutting back budgets. Nobody cared.

AMANPOUR: See, I would posit a different take on that. I think the bosses didn't want to know about foreign news because it was expensive. And there was a new president in the United States, Bill Clinton at the time, who didn't know anything about the foreign environment. I mean, that's not an insult; it's just he came in having no experience. And everybody thought, oh, he's going to shift way over to domestic and all the rest of it.

I think one of the most hopeful things that I've seen recently regarding this news fatigue cliche is what the AP and others have done in terms of research and studies where they found that, yes, many Americans, many people say they have news fatigue, but when you ask them what that means and you go into that, it basically means that they're tired of the superficial factoids and headlines that they get bombarded with. They're tired of the constant breaking news, but what they really want is --

DICKEY: Is your show -- your new show.

(Laughter, cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: No, but to me this is the hopeful sort of rope that you can hang onto for our business because we are slowly being killed off. And really, in fact, people actually want it. They want more information and understanding. They want more depth, context, perspective, intelligence and all the rest of it.

And so I think that's a real sort of really hopeful thing that we can grab onto and use, but the question is, you know, will we? It's building kind of slowly. At CNN you have the Fareed Zakaria program, which was the first foreign policy program to go on CNN domestic in years and years and years, and it holds its own and people are interested because -- I mean, I really believe if we build it, they'll come, and I'm wondering whether you think that and whether you try to persuade your bosses of it. I mean, I --

DICKEY: Actually my boss is Fareed.

(Laughter.)

GANNON: And he's convinced.

(Laughter.)

BARKER: I think the traditional sort of newspaper having a bunch of foreign correspondents out there for newspapers, that model is gone. And you can hardly blame the newspapers; they're bankrupt. Where do you cut?

I mean, it's a wonderful, fabulous luxury to have foreign correspondents for medium-sized, good, strong newspapers, but it no longer exists and we have to come up with -- it's great to keep whining about it -- we have to come up with a way to actually solve it and a way to sort of come up with different ways to have foreign coverage and different voices so you just don't have the wires and the major news organizations.

Whether that means people are blogging, whether that means you've got different nonprofits sending out foreign correspondents, whether that means that I'm no longer the South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune and instead I brand myself as I'm Kim Barker, foreign expert, and I've got a webpage, and I go out there and I --

GANNON: Like GlobalPost.

BARKER: Yeah, and -- but, yeah, like I would not get out of bed for what they pay although I very much respect what GlobalPost is doing. It's just not enough money to make it worth it.

AMANPOUR: Mohamad, what do you -- you obviously have to think about these things when you're teaching and when you are trying to figure out the future of war coverage and international news coverage. Where do you think the solution lies? Is it in the bloggers or the, you know, underpaid?

BAZZI: So I get the hardest question. (Laughter.) That's just because I teach.

I think ultimately it will probably be a combination of all of these things -- the GlobalPost model -- and we'll hear from Charlie Sennot tomorrow. I don't know if he's here today. He can defend himself. That model -- oh, there he is. There's Charlie.

DICKEY: Oh, there he is.

BAZZI: That model will probably be something that we're moving towards and, you know, there has to be -- but there has to be ways for that to pay more, and there has to be ways, maybe by partnering --

One of the things I think Charlie does in Afghanistan is he partners with the Institute for War & Peace Reporting and gets people who already have positions and who -- probably see more people like myself, people in academia and who are writing and using time, travel and trying to string together grants and things like that to do this kind of work.

It probably won't happen on the same scale that it happened for the past 20 years, so we might see a smaller scale. We'll probably see a greater role for places like CFR and places like Carnegie and places that are funding smaller efforts but independent efforts because that begins to raise all sorts of other issues.

AMANPOUR: And then I want to ask another question about content. Again, one of the lines that -- one of the memories about Walter Cronkite at the service today, one of his friends said, you know, he was always, you know, thinking and looking and trying to figure out what the latest landscape is. And he was not so much, quote, "concerned with the revolutions in the delivery systems, but about who's minding the content."

And, you know, my question is, do we sort of -- not price ourselves but work ourselves out of public trust and into the sort of news fatigue zone when we only report the bad news? And I know that sounds sort of Pollyannaish but let me just give you an example.

The latest debate over the war in Afghanistan with all these polls -- including a recent CNN poll that says that growing numbers of Americans, now a majority of Americans, appear to want the troops out of Afghanistan. And then the next question -- do you believe the U.S. is winning the war in Afghanistan -- and the answer was no by a majority. But then the next question -- do you believe the United States can win the war in Afghanistan and the answer was yes by a significant majority. But nobody ever gets to that question. It's only the headline of the bad news that's only ever written at the top.

DICKEY: That's what George Bush used to say all the time.

(Laughter.)

AMANPOUR: Well, in some ways, perhaps in that regard, he may have had a point.

(Laughter.)

But, very seriously, you know, this is a huge national debate which is not happening right now: What is at stake in Afghanistan? Has anything good happened? Should one continue to build on it or should one cut and run?

And the indicators show that in every way -- in a lot of important ways, things are better in Afghanistan than they were in 2001, and one can build on it, including the fact that in the country you cover, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, extremism has been going down over the last year. The latest polls show that.

These are interesting, and I think very interesting, pieces of the pie that don't get reported.

BARKER: Who are they polling?

AMANPOUR: Huh?

BARKER: Who are they polling?

AMANPOUR: People.

GANNON: But, you know, I mean, I think that we need to give more complexity to the story. It's not that things are much better now than they were in 2001. There are so many things that have happened, and the problems are so diverse and the sources of the problems are often those that are allied with the U.S. or a part of the attempted solution. And so, sometimes we don't give the complexities of the story.

DICKEY: I don't think people are desperate for the complexities in Afghanistan.

GANNON: Oh, but I do.

DICKEY: I really don't.

(Cross talk.)

BARKER: I do think if you have a chance -- no, I disagree. I do think that if --

DICKEY: I don't. I really think we're completely at odds on this. My basic feeling the whole time I've been a foreign correspondent -- and not because I want it to be this way -- is that what the American people want from the rest of the world is to forget about it. They don't -- I mean, that's a hell of a thing to say here at the Council on Foreign Relations --

GANNON: No, no, I don't -- yeah.

(Laughter.)

DICKEY: -- but in fact, it has a really important impact on the way we do business, and especially as things evolve, because 30 years ago there was a presumption that people had a duty to read about foreign policy and we in the news business had a duty to cover things.

I mean, the Washington Post -- when I was at the Washington Post -- always allotted a certain amount of space on the front page to foreign news. It didn't matter how boring it was. They were going to put it out there because that was our duty, to put foreign news out there. That was a social responsibility.

Newsweek -- the whole time I've been at Newsweek, which is 25, 26 years, whenever they would to do polls, what's the least read part of Newsweek? Foreign news coverage. And it's not because we don't do a great job. We do a great job.

AMANPOUR: We all do a great job. (Chuckles.)

DICKEY: But it is -- it's not something that people basically wake up and say, gee, what am I going to read about Angola today?

AMANPOUR: See, I really disagree with you, and I think --

DICKEY: Well, I don't have a new show starting.

(Laughter.)

AMANPOUR: Yeah. I disagree with you because, look, it's almost like a straw man argument because if you ask somebody, do they care more about the latest health-care proposal that's going to affect them and their family or --

DICKEY: Well, they can't --

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: -- or the war in Angola, they're going to say of course the latest cure for cancer or whatever. That's not the issue. The issue is can we make vital stories about the world which affects people compelling? And there are umpteen places all over the journalistic spectrum that prove that you can, whether it's "60 Minutes," which does its share of foreign news and gets huge ratings, whether it's the newspapers, whether it's, you know, the occasional times we put it on CNN, including the documentaries, they do get high ratings.

And the issue is whether we're going to do it in a compelling way. And I think actually that is a big issue for journalists, and that's why I'm interested in talking about the content because, can we make it compelling, because it is vital and we know that.

BARKER: Well, I think --

AMANPOUR: Go ahead, Kim.

BARKER: I mean, I think good stories are always going to get readers, are always going to get viewers. People want to read stories about people. They don't necessarily want to read an eight-inch story about a budget in some foreign country.

But if you can present a story in a way that makes somebody feel like that person could be next door to me, that's something that I feel compelled to do something about; that's an injustice I feel compelled to write.

It doesn't really matter whether it's next door or if it's halfway around the world, especially when you've got conflicts such as in Afghanistan and Pakistan where we're actually paying a lot of U.S. taxpayer money. It could make those very compelling to people.

AMANPOUR: And Afghanistan is not a foreign news story.

BARKER: It's not. It's a very local story at this point. I mean, when you --

DICKEY: Well, but that's about the Americans who are in Afghanistan.

BARKER: Well, it's also about --

AMANPOUR: Yeah, but I mean --

(Cross talk.)

BARKER: -- about the Afghans and the sort of country that we're building there and the sort of money we're putting into, you know, a country where Karzai feels like it's okay to sign a law right before the elections saying that it's fine if a Shi'ite man starves his wife if she doesn't have sex with him enough.

I mean, these are interesting sort of debates, and if you frame them in those sorts of ways, people are going to read those stories.

DICKEY: Turning this on its head a little bit, I think it's interesting also -- a new phenomenon that we haven't talked about at all is the way certain foreign stories get sexy because they become kind of a cult media thing.

The Darfur story is a very interesting story, but it's not as interesting as it became when it hit the campuses and all of a sudden became the cause de jour.

BARKER: But then how did it become the cause de jour?

AMANPOUR: In the United States of America, the only thing protesting Darfur were grassroots movements. That's pretty amazing.

DICKEY: Well, grassroots movements --

AMANPOUR: On campus --

DICKEY: -- with George Clooney and Angelina Jolie --

AMANPOUR: Oh, not all of them.

(Laughter.)

BARKER: I mean, the way that they become the cause de jour is because of the coverage in the --

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: By the way, Nick Clooney spoke beautifully today at Walter Cronkite's memorial -- really, really beautifully.

And on that note, I'd like to invite members who are sitting here to join this conversation with their questions. And you must wait for the microphone, please, and speak directly into it when it gets to you. And stand and state your name and affiliation, and of course limit yourself to one question and not a speech. Thank you.

Where are the microphones? Okay. Right at the back of the room, is there a microphone? If you wouldn't mind standing.

QUESTIONER: Sure. Good evening and thank you. I'm Jonathan Burman. I'm with Dalberg, a consulting firm.

When we move into a new location, usually what we do is find the best locals we can find and hire them. We typically don't have people from here parachuting in or even going long term, putting on their safari coats and doing their jobs.

I just -- I'd voice some surprise that I don't see more of that on our nation's media. I wonder if you have reflections on why that would be and whether there are places that do that well.

GANNON: Well, I mean, I think every media has local people as well, you know? I mean, I don't think anybody doesn't have, you know, local staff and local reporters and stringers and -- you know. So, I mean, there's certainly a network, certainly for us anyway; I mean a very strong network of local people as well that are involved in collecting the news.

AMANPOUR: Can I just add to that question, because you were discussing this a little bit before. You were saying that part of our responsibility now, in order to not just get the story but to stay safe, is to build up the bank of local associates and contacts, et cetera.

Is that the way it's going to go, just as we see now in bylines on the major newspapers? It's the permanent writer and then local contributors.

(Cross talk.)

GANNON: I mean, I think they've always been involved. I think there has been more attention of late paid to -- you know, they're seeing people that are on the byline today. They were contributing, you know, three, four years ago, and now --

AMANPOUR: But unnamed.

GANNON: -- and unnamed, and there was a policy not to name them. Now they're being named as a matter of policy, which I think this very good because it also gives them the recognition.

DICKEY: But it also has to be said that they are particularly vulnerable in a way that we are not. I mean, we may be targets; we may be worth $100,000 or more, but --

(Laughter.)

MS. : Or more.

DICKEY: But it's -- for instance, no foreign -- briefly, one foreign national foreign correspondent was jailed in Iran. But our correspondent, who is Iranian and Canadian, is still in the slam three months now without any charges, and their attitude is we don't have to talk to the Canadians, we don't have to talk to you. He's our guy. We have got him.

And, you know, our guy in -- Sami Yousafzai in Pakistan and Afghanistan, you know, he has several bullet holes in him now. I'm amazed he's still alive.

MS. : I'm amazed too.

BARKER: There's also the issue of -- it's a fair question, but a lot of times you're working with people who are involved -- who are on the ground and there is a conflict, and they've got a dog in the fight. If you're a Panjshiri in Afghanistan, you're going to want Abdullah to win. If you're a Pashtun, you might be more predisposed towards Ghani or you might just hate Abdullah altogether.

So when you're a foreigner and you're in that sort of situation, you don't really have a dog in the fight and you can always leave. And you can also balance out these different sort of issues. I mean, in Lebanon -- Mohamad would probably know this better than I do -- there was the instance of the Reuters photographer who put smoke in the background of a particular picture to make it look at little bit more inflammatory and a little bit worse.

And he had a dog in the fight. And since we don't, we can sort of moderate that a little bit. At least that's what we're supposed to be doing.

GANNON: Yeah, and I think we work together. I don't think all of them, though -- I mean, you know, and I think that's very true but I think that -- and, again, it's like getting the best people for the job and really, really investigating that.

And I think you -- I think that's why you have a mix of both. You don't have a bureau that just has local people because, first, they don't -- the foreigner gives protection to them by the mere fact that the foreigner is there. So you don't just have a bureau that just has local people. You have to take care of your local staff, recognizing that.

But there are a lot of them that even though they are party to -- you know, their country is at war, it's just like when America was hit on September 11th. Well, that didn't make all the American journalists suddenly trying to, you know, rework it.

BARKER: It kind of did make us all jingoistic. Let's be honest. (Chuckles.)

GANNON: Well, no, I think you still had -- no, I think you still had some -- it became a difficult -- where our profession and our professionalism was really called into question, we really had to say --

BARKER: Yes, and it should have been.

GANNON: -- we have to cover both sides of the story. But we went into Afghanistan to the Taliban side when nobody else was because they had to be told.

BAZZI: It's a little simplistic and we should be careful not to say that every local journalist --

GANNON: Exactly.

BARKER: Oh, that's not what I'm saying at all.

BAZZI: -- is going to be sort of choosing sides.

BARKER: I'm saying it can happen.

BAZZI: And let me just quickly take this question from another side and to take us in another direction on this, which is that we're seeing a lot of very good journalism being produced, English-language reporting, and to American and Western standards, being produced in other parts of the world these days. New media --

AMANPOUR: Where? India?

BAZZI: India.

AMANPOUR: Pakistan?

BAZZI: Pakistan.

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: Al Jazeera English?

BAZZI: Al Jazeera English.

GANNON: Al Jazeera English.

AMANPOUR: Do you read that?

BARKER: Yeah, it's great.

GANNON: Yeah.

BAZZI: Yes, definitely. There is a new paper in Abu Dhabi funded by the government which, you know --

AMANPOUR: The National?

BAZZI: The National. Its coverage of Abu Dhabi is problematic but its coverage of the rest of the world actually --

(Laughter, cross talk.)

BARKER: -- Al Jazeera.

BAZZI: Well, but it actually has more foreign correspondents now than most Western news organizations. It has something like 20 --

(Cross talk.)

DICKEY: It's got a lot more money than most Western news organizations.

BAZZI: Yeah.

(Laughter.)

GANNON: Well, that's Al Jazeera. I mean, you know --

AMANPOUR: Can we get another question? Right here, sir. Can you wait for the microphone, please?

QUESTIONER: Seymour Topping, Columbia University. I'd like you to picture yourselves as senior editors and as an editor, and the young correspondents come up to see you. And they're going out for the first time. What do you tell them when they're going into a dangerous area how to stay alive, how to get the story and what other words while at risk?

AMANPOUR: Okay, Chris.

DICKEY: Well, I'd tell them not to go with Luke De La Hey (ph) into Iraq.

AMANPOUR: Our friend, the photographer, yeah.

DICKEY: The first thing I'd tell them is that they have to think about how important the story really is, whether they really want to take the risks that are involved for that story. Is it important to Americans? Is it important to their publication? Is it important to the audience that they want to appeal to? I mean, these are lines that I would draw.

I confess, I did not want to die in Abkhazia or South Ossetia. I was not interested in covering those wars. You went to those places, but I was not going to do those wars.

The Central American wars, absolutely. The Middle Eastern wars, absolutely. A lot of the African wars don't get covered because nobody wants to go die in Eastern Congo when nobody cares. And it's very hard to make anybody care. So that's the first thing -- how important is the story?

And then the second is to be careful, to get to know people, to not figure that you can just bluff your way through situations where people have guns and they would just as soon kill you as look at you.

GANNON: I think I just have to say I disagree. The last thing I would ever say to a young journalist going out is, think first about what the audience that you're writing for. I mean, I think, first, I would say, depending on where they're going, talk to them about the story that they're going into, about the place that they're going into, about the security concerns that they will find in that place. Talk to them about what their expectations are. What do they know about that place? What homework have they done? I mean, very detailed questions on, you know, the place in which they're going, that they've chosen to go.

But the last thing, I think, I would say anyway to somebody going in is, gee, think first about, is anybody going to want to read that story?

DICKEY: That's the AP for you.

(Laughter.)

GANNON: There you go! You can read anything you want.

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: In terms of -- this is also another increasingly debilitating cost center for the networks now. Because of the realities of all our colleagues who have been killed and wounded in action, our networks now, and probably major newspapers, spend huge amounts of money on war insurance, on war protection, on pre-field training, on a detail of guards.

It's huge. It's taking up I would say at least half the budget that, you know, half again of what it costs to just cover the story. And it in itself is becoming debilitating, because then you're out there surrounded by a cordon of guards. They're your guards, you've paid for them, and they're telling you whether you can leave or go out or cover this or that story.

And that, for a young journalist who's never been in the field before, who's never covered foreign news, who doesn't have their own war experience and hasn't built up their own instincts for the field, it's a killer.

MS. : And that's also for TV. It's difficult, too, because TV, you know, with a reporter with just a notebook in hand --

AMANPOUR: And I had to force my way out of that cordon of protection in order to do my documentary which I did in the last few weeks. And that's only because I had my own experience, and I can get away with it. But nobody else can. Not in my network. And obviously, our company wants to protect our people. We've had, you know, people killed. We've had people injured. And this is having a very, very, very difficult effect.

Let me just go to another question and then we'll go. Yeah. Go ahead.

QUESTIONER: Yeah. My name is Richard Chesnoffen (ph). I've been a foreign correspondent for 40 years, God help me. (Laughter.) Some of you raised the question of the dangers of being embedded with U.S. troops. But you were raising questions of physical danger of being embedded. I want to ask you about the other danger of being embedded. What do you think are the dangers of being embedded?

I was embedded with the Israeli troops during the Six-Day War, and I was one of the few guys who got to the front. I was embedded with the U.S. troops in the first Gulf War. And I was one of the few guys who was out to the front. But the question remains, there's a lot of criticism that says once you're embedded, you're more than embedded, you're in bed. And that's the question I'm putting to you.

BARKER: I mean, I've embedded a number of times. And I think I ended up on the U.S. military's do not embed list at some point. (Laughter.) I was told that I was referred to as the most dangerous reporter in Afghanistan, and a sign was actually hung up at a base about me.

And I say this tongue in cheek, but it's actually true. I do believe that you can embed, and you can do critical stories, and you can do fair stories, and then you can come out, and you can do critical, fair stories on the other side. I noticed this was a big fear in the beginning of the Iraq war. And I wasn't involved in that particular conflict. I was in Afghanistan at that time. Boy, was that a fun place.

But with Iraq, you would not have been able to get the same sort of images of what was happening if you didn't have people on the inside and also on the outside. We had both people who were embedded and we had people who were moving around outside.

And you can make the argument that you shouldn't embed at all. But when I've embedded, I've had the military telling me, this war is completely messed up. You get really honest reactions from the soldiers that you're never going to get from the people in charge. And that is the sort of, you know, the sort of honesty that you get from soldiers, not the pre-scripted things that they're told to say. But when they're actually being honest with you, there's no other way you can get that stuff.

GANNON: And that's the story -- the soldier's story. But then to do a story on the generals, I mean, then that's different. Are you able to get a complete story and a realistic story from that perspective.

MR. : No, and I don't think you should kid yourself about that.

GANNON: Exactly.

MR. : You know, when you've got these guys that look like the, you know, troopers from Star Wars standing next to you, it's very hard to interview the locals -- (Laughter.)

AMANPOUR: Yeah, but the point is --

BARKER: (Inaudible) -- translator who can't really, who doesn't tend to translate --

AMANPOUR: But the point is, because this is now really, again, vital, we pretty much now the military has got the bug. It's all about embedding. If you don't embed, you don't cover the military pretty much in these places. So you've got to figure out how to do it and how to keep doing your job. And the only way to do it is to embed, if you have to, but then you or somebody else has to be on the other side. They cannot be the only source of your information. They cannot be the only amount of information that you put out, whether it's with the American Army, the Israelis or whoever it may be.

MR. : Well, I think also embedding got a particularly bad name in 2003 when we were still all very jingoistic. And an awful lot of people were embedded. It was the only way you could move around in 2003. And I forget what percentage, but over 50 percent of the footage that came out of those embeds was of the correspondent with a microphone standing against a neutral background. It was not shots of the war, it was shots of the correspondent basically doing a hi mom on the air.

AMANPOUR: Maybe that was in the early days, but there have been amazing stories about the U.S. military --

BARKER: And it humanizes them. I mean, that's what --

MR. : I think it's evolved.

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: So there have been some valuable --

(Cross talk.)

BARKER: But it also takes the soldier and it makes him a human being or her a human being. And I think that's very important to show the real costs that people are paying over there.

AMANPOUR: I agree. Yeah, Bill -- microphone. Behind you, Bill.

QUESTIONER: Bill Drozdiak, formerly a correspondent with The Washington Post and now with the American Council on Germany. Just a question to follow on the previous discussion. Why do you think the press got to the story so wrong on the Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? Did the coverage fall prey to jingoistic but patriotism? Or were there other reasons?

MR. : Well, some of us didn't get it wrong, Bill. I mean --

GANNON: I didn't cover it at all. But to me --

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: It's a little off topic, but I think, in general, there was a lot of -- there was a general abdication of a journalist's role which is to rigorously question the premise of anything, whatever it might be. And people didn't do that. You know, your American press is very vigorous when it gets to a press conference. It asks the president. It asks the other officials. It really goes after all the angles, but in this case it didn't. And those who did often labored to decide.

The McClatchy newspapers were very, very vigorous in how they pursued this. There was that very key story that was front page in The New York Times about the so-called aluminum tube that was held up as evidence of the centrifuges. In fact, we broke it on CNN that in fact the IAEA said that it was merely for conventional power, it did nonetheless violate a rule, but it wasn't about WMD.

So I think also -- also -- many, many people believed that there were in fact some kind of WMD in Iraq, maybe not nuclear weapons since that has pretty much been debunked, but many people believed that what we had been told after the end of Desert Fox in '98 that there was all this precursor, there was, you know, all the elements for biological or chemical weapons, believed it was there.

But I think whether or not it was an immediate threat, that was never --

(Cross talk.)

DICKEY: But the problem -- you know, I covered this. God, did I cover this. I mean, in Newsweek, I have to say, and this is not just a joke, Newsweek did a great job doing this. The week that Colin Powell testified in front of the United Nations, we broke out, I think, five or six boxes poking holes in his testimony and talking about the implausible aspects of it.

A lot of people thought, including me, that Saddam probably had some kind of weapons of mass destruction. We all knew that he wanted them and wanted them badly, but ultimately that was not the biggest problem. The biggest problem was that we were going into this war and nobody would address the issue of occupying Iraq. Nobody would talk about that. We couldn't get anybody to address it.

We were writing. In Newsweek, we were writing stories. We wrote a story -- in February of 2003 -- saying these are the perils of victory. We're going to go in, and we're going to be stuck in this miserable country, and we're going to spend a lot of money and a lot of lives here.

These are the kinds of things that people were talking about. But again, people didn't want to hear it. The idea was we were going to war, this is going to be a big party, it's going to be a cakewalk, and then we're going to be welcomed with rice and flowers. And there was a whole construct that was wrong here, it's not just the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

AMANPOUR: Yes, sir.

QUESTIONER: My name is Rowan Paul (ph). I'm a lawyer. It follows on from this question. Aren't you a little concerned that you may be too negative on the United States government's position? And just by way of footnote about Iraq. Charles Duelfer and David Kaye both said Saddam could quickly reconstitute his chemical and biological weapons, and you never covered that as far as I know. But anyway, aren't you a little concerned that you, by devoting so much to the negative, that you're going to sway American public opinion --

MR. : Well, I don't know. I mean, considering that that is what was the driving impulse with the public to get involved in a war that costs us still about $2.5 billion a week and has killed 4,000-plus Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. I think, you know, I think we can be a little unkind at the government.

GANNON: But our job is to be critical. Our job is to question. Our job is to -- I mean, that's part of what the job is. I mean, it's not about -- you know, good story, bad story. I mean, that's what you're supposed to do fundamentally.

MR. : You know, and I have to say, yeah, I think it is. There was an old newspaper motto here in New York back in the 19th century that didn't say you should do all the news that's fit to print, it said, tell the truth and raise hell. And I think that that is a pretty good, slightly nihilistic attitude for most journalists to have. Because if you're always thinking about your responsibility to the government and to be nice to the government, you wind up just working for the government.

GANNON: And we have no responsibility to the government.

AMANPOUR: So this is very important, but it's slightly off our point -- (laughter) -- which is the changing environment for foreign correspondents. So let's have a question to that, please.

The lady in the back. Sorry, sir, I'll come back to you. This lady.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Lindsay (sp) Howard, Pengaea Group. It's harder to protect journalists now. Very few have a legacy as you, Ms. Amanpour, or Chris Dickey, who is a literary figure and whose father was poet laureate of the United States and has a wicked pen as well.

DICKEY: Thank you.

QUESTIONER: Is there more that international institutions and the business community can do to deal with this changing power relationship that the Taliban and al Qaeda and extremist groups have calculated very well? They use the media to their own purposes, for their own spectacles, but there's very little fear left of the repercussions. The power relationship has changed. Can you address that and how more of us might do more?

GANNON: I just want to say everybody uses or will try to use the media. I don't think there's anybody, whether it's government, non-government, Taliban, al Qaeda, Hamid Karzai, I mean, everybody will try to. I mean, our job really is to -- I mean, really, as journalists, our jobs are to document history and to try to give the information as best we can.

I mean, I don't think that it's up to us to say, gee, how can we make the Taliban afraid to attack journalists. You know, I mean, I think as journalists, anyway, in my opinion, is that our job is to try to get out there and get the information as best you can. You take the security precautions you can, but I don't think getting into some collaboration with business and communities that says somehow making it financially or somehow unbearable, if I understood the question --

AMANPOUR: I, on the other hand, would ask everybody, all the business people and the people who advertise in the United States to stand for something and stand for a really important profession, which is journalism, and start funding us and advertising and allowing us to do our jobs. So really -- (applause) --

(Cross talk.)

It's an absolutely obscenity. People want the news, people want the information, and they cut us off at the you-know-whats and prevent us from going out to do it. And I think it's time as a society that this society get its act together and start funding those people who are prepared to be the eyes and the ears of the rest of the nation or the rest of the whoever their readers or viewers are.

And you know, people want to stand for something. And maybe we should do a better job of encouraging that. People want to be associated with something that's good. And the profession of journalism is good. I mean, how many -- (laughs) -- how many people want to be seen with news celebrities and all the rest of it? You know, they feel that it is something important in their lives to get this information. So I say people should put their money where their mouth is and start advertising and funding us.

GANNON: Getting the newspapers back.

AMANPOUR: (Inaudible) -- and we'll take another question.

QUESTIONER: I'm Rod Totes (ph), a foreign correspondent who goes back to the Korean War and one of the few here, I suspect, who, like Richard Hartlett, worked side by side with Ed Murrow. This is a story about the scariness of war coverage in the old days.

Ed Murrow came to the Pusan beachhead in Taegu in the middle of August, 1950 and was embedded in the 8th Army, embedded, that is to say, on a sleeping bag in a schoolhouse where about one dozen of us were spending the night.

In the middle of the night, although dead tired, we were all awakened by machine gun fire, and we all hit the floor, except for Ed Murrow, who went right on scraping his teeth. It sounded exactly like machine gun fire going off. I think that story has never been told about Ed Murrow before. (Laughter, applause.)

AMANPOUR: Well, you know what? We are very close to the end of our time. I would very much like to end on that very fun, up note and remembering the icon of our profession. And I think that's a good thing to say good-bye with. Thank you very much indeed.

(Applause.)

Before you go, I forgot to say, I'm not sure whether you were coming back to say, you know, to introduce the next part of the program or whether I should.

Okay, thank you, Richard.

You're all welcome to a cocktail which starts now and goes on until 8:30. Thanks very much for coming and don't forget the sessions tomorrow. (Applause.)

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

-------------------------

RICHARD N. HAASS: Let me welcome one and all to the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship of the Council on Foreign Relations. Thank you all for being here. And, just to be clear in the way of housekeeping, the entire two-day event is on the record. I believe the media in this room knows what that means. And it's being webcast live on the CFR website, CFR.org. Please bookmark it.

Now I'm going to say the most preposterous thing of the evening. Please turn off your Blackberries. I'm sure there's no one who works for a media organization who needs to stay in touch. So please turn them off, though, because they do interfere with the sound system here.

Let me begin by giving a special welcome to the nearly two dozen former fellows who have come from near and far, as well as to Kim Barker, who just arrived from Pakistan two days ago. We're also delighted to have a fellow from the first decade of the fellowship. Harry Heintzen was selected in 1956 by a committee of three -- (laughter) -- one of whom, I should point out, was Edward R. Murrow himself. Yeah, not bad.

So let me ask all the fellows in the room to stand and acknowledge those who are joining us by live webcast. So, please, those who are former fellows, let's see who you are. (Applause.)

You will see in your program a special dedication to two former fellows -- Elizabeth Neuffer and Welles Hangen, who were killed in the line of duty. And this underscores just how dangerous this line of work can be. Indeed, we meet here just one day following the escape of Stephen Farrell of the New York Times in Afghanistan. And while Maziar Bahari of Newsweek and others are imprisoned in Iran.

It's not just dangerous work; it's important work. I often note that the world is not Las Vegas. What happens there does not stay there. Instead, it comes here and it affects life here. And foreign correspondents provide not just history's first draft, but the reporting that is essential if the citizenry in a democracy is to understand the world, and if a democracy such as ours is to be able to make informed decisions about the world.

I'd like to thank the members of our Murrow Selection Committee, chaired this year by Carla Robbins of the New York Times. Each year in the late fall the committee has the daunting task of making a selection from a pool of extraordinarily talented nominees. And since 1949, approximately one per year, the council has been honored to host over 60 fellows, many of whom still devote their life to journalism.

And we would not have been able to do all this without funding from the Carnegie Corporation in those early years and later from the CBS Foundation, when the fellowship was actually renamed the Edward R. Murrow Fellowship in 1965.

On behalf of the council, I want to publicly thank the Ford Foundation for providing the funding this year, part of which is in a challenge grant. And I want to thank Time Warner for being the first to respond. And with more support, we'll be able to keep this fellowship going, but also to expand the work we do on this set of issues that we're going to be discussing tonight and tomorrow, and to make permanent an annual event such as this. So this is a fellowship with a grand tradition and we are ambitious about what we would like to do in the future.

As I expect many of you know, the goal of the program is to promote the quality of responsible and discerning journalism that exemplified the work of Edward R. Murrow during his life. What some of you may not know, though, is he was an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and became a member at the tender age of 25. He therefore lowered the average age of this organization considerably -- (laughter) -- and were he still alive, he would probably be far from the oldest member of this organization. (Laughter.) But I digress.

Richard Hottelet, a journalist and a Council on Foreign Relations member for more than half a century now, who worked closely with Ed Murrow, is here with us tonight, and Dick talks about Murrow as -- and I quote him here -- "a driven man; driven to tell people what was going on in the world." And Dick said that that is what moved him and he took it very seriously.

And the result is a nine-month fellowship at the council which offers journalists who cover international affairs the rare opportunity to engage in the luxury of sustained analysis and writing, free from the deadlines and many of the pressures that characterize the life of a journalist.

I hope you will meet the fellows tonight. And we've put red dots on their nametags just to highlight them at the reception afterwards. You can read about them on CFR.org/Murrow, which is a new online feature that was launched today.

Now, I understand that -- (laughter) -- coincidentally. Now, I understand that we do not operate in a vacuum here. And rumor has it that an important speech will be given later this evening. So, for those of you who want to watch it, we have set up a monitor here, I believe -- will be set up at about 8:00 tonight. Is that correct? Yep. Heads are nodding in the north-south direction.

So, for those of you who want to watch that tonight, you can. For those of you who want to continue partying, however, that will be an option too, and we will not report you to your bosses if you choose the drinking over the viewing.

Tomorrow morning there is going to be three more sessions, and it's an extraordinary lineup of subjects and of individuals, as you will see in the program for today.

We're honored to have someone who is special in many ways moderating our first session. It's CNN's chief international correspondent. She's also the anchor of a new prime time half-hour program on CNN coincidentally titled "Amanpour." (Laughter.) It's amazing how they think of these things. It launches in this country on September 21 on CNN International and the U.S. version will launch on September 27.

In her nearly two decades as an international correspondent, Christiane has reported on just about all the major crises around the world, and her work has earned her Television Academy Honors: nine news and documentary Emmys, four George Foster Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award, and even an Edward R. Murrow Award.

The only thing missing from her resume as best I can tell is she has never been an Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is great to take time out to do this tonight.

She will introduce the extraordinary group of individuals that we have assembled. Christiane, thank you, and over to you.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Thank you very much, Richard. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you to everybody who I'm going to introduce in a second, but I just wanted to say that I was at the Walter Cronkite Memorial today and I was reminded and re-inspired about the power of this business and about the power of this profession.

And he was not just America's Uncle Walter nor America's favorite uncle and anchor; he was a war correspondent. That is how he started back in World War II. And the tribute to him played by veterans of World War II and others, mentioning all of what he did throughout those years and beyond, were really a stark and wonderful, timely reminder about how important this profession is and how amazingly he wielded that profession, and also a reminder, which we'll discuss today, about the threats and the changing environment to this profession. So, without further ado, let me introduce our distinguished panel.

First here is Kim Barker, who is about to be this year's Edward R. Murrow Fellow, and she is the former South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune. That means Afghanistan, Pakistan, the tsunami, all the big stories that have happened in that region over the last several years.

Next to her is Mohamad Bazzi, the adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, and of course a former Edward R. Murrow fellow.

And Kathy Gannon of the Associated Press, special correspondent who has also covered all that has to be covered in the region of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the very important pre-9/11 and post-9/11 realities in that region.

And over to the far left over there, my friend, Christopher Dickey, who is the Paris bureau chief -- it's a great, great job -- (laughter) -- and the Middle East editor for Newsweek, based in Paris, and of course also a former Murrow fellow.

Now, there are many aspects to the dangers and the changing environment for a foreign correspondent and a war correspondent. There is the actual danger, the physical danger. There is injury and death. There is also the dearth of foreign correspondents.

There's the different delivery systems, there is the questions about content, and of course there is our changing journalistic environment. So we're going to try to get to all of those. And of course when I introduce and ask them questions they're also free to jump in and talk amongst themselves and not just wait for me to direct them.

Let me first talk about, obviously, what was on the front page of the New York Times today, and that's Stephen Farrell and what happened. And it appears that he was rescued by a British commando team. But he came out; his fixer was killed.

Let me ask Kathy first, who's really worked in that area a lot, what are the dangers today on the ground for foreign correspondents going to try to cover areas such as insurgent-filled parts of Afghanistan?

KATHY GANNON: The dangers are very real. And I think the problems too is you have so many that just come in briefly and quickly, and so they don't know the environment very well, and so they maybe don't do enough research and so they put themselves in harm's way when maybe a little bit more research would have helped.

I think that we've also, post-9/11, with the whole practice of embeds and that, that we've also sort of been maybe a little bit confusing to the people we cover.

AMANPOUR: What, do you think they're getting mixed messages about what side you're on, or are you on a side?

GANNON: Yeah, I think sometimes, you know, there is the mixed messages because they can't differentiate. You're standing beside a soldier but you're taking notes. And you know who you are but, you know, there might be people in that environment that, you know, they don't -- they could be Taliban, they could be -- and they don't differentiate anymore perhaps between, you know, whether they're military, non-military.

I also think that we -- to me what is a big concern is our fixers and our translators and that, that we somehow don't give them the -- we take risks unnecessarily with them. We aren't being responsible enough about them.

There have been several cases in Afghanistan, for example, where the fixers have been killed; an Italian who was -- they paid for him and then his fixer journalist -- I mean, he was really a journalist; he wasn't just a fixer -- I mean, not even just, but he was beheaded.

The other day the -- you know, I mean, there's so many instances where our fixers -- just last week a close colleague friend of mine was shot in the head in Peshawar because he had gone and interviewed Taliban and they didn't like how it was reported. And he had done it for different organizations, and he was targeted and was killed.

So I think that it's become much more insecure, and I think that we have not maybe risen to the challenge in how to make our job possible in this environment by changing things a little.

AMANPOUR: This is -- let me just go to Chris for a second.

CHRISTOPHER S. DICKEY: I think there is a big structural problem here. We're just not as important as we used to be. I mean, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, you went and covered a war and if you were the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, god knows, you were an important person. Everybody recognized that.

And that was really -- if they wanted to get their message out, it didn't matter what side of the conflict they were on or you were covering because they had to talk to you. Now they don't have to talk to us. They've got lots of people to talk to.

I mean, al Qaeda has its own television network, for god's sake, and they don't feel that they need us. That right there makes us much more vulnerable -- much more vulnerable than we used to be, and it makes the people who work with us more vulnerable as well.

Always in wars, you're always going to say what you're seeing. People parachute in; they get killed. We always say that. People take too many risks. They take -- they make their stringers and their fixers take too many risks.

Those are all givens. That has happened for a long time. People have been killed; fixers have been killed for a long time. But there is no deterrent anymore. There is really nothing that keeps them distant.

And I think this was really clear as of -- it was getting clearer over time, but by 2003 in Iraq it was really clear. Newsweek made a decision we were not going to do any embeds. We had people -- me, Rod Nordland, Scott Johnson, a lot of people -- we all had decided to try and get into Iraq through different angles, different approaches, and the people who went across the line from Kuwait lasted about an hour before they literally had their cars shot out from under them.

AMANPOUR: So how did the others get in?

DICKEY: People went in through Kurdistan. In fact, Scott Johnson is the guy I'm thinking of. He was a young correspondent and worked with me a lot. He and Luc Delahaye went in, and Luc got through the checkpoints and Scott had his car shot out from under him and we thought for about 24 hours that we'd lost him. What he wound up doing was sticking out his thumb, hitching a ride with the military and embedding after that because that was the only way to stay alive.

AMANPOUR: You wanted to add something about --

KIM BARKER: Well, I just wanted to say that I actually don't think there is a mixed message, and I think we're very important. We're dollar signs. And people see us -- we're white. A lot of us are white. We're going down the road. We're going to meet the Taliban. I mean, what could be easier to kidnap? I mean, what could be easier to get $100,000 here, $200,000 here?

That's the change. We're now not seen as a reporter; we're seen as a target. We're seen as a way to get a lot of money, and we're seen as a way to get their message out very easily. They kidnap us, I mean, it's going to be all over the front pages of different newspapers. That is, if we're not --

AMANPOUR: So what do you do?

BARKER: Well, what you do is -- look, in the last two-and-a-half years, as far as I can tell -- and there could be more, but there have been at least eight journalists kidnapped in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Every single one of them have been somebody who has parachuted in to either Pakistan or Afghanistan and who have gone there specifically with the intent of going out and getting that story that no resident correspondent is, I guess, brave enough to get. The fact of the matter is we kind of know the situation more and we're not going to go driving off to meet the Taliban. And at a certain point it just was no longer seen as safe to do.

So that's the goal. You just have got to be safer. You don't go off driving off to meet the Taliban anymore. I mean, one of these journalists was actually a Dutch porn columnist, seriously. And then there has been this whole movement to censor the news. We don't write about it anymore. A journalist is kidnapped, we no longer write about it. An aid worker is kidnapped on the side of the street, we write about it.

GANNON: And we write about some journalists that have been kidnapped.

BARKER: Yeah.

GANNON: We don't write about other journalists that have been kidnapped.

BARKER: Exactly.

GANNON: And if you don't --

BARKER: And it's a double standard --

(Cross talk.)

GANNON: That we're party to.

BARKER: That we're definitely party to.

MOHAMAD BAZZI: Let me add an observation just on what Chris and what Kim said. I think we're also seeing a new strain of Islamic militants who are specifically targeting journalists and who are targeting aid workers as well and NGO workers, and who aren't making that distinction that maybe 20 years ago or 30 years ago in the terrorism of the 1970s you rarely had. You had many factions of the PLO but you rarely had a faction that would actively take journalists hostage and want to kill them.

And that's something that needs to be taken into account by news organizations and by all of us, and that's a grander issue than the mechanics of resident correspondents or someone parachuting in is there are groups and people who want to take journalists hostage and want to kill them.

AMANPOUR: And since this is fundamental, because our job -- I mean, I was in Afghanistan in March for the latest documentary I did -- our job is to go out there and be the eyes and ears and get the facts on the ground. Is there a way that we can push back against this as correspondents on the ground?

GANNON: But I think part of our job too is to have contacts. I mean, we're supposed to be building contacts --

AMANPOUR: Right.

GANNON: -- so you really should have contacts within the Taliban. You should have contacts within the military. You should have contacts -- and I'm not saying that it's easy and I'm not saying -- but, I mean, that's -- as you say, I mean, we have to go out and get the story.

Whether they're targeting you specifically as a journalist so that they can, you know, make -- and it's true; we're dollar signs. I think anyone that is out there is a dollar sign for so many of the criminal element.

AMANPOUR: But they've tried to focus on how do we get the story, get the news, verify it, verify the sources and deliver the information to readers, listeners, viewers.

BARKER: A lot of times you're having to -- I mean, having been in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than five years at this point, you're having to get people to come to you. You've got to verify who they are and you have them come to a safe place and you meet them in the provincial capital or you meet them in Kabul or you meet them in, you know, the Continental Hotel in Kandahar, and you do it that way.

You just have to take precautions. Sometimes you're using local staff. A lot of times when you're going out in Afghanistan or Pakistan you're working through the tribal elders. You're getting a guarantee of safety before you go anywhere, and you're working through the system that exists in Pashtun tribal culture. You're not just sort of driving out there to a scene to see what happens; you're actually taking precautions.

AMANPOUR: So it works.

BARKER: It can work.

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: But it has to be re-tailored.

BARKER: It can work, but --

GANNON: It can work, and it has to be retailored and you have to do the basic things that journalists do -- you know, develop contacts, go out and try to, you know, meet people. You know, I mean, the fundamental things that we've -- this is the way --

(Cross talk.)

DICKEY: Well, this is what really speaks to the issue of parachuting in, I mean, is that you can't begin to just crash into an environment where people are looking to kidnap you, or even 30 years ago in Central America, places like that, you could go back and forth across the lines and eventually you would get shot doing that.

But you would try to develop sources on every side and people who would talk to you and trust you, even if they were connected with organizations like the death squads, much less groups like the guerrillas, the Sandinistas.

AMANPOUR: Absolutely.

DICKEY: Always you've been able to do that, but it takes time. You have to spend a lot of time --

AMANPOUR: And money -- time and money because to have those --

BARKER: Which we don't have anymore.

AMANPOUR: -- permanent correspondents on the ground, permanent producers, permanent fixers to build up the bank of contacts and to really, you know, make the terrain familiar terrain if not friendly terrain, it takes time and money.

What do you tell your students, young people who say they want to go into this job? I mean, they come up to me all the time -- I want to do what you do. I want to do what you do -- and I'm afraid these days to tell them to go and do it. I do, I tell them, listen, it's going to be very difficult; it's going to be dangerous. I advise you to go and try it, but no -- (laughter) -- yeah, I do, I do.

BARKER: Good luck on that one.

DICKEY: And don't parachute in.

(Laughter.)

BAZZI: I tell them there are places where they're just never going to be able to afford the kidnap and ransom insurance, so we get a certain part of the globe out of the way. But, I mean, it's very difficult. But although a lot of young students are interested in doing what many of us did in terms of living someplace and really developing those contacts.

I mean, unfortunately they don't have the institutional support in most of those cases, but they're definitely willing to invest the time and the years it will take to do this.

But my concern, my question is to everyone else is also -- there are always going to be people in this new landscape, and I think we saw this after Danny Pearl. There is a set of people who is going to not only see us as dollar signs, but see us as ideological targets, and how do we make the distinction when we're dealing with those people? I mean, how do we set systems in place where you know there is going to be a risk?

GANNON: I think to a certain extent -- I mean, it's not our business whether they see us as ideological targets or they ---

BAZZI: But it is our business --

GANNON: I mean, obviously it's to do --

AMANPOUR: But explain --

BAZZI: -- if they're going to behead us.

AMANPOUR: Kathy, explain, because you were allowed into Afghanistan by the Taliban.

GANNON: Yeah, the last three weeks of the bombing. And that was -- you know, I mean, and ideologically they certainly didn't relate to me, nor did they relate to me because I was a woman. So, you know, with two counts there I was -- but I had built the contacts over time.

I had been to the front line when they were trying to get into Kabul. I'd been to the front line while they were in Kabul. I didn't get involved in that we were ideologically different. I didn't -- I really tried to do the story just as a journalist and to cover both sides and to try and as best -- I mean, I wrote stories about training camps, I wrote stories about Mullah Omar, I wrote stories about women.

So I think that there is a way to do it because -- I mean, this is what I'm saying. I do believe that there is a way to do the job that is still fundamentally the same job, that you were saying, where we -- I was there to try and tell the story and to try to give both sides as best we can.

And, yes, of course -- you know, I mean, ideologically we're different, but I'm not so sure that we should get involved in those -- you know, I mean, for sure they see us as dollar signs, so you take precautions. You know, you limit your risk as best you can but you don't stop taking risks.

DICKEY: No, I don't think any of us has stopped taking risks.

GANNON: Yeah, exactly, so you try to limit them. You know, it's sort of like risk management as opposed to --

AMANPOUR: Now, we'll come back to this, but what about -- okay, there is the risk on the ground, obviously, that we've talked about. And then there's the risk back at headquarters, and that is the dearth of foreign correspondents and the cutbacks and the really paring down of any kind of international news-gathering operation. You seem to be a victim of that.

BARKER: I'm the poster child for it. (Chuckles.)

AMANPOUR: Explain.

BARKER: Well, at the end of March I basically got a phone call and was told that the Tribune was cutting back most of its foreign staff. Two correspondents survived and they were folded into the LA Times foreign correspondents staff.

It happened very quietly. Nobody really talked that much about it. And I think the Tribune Company tried to sell this as, we're consolidating, we're improving, but in reality a lot of people lost their jobs. We were called back to Chicago, but when once you get the bug of being overseas, the whole idea of going back and covering metro and writing about school board meetings, while very important, is nothing you really want to do.

So I decided to actually quit my job and to see what I could make of free-lancing. I did not yet know at that point that I got this fellowship, and I was offered various opportunities including one from a major newspaper, that I shall not name because this is on the record and I want to preserve my career as a journalist -- (laughter) -- that was for $30,000 a year -- $30,000 a year to cover Afghanistan, to cover a war zone. I was going to be super-stringer.

Out of that money ---

DICKEY: It's cheap there. It's cheap living there.

(Laughter.)

BARKER: Yeah. Out of that money I was supposed to pay for my rent, I was supposed to pay for my fixer, and I was supposed to pay for my health insurance, and I was supposed to be glad to have a job. These are the jobs that are open to foreign correspondents now. So I have to thank the Council on Foreign Relations actually -- (laughter) -- for giving me this opportunity to allow me to --

GANNON: But, see, there are a lot of people who will take that. It just --

BARKER: Well, they found a guy who was about 15 years, 10 years younger than I was and he was willing to take it, you know --

GANNON: Absolutely.

BARKER: -- because it's an opportunity.

GANNON: But then what kind of coverage are they going to get?

BARKER: Well, and what sort of safety net does he --

DICKEY: Well, I think there's a couple of forces coming together here. It's not just that everybody is facing economic cutbacks and the industry is rethinking. I think there's real news fatigue going on, and this goes in cycles.

I mean, after '89, '90, '91, by the time we got to '93, '94, after the fall of the wall, after the Iraq War, after all those things that happened, nobody wanted to know anything about foreign news. We didn't have a big crisis, but everybody was cutting back. Everybody was cutting back budgets. Nobody cared.

AMANPOUR: See, I would posit a different take on that. I think the bosses didn't want to know about foreign news because it was expensive. And there was a new president in the United States, Bill Clinton at the time, who didn't know anything about the foreign environment. I mean, that's not an insult; it's just he came in having no experience. And everybody thought, oh, he's going to shift way over to domestic and all the rest of it.

I think one of the most hopeful things that I've seen recently regarding this news fatigue cliche is what the AP and others have done in terms of research and studies where they found that, yes, many Americans, many people say they have news fatigue, but when you ask them what that means and you go into that, it basically means that they're tired of the superficial factoids and headlines that they get bombarded with. They're tired of the constant breaking news, but what they really want is --

DICKEY: Is your show -- your new show.

(Laughter, cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: No, but to me this is the hopeful sort of rope that you can hang onto for our business because we are slowly being killed off. And really, in fact, people actually want it. They want more information and understanding. They want more depth, context, perspective, intelligence and all the rest of it.

And so I think that's a real sort of really hopeful thing that we can grab onto and use, but the question is, you know, will we? It's building kind of slowly. At CNN you have the Fareed Zakaria program, which was the first foreign policy program to go on CNN domestic in years and years and years, and it holds its own and people are interested because -- I mean, I really believe if we build it, they'll come, and I'm wondering whether you think that and whether you try to persuade your bosses of it. I mean, I --

DICKEY: Actually my boss is Fareed.

(Laughter.)

GANNON: And he's convinced.

(Laughter.)

BARKER: I think the traditional sort of newspaper having a bunch of foreign correspondents out there for newspapers, that model is gone. And you can hardly blame the newspapers; they're bankrupt. Where do you cut?

I mean, it's a wonderful, fabulous luxury to have foreign correspondents for medium-sized, good, strong newspapers, but it no longer exists and we have to come up with -- it's great to keep whining about it -- we have to come up with a way to actually solve it and a way to sort of come up with different ways to have foreign coverage and different voices so you just don't have the wires and the major news organizations.

Whether that means people are blogging, whether that means you've got different nonprofits sending out foreign correspondents, whether that means that I'm no longer the South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune and instead I brand myself as I'm Kim Barker, foreign expert, and I've got a webpage, and I go out there and I --

GANNON: Like GlobalPost.

BARKER: Yeah, and -- but, yeah, like I would not get out of bed for what they pay although I very much respect what GlobalPost is doing. It's just not enough money to make it worth it.

AMANPOUR: Mohamad, what do you -- you obviously have to think about these things when you're teaching and when you are trying to figure out the future of war coverage and international news coverage. Where do you think the solution lies? Is it in the bloggers or the, you know, underpaid?

BAZZI: So I get the hardest question. (Laughter.) That's just because I teach.

I think ultimately it will probably be a combination of all of these things -- the GlobalPost model -- and we'll hear from Charlie Sennot tomorrow. I don't know if he's here today. He can defend himself. That model -- oh, there he is. There's Charlie.

DICKEY: Oh, there he is.

BAZZI: That model will probably be something that we're moving towards and, you know, there has to be -- but there has to be ways for that to pay more, and there has to be ways, maybe by partnering --

One of the things I think Charlie does in Afghanistan is he partners with the Institute for War & Peace Reporting and gets people who already have positions and who -- probably see more people like myself, people in academia and who are writing and using time, travel and trying to string together grants and things like that to do this kind of work.

It probably won't happen on the same scale that it happened for the past 20 years, so we might see a smaller scale. We'll probably see a greater role for places like CFR and places like Carnegie and places that are funding smaller efforts but independent efforts because that begins to raise all sorts of other issues.

AMANPOUR: And then I want to ask another question about content. Again, one of the lines that -- one of the memories about Walter Cronkite at the service today, one of his friends said, you know, he was always, you know, thinking and looking and trying to figure out what the latest landscape is. And he was not so much, quote, "concerned with the revolutions in the delivery systems, but about who's minding the content."

And, you know, my question is, do we sort of -- not price ourselves but work ourselves out of public trust and into the sort of news fatigue zone when we only report the bad news? And I know that sounds sort of Pollyannaish but let me just give you an example.

The latest debate over the war in Afghanistan with all these polls -- including a recent CNN poll that says that growing numbers of Americans, now a majority of Americans, appear to want the troops out of Afghanistan. And then the next question -- do you believe the U.S. is winning the war in Afghanistan -- and the answer was no by a majority. But then the next question -- do you believe the United States can win the war in Afghanistan and the answer was yes by a significant majority. But nobody ever gets to that question. It's only the headline of the bad news that's only ever written at the top.

DICKEY: That's what George Bush used to say all the time.

(Laughter.)

AMANPOUR: Well, in some ways, perhaps in that regard, he may have had a point.

(Laughter.)

But, very seriously, you know, this is a huge national debate which is not happening right now: What is at stake in Afghanistan? Has anything good happened? Should one continue to build on it or should one cut and run?

And the indicators show that in every way -- in a lot of important ways, things are better in Afghanistan than they were in 2001, and one can build on it, including the fact that in the country you cover, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, extremism has been going down over the last year. The latest polls show that.

These are interesting, and I think very interesting, pieces of the pie that don't get reported.

BARKER: Who are they polling?

AMANPOUR: Huh?

BARKER: Who are they polling?

AMANPOUR: People.

GANNON: But, you know, I mean, I think that we need to give more complexity to the story. It's not that things are much better now than they were in 2001. There are so many things that have happened, and the problems are so diverse and the sources of the problems are often those that are allied with the U.S. or a part of the attempted solution. And so, sometimes we don't give the complexities of the story.

DICKEY: I don't think people are desperate for the complexities in Afghanistan.

GANNON: Oh, but I do.

DICKEY: I really don't.

(Cross talk.)

BARKER: I do think if you have a chance -- no, I disagree. I do think that if --

DICKEY: I don't. I really think we're completely at odds on this. My basic feeling the whole time I've been a foreign correspondent -- and not because I want it to be this way -- is that what the American people want from the rest of the world is to forget about it. They don't -- I mean, that's a hell of a thing to say here at the Council on Foreign Relations --

GANNON: No, no, I don't -- yeah.

(Laughter.)

DICKEY: -- but in fact, it has a really important impact on the way we do business, and especially as things evolve, because 30 years ago there was a presumption that people had a duty to read about foreign policy and we in the news business had a duty to cover things.

I mean, the Washington Post -- when I was at the Washington Post -- always allotted a certain amount of space on the front page to foreign news. It didn't matter how boring it was. They were going to put it out there because that was our duty, to put foreign news out there. That was a social responsibility.

Newsweek -- the whole time I've been at Newsweek, which is 25, 26 years, whenever they would to do polls, what's the least read part of Newsweek? Foreign news coverage. And it's not because we don't do a great job. We do a great job.

AMANPOUR: We all do a great job. (Chuckles.)

DICKEY: But it is -- it's not something that people basically wake up and say, gee, what am I going to read about Angola today?

AMANPOUR: See, I really disagree with you, and I think --

DICKEY: Well, I don't have a new show starting.

(Laughter.)

AMANPOUR: Yeah. I disagree with you because, look, it's almost like a straw man argument because if you ask somebody, do they care more about the latest health-care proposal that's going to affect them and their family or --

DICKEY: Well, they can't --

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: -- or the war in Angola, they're going to say of course the latest cure for cancer or whatever. That's not the issue. The issue is can we make vital stories about the world which affects people compelling? And there are umpteen places all over the journalistic spectrum that prove that you can, whether it's "60 Minutes," which does its share of foreign news and gets huge ratings, whether it's the newspapers, whether it's, you know, the occasional times we put it on CNN, including the documentaries, they do get high ratings.

And the issue is whether we're going to do it in a compelling way. And I think actually that is a big issue for journalists, and that's why I'm interested in talking about the content because, can we make it compelling, because it is vital and we know that.

BARKER: Well, I think --

AMANPOUR: Go ahead, Kim.

BARKER: I mean, I think good stories are always going to get readers, are always going to get viewers. People want to read stories about people. They don't necessarily want to read an eight-inch story about a budget in some foreign country.

But if you can present a story in a way that makes somebody feel like that person could be next door to me, that's something that I feel compelled to do something about; that's an injustice I feel compelled to write.

It doesn't really matter whether it's next door or if it's halfway around the world, especially when you've got conflicts such as in Afghanistan and Pakistan where we're actually paying a lot of U.S. taxpayer money. It could make those very compelling to people.

AMANPOUR: And Afghanistan is not a foreign news story.

BARKER: It's not. It's a very local story at this point. I mean, when you --

DICKEY: Well, but that's about the Americans who are in Afghanistan.

BARKER: Well, it's also about --

AMANPOUR: Yeah, but I mean --

(Cross talk.)

BARKER: -- about the Afghans and the sort of country that we're building there and the sort of money we're putting into, you know, a country where Karzai feels like it's okay to sign a law right before the elections saying that it's fine if a Shi'ite man starves his wife if she doesn't have sex with him enough.

I mean, these are interesting sort of debates, and if you frame them in those sorts of ways, people are going to read those stories.

DICKEY: Turning this on its head a little bit, I think it's interesting also -- a new phenomenon that we haven't talked about at all is the way certain foreign stories get sexy because they become kind of a cult media thing.

The Darfur story is a very interesting story, but it's not as interesting as it became when it hit the campuses and all of a sudden became the cause de jour.

BARKER: But then how did it become the cause de jour?

AMANPOUR: In the United States of America, the only thing protesting Darfur were grassroots movements. That's pretty amazing.

DICKEY: Well, grassroots movements --

AMANPOUR: On campus --

DICKEY: -- with George Clooney and Angelina Jolie --

AMANPOUR: Oh, not all of them.

(Laughter.)

BARKER: I mean, the way that they become the cause de jour is because of the coverage in the --

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: By the way, Nick Clooney spoke beautifully today at Walter Cronkite's memorial -- really, really beautifully.

And on that note, I'd like to invite members who are sitting here to join this conversation with their questions. And you must wait for the microphone, please, and speak directly into it when it gets to you. And stand and state your name and affiliation, and of course limit yourself to one question and not a speech. Thank you.

Where are the microphones? Okay. Right at the back of the room, is there a microphone? If you wouldn't mind standing.

QUESTIONER: Sure. Good evening and thank you. I'm Jonathan Burman. I'm with Dalberg, a consulting firm.

When we move into a new location, usually what we do is find the best locals we can find and hire them. We typically don't have people from here parachuting in or even going long term, putting on their safari coats and doing their jobs.

I just -- I'd voice some surprise that I don't see more of that on our nation's media. I wonder if you have reflections on why that would be and whether there are places that do that well.

GANNON: Well, I mean, I think every media has local people as well, you know? I mean, I don't think anybody doesn't have, you know, local staff and local reporters and stringers and -- you know. So, I mean, there's certainly a network, certainly for us anyway; I mean a very strong network of local people as well that are involved in collecting the news.

AMANPOUR: Can I just add to that question, because you were discussing this a little bit before. You were saying that part of our responsibility now, in order to not just get the story but to stay safe, is to build up the bank of local associates and contacts, et cetera.

Is that the way it's going to go, just as we see now in bylines on the major newspapers? It's the permanent writer and then local contributors.

(Cross talk.)

GANNON: I mean, I think they've always been involved. I think there has been more attention of late paid to -- you know, they're seeing people that are on the byline today. They were contributing, you know, three, four years ago, and now --

AMANPOUR: But unnamed.

GANNON: -- and unnamed, and there was a policy not to name them. Now they're being named as a matter of policy, which I think this very good because it also gives them the recognition.

DICKEY: But it also has to be said that they are particularly vulnerable in a way that we are not. I mean, we may be targets; we may be worth $100,000 or more, but --

(Laughter.)

MS. : Or more.

DICKEY: But it's -- for instance, no foreign -- briefly, one foreign national foreign correspondent was jailed in Iran. But our correspondent, who is Iranian and Canadian, is still in the slam three months now without any charges, and their attitude is we don't have to talk to the Canadians, we don't have to talk to you. He's our guy. We have got him.

And, you know, our guy in -- Sami Yousafzai in Pakistan and Afghanistan, you know, he has several bullet holes in him now. I'm amazed he's still alive.

MS. : I'm amazed too.

BARKER: There's also the issue of -- it's a fair question, but a lot of times you're working with people who are involved -- who are on the ground and there is a conflict, and they've got a dog in the fight. If you're a Panjshiri in Afghanistan, you're going to want Abdullah to win. If you're a Pashtun, you might be more predisposed towards Ghani or you might just hate Abdullah altogether.

So when you're a foreigner and you're in that sort of situation, you don't really have a dog in the fight and you can always leave. And you can also balance out these different sort of issues. I mean, in Lebanon -- Mohamad would probably know this better than I do -- there was the instance of the Reuters photographer who put smoke in the background of a particular picture to make it look at little bit more inflammatory and a little bit worse.

And he had a dog in the fight. And since we don't, we can sort of moderate that a little bit. At least that's what we're supposed to be doing.

GANNON: Yeah, and I think we work together. I don't think all of them, though -- I mean, you know, and I think that's very true but I think that -- and, again, it's like getting the best people for the job and really, really investigating that.

And I think you -- I think that's why you have a mix of both. You don't have a bureau that just has local people because, first, they don't -- the foreigner gives protection to them by the mere fact that the foreigner is there. So you don't just have a bureau that just has local people. You have to take care of your local staff, recognizing that.

But there are a lot of them that even though they are party to -- you know, their country is at war, it's just like when America was hit on September 11th. Well, that didn't make all the American journalists suddenly trying to, you know, rework it.

BARKER: It kind of did make us all jingoistic. Let's be honest. (Chuckles.)

GANNON: Well, no, I think you still had -- no, I think you still had some -- it became a difficult -- where our profession and our professionalism was really called into question, we really had to say --

BARKER: Yes, and it should have been.

GANNON: -- we have to cover both sides of the story. But we went into Afghanistan to the Taliban side when nobody else was because they had to be told.

BAZZI: It's a little simplistic and we should be careful not to say that every local journalist --

GANNON: Exactly.

BARKER: Oh, that's not what I'm saying at all.

BAZZI: -- is going to be sort of choosing sides.

BARKER: I'm saying it can happen.

BAZZI: And let me just quickly take this question from another side and to take us in another direction on this, which is that we're seeing a lot of very good journalism being produced, English-language reporting, and to American and Western standards, being produced in other parts of the world these days. New media --

AMANPOUR: Where? India?

BAZZI: India.

AMANPOUR: Pakistan?

BAZZI: Pakistan.

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: Al Jazeera English?

BAZZI: Al Jazeera English.

GANNON: Al Jazeera English.

AMANPOUR: Do you read that?

BARKER: Yeah, it's great.

GANNON: Yeah.

BAZZI: Yes, definitely. There is a new paper in Abu Dhabi funded by the government which, you know --

AMANPOUR: The National?

BAZZI: The National. Its coverage of Abu Dhabi is problematic but its coverage of the rest of the world actually --

(Laughter, cross talk.)

BARKER: -- Al Jazeera.

BAZZI: Well, but it actually has more foreign correspondents now than most Western news organizations. It has something like 20 --

(Cross talk.)

DICKEY: It's got a lot more money than most Western news organizations.

BAZZI: Yeah.

(Laughter.)

GANNON: Well, that's Al Jazeera. I mean, you know --

AMANPOUR: Can we get another question? Right here, sir. Can you wait for the microphone, please?

QUESTIONER: Seymour Topping, Columbia University. I'd like you to picture yourselves as senior editors and as an editor, and the young correspondents come up to see you. And they're going out for the first time. What do you tell them when they're going into a dangerous area how to stay alive, how to get the story and what other words while at risk?

AMANPOUR: Okay, Chris.

DICKEY: Well, I'd tell them not to go with Luke De La Hey (ph) into Iraq.

AMANPOUR: Our friend, the photographer, yeah.

DICKEY: The first thing I'd tell them is that they have to think about how important the story really is, whether they really want to take the risks that are involved for that story. Is it important to Americans? Is it important to their publication? Is it important to the audience that they want to appeal to? I mean, these are lines that I would draw.

I confess, I did not want to die in Abkhazia or South Ossetia. I was not interested in covering those wars. You went to those places, but I was not going to do those wars.

The Central American wars, absolutely. The Middle Eastern wars, absolutely. A lot of the African wars don't get covered because nobody wants to go die in Eastern Congo when nobody cares. And it's very hard to make anybody care. So that's the first thing -- how important is the story?

And then the second is to be careful, to get to know people, to not figure that you can just bluff your way through situations where people have guns and they would just as soon kill you as look at you.

GANNON: I think I just have to say I disagree. The last thing I would ever say to a young journalist going out is, think first about what the audience that you're writing for. I mean, I think, first, I would say, depending on where they're going, talk to them about the story that they're going into, about the place that they're going into, about the security concerns that they will find in that place. Talk to them about what their expectations are. What do they know about that place? What homework have they done? I mean, very detailed questions on, you know, the place in which they're going, that they've chosen to go.

But the last thing, I think, I would say anyway to somebody going in is, gee, think first about, is anybody going to want to read that story?

DICKEY: That's the AP for you.

(Laughter.)

GANNON: There you go! You can read anything you want.

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: In terms of -- this is also another increasingly debilitating cost center for the networks now. Because of the realities of all our colleagues who have been killed and wounded in action, our networks now, and probably major newspapers, spend huge amounts of money on war insurance, on war protection, on pre-field training, on a detail of guards.

It's huge. It's taking up I would say at least half the budget that, you know, half again of what it costs to just cover the story. And it in itself is becoming debilitating, because then you're out there surrounded by a cordon of guards. They're your guards, you've paid for them, and they're telling you whether you can leave or go out or cover this or that story.

And that, for a young journalist who's never been in the field before, who's never covered foreign news, who doesn't have their own war experience and hasn't built up their own instincts for the field, it's a killer.

MS. : And that's also for TV. It's difficult, too, because TV, you know, with a reporter with just a notebook in hand --

AMANPOUR: And I had to force my way out of that cordon of protection in order to do my documentary which I did in the last few weeks. And that's only because I had my own experience, and I can get away with it. But nobody else can. Not in my network. And obviously, our company wants to protect our people. We've had, you know, people killed. We've had people injured. And this is having a very, very, very difficult effect.

Let me just go to another question and then we'll go. Yeah. Go ahead.

QUESTIONER: Yeah. My name is Richard Chesnoffen (ph). I've been a foreign correspondent for 40 years, God help me. (Laughter.) Some of you raised the question of the dangers of being embedded with U.S. troops. But you were raising questions of physical danger of being embedded. I want to ask you about the other danger of being embedded. What do you think are the dangers of being embedded?

I was embedded with the Israeli troops during the Six-Day War, and I was one of the few guys who got to the front. I was embedded with the U.S. troops in the first Gulf War. And I was one of the few guys who was out to the front. But the question remains, there's a lot of criticism that says once you're embedded, you're more than embedded, you're in bed. And that's the question I'm putting to you.

BARKER: I mean, I've embedded a number of times. And I think I ended up on the U.S. military's do not embed list at some point. (Laughter.) I was told that I was referred to as the most dangerous reporter in Afghanistan, and a sign was actually hung up at a base about me.

And I say this tongue in cheek, but it's actually true. I do believe that you can embed, and you can do critical stories, and you can do fair stories, and then you can come out, and you can do critical, fair stories on the other side. I noticed this was a big fear in the beginning of the Iraq war. And I wasn't involved in that particular conflict. I was in Afghanistan at that time. Boy, was that a fun place.

But with Iraq, you would not have been able to get the same sort of images of what was happening if you didn't have people on the inside and also on the outside. We had both people who were embedded and we had people who were moving around outside.

And you can make the argument that you shouldn't embed at all. But when I've embedded, I've had the military telling me, this war is completely messed up. You get really honest reactions from the soldiers that you're never going to get from the people in charge. And that is the sort of, you know, the sort of honesty that you get from soldiers, not the pre-scripted things that they're told to say. But when they're actually being honest with you, there's no other way you can get that stuff.

GANNON: And that's the story -- the soldier's story. But then to do a story on the generals, I mean, then that's different. Are you able to get a complete story and a realistic story from that perspective.

MR. : No, and I don't think you should kid yourself about that.

GANNON: Exactly.

MR. : You know, when you've got these guys that look like the, you know, troopers from Star Wars standing next to you, it's very hard to interview the locals -- (Laughter.)

AMANPOUR: Yeah, but the point is --

BARKER: (Inaudible) -- translator who can't really, who doesn't tend to translate --

AMANPOUR: But the point is, because this is now really, again, vital, we pretty much now the military has got the bug. It's all about embedding. If you don't embed, you don't cover the military pretty much in these places. So you've got to figure out how to do it and how to keep doing your job. And the only way to do it is to embed, if you have to, but then you or somebody else has to be on the other side. They cannot be the only source of your information. They cannot be the only amount of information that you put out, whether it's with the American Army, the Israelis or whoever it may be.

MR. : Well, I think also embedding got a particularly bad name in 2003 when we were still all very jingoistic. And an awful lot of people were embedded. It was the only way you could move around in 2003. And I forget what percentage, but over 50 percent of the footage that came out of those embeds was of the correspondent with a microphone standing against a neutral background. It was not shots of the war, it was shots of the correspondent basically doing a hi mom on the air.

AMANPOUR: Maybe that was in the early days, but there have been amazing stories about the U.S. military --

BARKER: And it humanizes them. I mean, that's what --

MR. : I think it's evolved.

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: So there have been some valuable --

(Cross talk.)

BARKER: But it also takes the soldier and it makes him a human being or her a human being. And I think that's very important to show the real costs that people are paying over there.

AMANPOUR: I agree. Yeah, Bill -- microphone. Behind you, Bill.

QUESTIONER: Bill Drozdiak, formerly a correspondent with The Washington Post and now with the American Council on Germany. Just a question to follow on the previous discussion. Why do you think the press got to the story so wrong on the Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? Did the coverage fall prey to jingoistic but patriotism? Or were there other reasons?

MR. : Well, some of us didn't get it wrong, Bill. I mean --

GANNON: I didn't cover it at all. But to me --

(Cross talk.)

AMANPOUR: It's a little off topic, but I think, in general, there was a lot of -- there was a general abdication of a journalist's role which is to rigorously question the premise of anything, whatever it might be. And people didn't do that. You know, your American press is very vigorous when it gets to a press conference. It asks the president. It asks the other officials. It really goes after all the angles, but in this case it didn't. And those who did often labored to decide.

The McClatchy newspapers were very, very vigorous in how they pursued this. There was that very key story that was front page in The New York Times about the so-called aluminum tube that was held up as evidence of the centrifuges. In fact, we broke it on CNN that in fact the IAEA said that it was merely for conventional power, it did nonetheless violate a rule, but it wasn't about WMD.

So I think also -- also -- many, many people believed that there were in fact some kind of WMD in Iraq, maybe not nuclear weapons since that has pretty much been debunked, but many people believed that what we had been told after the end of Desert Fox in '98 that there was all this precursor, there was, you know, all the elements for biological or chemical weapons, believed it was there.

But I think whether or not it was an immediate threat, that was never --

(Cross talk.)

DICKEY: But the problem -- you know, I covered this. God, did I cover this. I mean, in Newsweek, I have to say, and this is not just a joke, Newsweek did a great job doing this. The week that Colin Powell testified in front of the United Nations, we broke out, I think, five or six boxes poking holes in his testimony and talking about the implausible aspects of it.

A lot of people thought, including me, that Saddam probably had some kind of weapons of mass destruction. We all knew that he wanted them and wanted them badly, but ultimately that was not the biggest problem. The biggest problem was that we were going into this war and nobody would address the issue of occupying Iraq. Nobody would talk about that. We couldn't get anybody to address it.

We were writing. In Newsweek, we were writing stories. We wrote a story -- in February of 2003 -- saying these are the perils of victory. We're going to go in, and we're going to be stuck in this miserable country, and we're going to spend a lot of money and a lot of lives here.

These are the kinds of things that people were talking about. But again, people didn't want to hear it. The idea was we were going to war, this is going to be a big party, it's going to be a cakewalk, and then we're going to be welcomed with rice and flowers. And there was a whole construct that was wrong here, it's not just the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

AMANPOUR: Yes, sir.

QUESTIONER: My name is Rowan Paul (ph). I'm a lawyer. It follows on from this question. Aren't you a little concerned that you may be too negative on the United States government's position? And just by way of footnote about Iraq. Charles Duelfer and David Kaye both said Saddam could quickly reconstitute his chemical and biological weapons, and you never covered that as far as I know. But anyway, aren't you a little concerned that you, by devoting so much to the negative, that you're going to sway American public opinion --

MR. : Well, I don't know. I mean, considering that that is what was the driving impulse with the public to get involved in a war that costs us still about $2.5 billion a week and has killed 4,000-plus Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. I think, you know, I think we can be a little unkind at the government.

GANNON: But our job is to be critical. Our job is to question. Our job is to -- I mean, that's part of what the job is. I mean, it's not about -- you know, good story, bad story. I mean, that's what you're supposed to do fundamentally.

MR. : You know, and I have to say, yeah, I think it is. There was an old newspaper motto here in New York back in the 19th century that didn't say you should do all the news that's fit to print, it said, tell the truth and raise hell. And I think that that is a pretty good, slightly nihilistic attitude for most journalists to have. Because if you're always thinking about your responsibility to the government and to be nice to the government, you wind up just working for the government.

GANNON: And we have no responsibility to the government.

AMANPOUR: So this is very important, but it's slightly off our point -- (laughter) -- which is the changing environment for foreign correspondents. So let's have a question to that, please.

The lady in the back. Sorry, sir, I'll come back to you. This lady.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Lindsay (sp) Howard, Pengaea Group. It's harder to protect journalists now. Very few have a legacy as you, Ms. Amanpour, or Chris Dickey, who is a literary figure and whose father was poet laureate of the United States and has a wicked pen as well.

DICKEY: Thank you.

QUESTIONER: Is there more that international institutions and the business community can do to deal with this changing power relationship that the Taliban and al Qaeda and extremist groups have calculated very well? They use the media to their own purposes, for their own spectacles, but there's very little fear left of the repercussions. The power relationship has changed. Can you address that and how more of us might do more?

GANNON: I just want to say everybody uses or will try to use the media. I don't think there's anybody, whether it's government, non-government, Taliban, al Qaeda, Hamid Karzai, I mean, everybody will try to. I mean, our job really is to -- I mean, really, as journalists, our jobs are to document history and to try to give the information as best we can.

I mean, I don't think that it's up to us to say, gee, how can we make the Taliban afraid to attack journalists. You know, I mean, I think as journalists, anyway, in my opinion, is that our job is to try to get out there and get the information as best you can. You take the security precautions you can, but I don't think getting into some collaboration with business and communities that says somehow making it financially or somehow unbearable, if I understood the question --

AMANPOUR: I, on the other hand, would ask everybody, all the business people and the people who advertise in the United States to stand for something and stand for a really important profession, which is journalism, and start funding us and advertising and allowing us to do our jobs. So really -- (applause) --

(Cross talk.)

It's an absolutely obscenity. People want the news, people want the information, and they cut us off at the you-know-whats and prevent us from going out to do it. And I think it's time as a society that this society get its act together and start funding those people who are prepared to be the eyes and the ears of the rest of the nation or the rest of the whoever their readers or viewers are.

And you know, people want to stand for something. And maybe we should do a better job of encouraging that. People want to be associated with something that's good. And the profession of journalism is good. I mean, how many -- (laughs) -- how many people want to be seen with news celebrities and all the rest of it? You know, they feel that it is something important in their lives to get this information. So I say people should put their money where their mouth is and start advertising and funding us.

GANNON: Getting the newspapers back.

AMANPOUR: (Inaudible) -- and we'll take another question.

QUESTIONER: I'm Rod Totes (ph), a foreign correspondent who goes back to the Korean War and one of the few here, I suspect, who, like Richard Hartlett, worked side by side with Ed Murrow. This is a story about the scariness of war coverage in the old days.

Ed Murrow came to the Pusan beachhead in Taegu in the middle of August, 1950 and was embedded in the 8th Army, embedded, that is to say, on a sleeping bag in a schoolhouse where about one dozen of us were spending the night.

In the middle of the night, although dead tired, we were all awakened by machine gun fire, and we all hit the floor, except for Ed Murrow, who went right on scraping his teeth. It sounded exactly like machine gun fire going off. I think that story has never been told about Ed Murrow before. (Laughter, applause.)

AMANPOUR: Well, you know what? We are very close to the end of our time. I would very much like to end on that very fun, up note and remembering the icon of our profession. And I think that's a good thing to say good-bye with. Thank you very much indeed.

(Applause.)

Before you go, I forgot to say, I'm not sure whether you were coming back to say, you know, to introduce the next part of the program or whether I should.

Okay, thank you, Richard.

You're all welcome to a cocktail which starts now and goes on until 8:30. Thanks very much for coming and don't forget the sessions tomorrow. (Applause.)

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

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MARGARET G. WARNER: Good morning, everyone. I'm Margaret Warner. Welcome to day two of the Council's Edward R. Murrow 60th anniversary fellowship celebration.

I have the honor of serving on the fellowship selection committee this year, and we're delighted that so many of you, including so many former fellows, are joining us for this special event to celebrate both the work of the last 60 years, but also point the way forward and how we do sustain vital international coverage in the digital age.

We have three panels wrestling with that issue today from various points of view, and we hope you can stay for all of them, including our luncheon session with several network presidents.

We're also pleased that today Edward R. Murrow's son Casey is with us.

Casey, are you here? Well, good to have you. Good to have you.

Also, as Richard said last night, there's a special thanks due to the Ford Foundation. Ford this year generously provided funding, both to sustain the fellowship going forward and to support this event. And Time Warner responded to Ford's $50,000 challenge grant, to make this conference possible, and we're also most grateful to their support.

Now, on a personal note, I'd like to add that the Ford Foundation is one of the three funders for the NewsHour's overseas reporting unit, which I -- which I head. And so I know firsthand Ford's commitment to sustaining international coverage. And so it's a special pleasure to ask Calvin Sims, who's program officer at the Ford Foundation, and a former Murrow fellow himself from his days at the New York Times, to say a few words before we begin. Calvin. (Applause.)

CALVIN SIMS (program officer, Ford Foundation): Thank you, Margaret. I'm sort of wearing two hats this morning: one, as a funder of media projects to improve the quality of journalism through Ford, and two, as a Murrow fellow. And so when Camille (sp) called the Ford Foundation to inquire as to whether or not we'd be interested in sponsoring something like this Murrow Fellowship, it seemed a no-brainer on both fronts.

We at Ford provide funding for a variety of efforts to improve the quality of foreign reporting abroad, because we believe that good foreign policy can only start with good information about foreign affairs.

For me, I began my Murrow Fellowship here at the Council eight years ago. It was right in the aftermath of 9/11. I had been a correspondent for The New York Times in South America. And then I was in Japan. And then I was in Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

It had been a particularly difficult two years in Indonesia. And I was in need of some sort of respite to kind of gauge all that had happened. And I applied for this fellowship and got it. I arrived here on September 10th from Jakarta. And then the next day, the world changed.

There was a moment when I decided I wanted to run down to 43rd Street, on September 11th, and be a part of that reporting in the aftermath. But I realized that if I went to 43rd Street, I could never complete the Murrow Fellow, because they would never let me go. I would have been tied to The Times for at least the next year or so.

So I decided to sit that part out and then had, I guess, some reservations as to whether or not -- I was not allowed to -- eliminated myself from participating in one of the greatest news stories of our time.

But being a Murrow fellow here under Les Gelb; he refocused all of the work that the fellows were doing on 9/11 and the impact. And so when I was in Indonesia, I had spent a lot of time looking at the rise of radical Islam in what had been the world's largest and most liberal population of Muslims.

And so during my year here, I was able to spend that time away from deadlines, looking at whether or not Islam was compatible with democracy, spending some time back in Indonesia without deadlines, meeting with people like Abu Bakar Bashir, the head of the -- spiritual leader of the head of the group that did the Bali bombings. And I wrote a policy paper here at the council.

When I returned to The Times, we were still looking at this mix between democracy and Islam. And I was able to turn that policy paper here at the -- from the Council on Foreign Relations into a documentary that appeared on PBS, which looked at the rise of radical Islam and how it was not going to take over Indonesia. And even though we continue to see bombings there, it is now a viable democracy.

So on a personal note, I'm very grateful for the time that I was able to spend here at the council, the time that I was able to spend with other fellows and to have this open exchange that takes place here between fellows.

A journalist rarely has the time to engage in an exchange of openness with fellows from the CIA or from the military. And that's what this place provides. It's a sanctuary for that kind of exchange.

So Ford is very pleased to be a sponsor of this fellowship. And I hope that you will help us meet our challenge, in making the Murrow Fellowship viable for the future.

Thank you. (Applause.)

WARNER: Thank you, Calvin, so much.

I'm actually going to sit down.

(Cross talk.)

So without further ado, let's get on to our topic. And this morning, we're talking about the challenges of reporting from closed societies. Last night, we heard about some of the dangers of reporting overseas. But there are particular challenges from closed societies. And we're going to talk among ourselves for about a half hour and then open it up to your questions.

A reminder to our audience here -- I'm sure you need no reminder -- to turn off your cellphones and BlackBerrys and don't just put them on vibrate, because it will interfere with the soundsystem. This meeting is on the record. It's being viewed on a live webcast by members around the country and the world.

Now to our panel. We have a stellar cast, really: four former Murrow fellows, all with deep experience in reporting from closed societies, where -- I think my definition, our definition would be, where the governments see the free flow of information as some sort of a threat and seek to choke it off. And it takes many forms, as we know. And so I'll start over to my left.

Dan Southerland, our oldest Murrow fellow here, from 1991 -- (laughter) -- is -- most seasoned Murrow fellow. (Laughs.) He is now vice president and executive editor of Radio Free Asia, where he basically runs all their editorial operations throughout Asia, including in two quite closed societies -- two at least: China and North Korea. I don't know what you're doing in Myanmar as well. He spent years as The Washington Post's -- as a foreign correspondent, particularly as bureau chief in Beijing at the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising in June of 1989.

David Remnick, who followed, I think, Dan Southerland as a Murrow fellow in '91/'92, is now editor of The New Yorker magazine. He also spent years at The Washington Post, with four years as its Moscow correspondent, beginning in '88, covering the -- essentially the collapse of the Soviet Union, and, as he likes to say, from -- as experienced by its peasants as well as its politicians. He wrote an incredible book called "Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire," written while he was a Murrow fellow here, and it won the Pulitzer Prize in '94.

Caryle Murphy, who was a Murrow fellow in '94/'95, is now an independent journalist living and working in Saudi Arabia, another closed society. Until 2006, she too was a long-time correspondent for The Washington Post. I wonder what we're learning here. (Laughter.) Surveying --

MR. : None of us can keep a job. (Laughs.)

WARNER: Or, we're -- Washington Post is cutting back on foreign correspondents a lot. (Chuckles.) But in both southern Africa -- and Ben (sp) is the paper's Cairo bureau chief, responsible for covering the Arab world.

And Caryle, as I'm sure most of you remember, was famously in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein's forces invaded that country, and she remained as really ultimately the only Western journalist there, continuing to report, really, at considerable risk to herself, hiding out in a basement to do so, to hide out from Iraqi troops.

And Elizabeth Rubin, who is just departing as our Murrow fellow. She's a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. And for -- she's been working as a foreign correspondent in a lot of these difficult-to-report-from places. I'll name a few: Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Russia. And here come the easy ones: the Caucasus, Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans -- (laughs) -- where at least they like to talk. (Laughter.) Her stories have also appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic and The New Yorker.

So to get a flavor of what it's like reporting from closed societies, I first asked each of our panelists to just give us a brief but -- and insightful anecdote about one time in their career where it was really hard to get the true story. And I'm going to start with Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH RUBIN: Okay. Thank you.

Well, this was a story that took place in Pakistan just after 9/11. It was in January 2002. And I don't know if you remember, but Musharraf gave a very powerful and persuasive speech that in fact he was going to be with the United States and he was going to shut down all the Islamic political parties who were involved in jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan, everywhere. And he told his -- the country, you know, to the Pakistanis as well.

And so as journalists, it was natural that we were going to go find out if this is true. And Azad Kashmir is the Pakistani part of Kashmir, and the only way you can really go there is with the military. And they do this funny thing on the paper where it says you have three days there. But what it really means is that you can stay in a hotel for three days and they'll take you out for one hour to the front line to see the Indians on the other side with their guns, and they'll take you to one refugee camp, where you can speak to one family.

I thought this was kind of absurd, and there was no way I was going to get a story. So I tried to persuade them that we wanted to do something on the life of the people there, and I was going to need to go out. They said: Well, we'll see. Maybe you could do that.

So I went to the hotel, and I couldn't do that. So I had another fixer, other than one that I was appointed, and we went out at night. And we went out -- we knew we were followed, and so we went into a mall, and then we went to the back of the mall and got in a rickshaw and went up into the mountains and met these jihadis from Kashmir and various other people who were going around recruiting people with the help of the Pakistani intelligence. And in fact the Pakistani intelligence had been the founder of one of these parties.

So it was, you know, exactly what we needed. I think we stayed about five hours. I arrived back at the hotel at midnight, and there was about seven guys in white, you know, hats standing outside, looking very angry.

And so they say, you know, how worried they were; where have I been, you know. And I'm, like, how did you know I wasn't here? What are you doing here? Who are you?

Go to your room.

So I went to my room. (Laughter.) And the next day I was told not to come out of my room. (Laughter.) And I -- so I start calling, you know, the generals and everybody. What's going on? I didn't do anything wrong.

And they said: You're under house arrest. You can't leave.

And so I stay there, and I'm getting really antsy. I hate being confined. So I said: Couldn't I just go out and have a little snack or something in town?

So we go out to do that, and I kind of go back to the same place. And -- at which point -- that was probably not the smartest thing to do -- there's a knock on the door about three or four hours later, and the captain who was in charge of me was there and basically said, you know, to the person who answered the door, if they don't leave within the half an hour, everyone's going to be arrested.

So we left. At which point the story of my -- who I worked for and what I did started to get really big -- I worked for the CIA; I had tied the sheets together of my bed and climbed out the third-story window; you know, I was clearly a trained militant. (Laughs.) (Some guide ?). And this was told to me by the Pakistani general, you know, head of the army himself.

I said, look at me, do I look like I could jump out of a window? I'm not sure, maybe.

But what ended up happening is quite serious. My translator who was without protection -- he was a Kashmiri from India -- and very much wanted to do this story because he wanted to get what had happened to him out. He dissapeared. All of the people I spoke to were arrested and put in prison.

And I started to get everybody from the embassy to the generals to try to find out where this translator was. He had been stopped on the road and put in a basement and basically tortured for two weeks. And, you know, you kind of wonder, was the story -- was it worth it?

One of the guys was in prison for either six months or a year just for meeting with me. And this was not the first time -- you know -- that it happened.

But in the end, I think it probably is worth it. And a lot of these people knew what they were risking -- and they had been risking their lives anyway for everything that they've done and fought for.

But it happens quite often that we rely on people and work with people and, you know, it can seem, like right now -- some of it's very funny. But it wasn't very funny for all of the people involved in this story. And I often wonder, you know, how do you know when it's worth it to risk these people's lives. And it's an impossible question to answer.

WARNER: But one I hope we'll get to.

Dan Southerland, tell us what it was like, the immediate aftermath -- during and the aftermath and the Tiananmen uprising when the Chinese authorities clamped down in a major way.

DAN SOUTHERLAND: Well, the first part was kind of interrippled -- the demonstrations, the protests, leadnig up to the crackdown. That was just -- I had to admit it -- that was just very exciting. And then all of a sudden the tanks came in.

I came up with a brilliant solution for saving my fixers. I would hire Chinese speaking Americans. They would not be clobbered as badly -- or they wouldn't be arrested. I figured I had them out there -- immediately things began to go wrong.

My guy on Tiananmen Square was there at 2 a.m. as the tanks moved in. And somebody put a gun to his head, knocked him down, started kicking him. Four guys jumped on him, threw him in a jeep-like vehicle, unmarked vehicle -- obviously state security people.

Some of the civilians on the square and students tried to rush the vehicle. They started firing their pistols outside the vehicle -- outside.

He had a hood put over his head in some kind of compound. At one point he was transferred to something that looked like a barber shop, with lots of Chinese coming in and talking about secret meetings. And he could understand Chinese; that's why I chose him. He thought he was going to be shot. Eventually they drove him to the outskirts of Beijing and dumped him, bruised but not dead. And his last thought on that was, "What if I had been Chinese? How would they have treated me?"

Listening to the accounts yesterday and just now, I really realize I've sort of, over the years, become obsessed with this issue of the fixers and how to protect people. And that was certainly my concern at the time. And I inadvertently got one guy into trouble as this went on. The crackdown came, and I was trying to get into the hospital to see how many people had died; a hospital not too far from Tiananmen Square. And I get there and the whole mood in the city had changed from openness to people not talking. My sources weren't talking.

This doctor comes out of the hospital, and the crowd -- I don't know who they were, but they started saying, "Don't let the foreigner in." You know, they knew there were bodies in there. And this guy very bravely stepped up and said, "I'll take you in." And we walk into this makeshift morgue, a cement floor, and there are 20 bodies, bullet-ridden bodies. They weren't students, by the way. They were obviously older citizens of Beijing. They weren't young kids, which most of the people who died were not students. They were people who were trying to stop the tanks and so forth.

And I got that information and got out of there, and then I later found out this doctor had been punished or disciplined. And I had a brief conversation with him on the phone, but I cut off the conversation because I thought, "Anything I say on this telephone is going to be recorded and we're going to be in more trouble."

And it's a minor example, but it was the kind of thing in China where they normally would not do what they did to you. They're, I think, smarter than that. But it's still an example of how you live with this all the time. You know, "Am I going to get this guy into trouble?" And I actually broke relations with my best Chinese friend as a result. I didn't catch it, but the Chinese caught it and they said, "You're being followed every time you meet this guy." And I'm glad I did that. I mean, he wasn't giving me high-level information. You know, he was giving me kind of a flavor of what the life is like there.

So let's fast-forward to today. What's happening today?

WARNER: Well, let me first --

SOUTHERLAND: We can do that later. Okay.

WARNER: Let's do that later.

SOUTHERLAND: But --

WARNER: Caryle, now, you were under this challenge of trying to -- you started in Kuwait. You wanted to report. You even had to sneak your stories out. But how did you actually get the information you needed to give a flavor of what life was like as the Iraqis came in?

CARYLE M. MURPHY: Well, initially -- yeah. This is an old story; it's almost 20 years ago. But I think it really highlights how today it's much harder to have a closed society. Believe it or not, when I was in Kuwait, when Saddam's forces came in, there was no Internet to speak of and there were no cell phones to speak of. And none of us today would go out -- try to do what we do without those tools.

Anyway, I initially stayed in the hotel for the first week. And then Iraqi officials were moving in, so I moved in with American engineers across the street from the hotel in their apartment. And the second day, the Iraqis cut the telex in the hotel. That's how I filed, by telex. I'm sure there are people here who don't even know what that means. (Laughter.)

So I had no phone, I had no Internet, no telex, as of the second day. So I was desperately searching for some way to get this information out. And I met a guy in an elevator. He was obviously Kuwaiti. And I said, "I'm a Washington Post reporter. I need a telephone." He said, "Meet me here tomorrow at this same time and I'll hook you up with someone with a phone."

So I went back the next day and he brought with him somebody who was working with the Kuwaiti resistance, and they had stashed in a house on the outer suburbs a satellite telephone that had been smuggled in from Saudi Arabia, hidden in this empty house. The satellite telephone was almost as big as this. (Laughter.) It weighed at least 100 pounds. You had to open it up, set up the satellite, then dial the number. But at least it was communication.

So he said, "Look, it's better for you to stay with us and our family so I don't have to keep transporting you back and forth in the city." So I went -- I made my second movement. I went to stay with this Kuwaiti family. And because they were connected to the resistance, the two main guys leading this faction of the resistance would come and tell me what had been happening that day.

One of them was the former top general in the Kuwaiti army, and he's still alive today. The other guy was the head of the police. He had been in (Qan ?) the day of the invasion. He came back to Saudi Arabia -- (laughter) -- really?

DAVID J. REMNICK: As one is. (Laughter.)

WARNER: (Inaudible) -- vulnerable.

MURPHY: He dressed like a Bedouin and he snuck across the border from Saudi to Kuwait. And this is a very sad story, because he got captured by the Iraqis and has never been heard from since.

So I did send -- before I met the Kuwaiti resistance, I did send a story written long-hand out with a friend who was leaving, and she faxed it to The Washington Post.

Another time there was a Dutch radio reporter there. She and I went to the Swedish embassy and we threw a package over the wall -- (laughter) -- we called them ahead of time and said, "We're going to do this" -- and asked them to please transmit this information. I think they did -- I can't remember now, but I think they did transmit something to the Post.

But it was the satellite telephone with the Kuwaiti resistance that allowed me to get out my stories. And, you know, communications have changed so much. I mean, it's an obvious point that, you know, closed society -- I mean, I'm working in Saudi now, and I'm not the only one. I'm a freelancer. There's another one who's freelance. She's American. The AP has just opened a bureau there. AFP now has an American bureau chief.

So I think the Saudis have decided, "We're going to get a better deal and better, fairer stories if we let them come and stay here and, you know, spend time and meet people." So it's their way of -- I mean, it's still not easy to get information in Saudi. It's still very much a closed society. But it's not as closed as it used to be. And it's because they realized, you know, everybody there, especially young people, they're on Facebook. They're Twittering. Especially women use the Internet, because they're so restricted in their physical movements.

I'll stop there.

WARNER: Just to complete this mosaic, just giving us this patchwork flavor, David, your experiences in the Soviet Union. Now, when you went there, it was after Gorbachev had famously announced this era of glasnost. But it still must have been a challenge.

REMNICK: Well, this is why I feel like an impostor on this stage. I was sent to a story where the cork was just about out of the bottle, so much so that I can tell you that one of the earliest stories I did -- I was invited to the KGB headquarters, to Lubyanka, where very few had been -- or had been with the capacity to leave. (Laughter.) And I was there to cover the Miss KGB contest. (Laughter.) Now, I wasn't born yesterday. (Laughter.) I thought that would get some decent play. And so did they, obviously.

You know, I was there from a period from the very beginning of 1988 to literally the flag going down over the Kremlin. It wasn't my fault. (Laughter.) But this was a period where people -- I could have sat on my stoop in front of my -- you know, I lived in a building that looked like Co-op City in the Bronx -- and I could have just answered the mail and interviewed people passing by and gotten a greater picture of Russian life than had been permitted for the previous 70 years, to some degree.

I mean, people wanted to speak, so much so that at the end of my time in early August of 1991, I went to interview Alexander Yakovlev, who had been Gorbachev's kind of better angel in the Politburo, and I said, you know, "What's" -- a really insightful question -- "What's happening?" And he said, "Well, there will be a KGB-led coup with the participation of the army" and, you know, the kind of revanchist pro-communist side of things.

And I wrote this down and published it in the newspaper and promptly left the country, because my time was up. And as I turned on the TV when I finally got back to New York at midnight, there were tanks going by my apartment building. So sometimes the story is right in front of your face.

That said, and even with the development of Twitter and the Internet and e-mail and all the incredible means of communication, a government's capacity to cover up and to lie is still based on the foundation of how many bodies they're willing to fit in a trench. So the Putin government is immensely more clever in the way it controls information. It has little safety valves. There's a newspaper here that's kind of free. There's a radio station that's kind of free. But television, of course, which is what everybody watches, is completely unfree.

And in order to make sure that everybody gets the message, every once in a while there's a body -- not like in 1937, not like in the '50s; just once in a while. And that's enough. And there is the terrible conclusion that one draws that the amount of truth gathered in a society like that, which is semi-this, semi-that, is built upon the sheer bravery of people being able to do what these three people have done in their careers, and I have not. So, you know -- and I mean that really sincerely.

WARNER: Well, what -- you're all reporting from closed societies. Particularly if you're living there, being based there, how do you know what the red lines are? And to what degree should an American reporter observe those red lines, either to preserve their access or their visa or the lives of those who help them? I mean, is this case by case, or do you have a ground rule?

SOUTHERLAND: I think in China you have shifting lines, you know, particularly as regards the domestic media, the local reporters, you know, who have been aggressively pursuing investigative stories but getting blocked.

I think there's an element of keeping people uncertain. You know, sometimes you're surprised that you can get somewhere undetected, and other times you get lots of trouble from local officials. So in China it's partly what's happening in Beijing, where it's going to be more open, and in the countryside, which I feel is underreported, because it's difficult.

The other thing they've done in China is they've outsourced the violence to -- basically the local officials will have a gang that they work with who will rough up reporters, including some foreign reporters occasionally.

WARNER: That happens in Russia as well.

REMNICK: Yeah, but foreigners have it easier.

SOUTHERLAND: I would agree.

REMNICK: I would say that there are certain subjects that you could count on one hand that you would end up in the trench I mentioned for. One of them is Putin's money; anything to do with the flow of real favors, real money. Money is the subject in Russia now. Nobody gives a damn about political gossip and all the stuff that made the communists crazy in the earlier time. It's all about business secrets. And the ultimate weapon is used.

WARNER: Whereas in China, the red lines, at least for the local reporters, are Tiananmen, Taiwan -- the three Ts. What's the third?

SOUTHERLAND: The three Ts -- Tibet --

WARNER: Tibet. Tibet, absolutely.

MURPHY: I mean, I haven't lived in Iran, and it's very hard now for Americans to report -- I mean, to live in Iran. And so you're always worried about the extent of your visa, because usually they give you 10 days and then you try to get it extended.

I went and did the red line, which was to do something about the supreme leader. But I told everybody that's what I was doing. I told all the red-line guards that's what I was going to do. And they laughed and thought, "No, she can't possibly be doing that." And actually it was one of those, again, situations where, you know, my fixer and all the fixers in Iran are registered with the Ministry of Culture. So they have to report back everything you're doing. And they'll say to you, "If there are people that you want to see that you don't want them to know about, do it with somebody else." So that makes things clear.

Again, in this particular instance, my translator, who was an anthropologist and a professor -- this was around the time when Halle Espandiare (ph) and Kiyan Tachbak (sp), you may remember, were arrested, and he disappeared. And again, it was a situation we didn't know. Was it because we were working on the supreme leader? Why did he disappear? I couldn't get any information. And this went on for eight months. This was a precursor of what's going on now, in a way.

In Iran, I would say it's very hard to know what's going to tip them or tip -- I mean, we now -- we can see that all of the reformers are on trial now. So it's clear what's going on now. But up until this point, you just never knew. Was it because you wrote about women or because you wrote about sex or because you wrote about the money? As David was saying, that is a big deal. If you talk about the clerics and their money, that's a problem.

But I would say Iran is one of those places where the red lines are very, very unclear. And, you know, he ended up in what was called white torture -- a white cell wearing white clothes. They gave him yogurt and rice and kept the lights on for 24 hours a day and, you know, created a file of thousands and thousands of pages. And at the end they said, "Bebakshi (ph)," which means, "Sorry, we made a mistake." And, you know, his life was ruined.

And it was -- we still don't know. Was it about the supreme leader? Was it that they thought he was involved in this velvet revolution, which the supreme leader is obsessed about? And it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, because today, you know, he sees everybody as being involved in this velvet revolution that was in his imagination, to some extent. Anyway, so I think it's very hard in some places, particularly Iran, to know where that red line is.

WARNER: Now, John Burns of The New York Times, I think in a speech, was quite critical of some western reporters in Iraq before the Iraq war began, saying that --

REMNICK: He was critical of CNN.

WARNER: -- (we ?) didn't want -- we're so eager to maintain access and stature and visa that they did not report on what John Burns felt were right in front of their very eyes, the atrocities from oppression of that regime.

Is that a tension that exists when you're posted somewhere and you're getting out incredibly revealing and important stories, but you know that if you went over this line or this line, you would get kicked out?

REMNICK: Why report? Why go? I couldn't agree with John Burns more. And one could easily say that The New Yorker -- because I'm an editor, I have the luxury that a newspaper does not. A newspaper has a permanent presence. Increasingly so, there are fewer of them, but these permanent presences are very important.

I'd rather see somebody get chucked out of a country once in a while than to cut these kind of deals, which are disgusting.

MURPHY: Yeah, because sooner or later --

REMNICK: What's the point?

MURPHY: -- they get over it, you know.

RUBIN: That's right.

MURPHY: And they let your correspondent come back. So I think it is definitely what you find out. Especially if it's important, involving human rights abuses, you've definitely got to report it. You don't have to stay there and report it, but write it outside. But it should be done, yeah.

WARNER: So let's go to the question that Caryle put on the table, though. Now we have this proliferation of social media and just communication. And Dan, I mean, we saw it famously in Iraq, where mainstream media began using some of the material coming over these new channels as sources of news. To what degree, for instance, when you're covering Asia, is that part of now your incoming? And what special -- doesn't it represent special challenges in terms of understanding especially the credibility and validity of it?

SOUTHERLAND: Yeah, I just took a look at the cell phone numbers in China. It's 650 -- and they can measure this -- 650 million. Eighty-two percent of households have some kind of device. We're getting -- I wouldn't say we're flooded with videos and photos, but we're getting a stream, a pretty steady stream, from citizen journalists. And you look at these videos and there's a picture, let's say, of some people in a land dispute overturning a police car, and it's kind of shaky. But, you know, you can document what it is and you know there's a fight going on there, so you can be pretty sure it's authentic.

Then you see kind of a forest of cell phones being held up, taking pictures of all kinds, all angles. And you say, "My gosh, I mean, everybody is out there." I was just looking at some film that my wife video'd, my wife did at Tiananmen. And there's a sea of Chinese out in these pictures. Obviously there were a million people in the streets. I don't see anybody with a camera. It was too expensive then, 20 years ago.

It's incredible. I mean, everybody -- and we're kind of really coping with this by adding Web editors to evaluate. I mean, one day I was working on a weekend and we had an incident where a couple were filmed sitting on a roof about to commit suicide or something because their house was going to be demolished, or they were threatening. And two reporters are telling me that the video was from different places. I finally managed to get some guy in Hong Kong that said, "No, it is this province, you know. I can document it." But it's very tricky, because if you get stuck -- for example, if the security services try to plant a false video, that's a danger.

WARNER: Have you had that experience?

SOUTHERLAND: I haven't that I know of. We've so far not been burned. I think we had one fake picture that we had to deal with. That's not bad, considering it didn't cause great damage.

The other tricky thing is what if they go after the person sending the stuff out? And also it's a very short window before the Internet police and everybody else catch up with these guys. So I've got a guy in Hong Kong who just sits there working the phones, you know, trying to get stuff. But it's very, very hard to deal with. It's not enough -- you need good editors to back up, you know, to evaluate. This is why I guess it took me a couple of decades, but I actually appreciate editors, now that I am one. (Laughter.)

WARNER: Now that you are one.

REMNICK: I know the feeling. (Laughter.)

WARNER: Elizabeth, what are your thoughts on this? I mean --

RUBIN: Well, I think no correspondent worth his or her salt has ever had the feeling of being in a big country, a big, complicated, foreign country -- vaguely knowing the language, not knowing the language at all, depending on a driver-translator -- and not feeling like this whole enterprise is vaguely preposterous, which is to say I'm going to understand Afghanistan and write a story or a narrative or show pictures, and this is going to give a deep understanding to the vaguely inattentive American audience -- (laughter) -- having a beer at home.

So I think it's the height of vanity -- and I've been guilty of this vanity. I remember when the first citizen journalism came up, and Jim Fallows wrote about it, I was really dismissive of it. First of all, you didn't know technologically what that could mean. It felt all so fuzzy and warm and vaguely unrigorous. In fact, there are forms of citizen journalism that are incredibly valuable.

And yet, and yet, a lot of cell-phone pictures on the streets of Iran give you one thing and they don't give you a whole lot else. I'm not sure what the world needs more of, all the time or more images -- unanalyzed, unsorted through. You know, there's a lot of that. And there's no special place in heaven, God knows, for editors as such, any more than there are for writers as such.

But the capacity to also forget this feeling that it's a prosperous enterprise and to learn elements of professionalism and languages and understanding of that culture -- and, after all, as a reporter, what you are is a bridge, because if you actually have the Afghan write that story, he or she is going to have a hard time communicating in the proper language and the frame of reference and all the rest.

So there really is a huge role, you know, for people like this running around, as absurd as it is, and doing something that somebody with a cell phone or Twitter is not equipped to do. There is something to be said for professionalism and learning your craft in about a thousand different ways, just as there is for a doctor. I can fix certain bruises on my hand. I cannot give myself heart surgery. Actually knowing something in a craft, there is something to know. It's not just being a seal and bouncing a ball on your nose.

WARNER: And we're going to go to questions from the audience.

Caryle, I just wanted to ask, you said you thought that actually it's getting increasingly difficult for societies -- or governments to keep their societies closed. Do you think, living now in Saudi Arabia, that the slightly greater openness that the Saudis are showing now has also a blow-back to Saudi audiences, or are they able to keep this kind of wall where you may be writing for American audiences, but --

MURPHY: They read my stories on the Web.

WARNER: So you think it is.

MURPHY: You know, "Who do you work for?" "I work for ABCD." And they go to the website, you know, and watch for my story.

But one thing I also do is I send a copy of my story, after it's been published, to everybody I quoted, including the government, because, you know, one of the things that I think that you have to get over in many of these societies is that "Oh, she's got a hidden agenda. She's not just a journalist. Maybe she's working for some intelligence agency." So the way I fight that is to be as open as possible, and so I always remember to send a copy of the story, after it's published, to whatever person helped me interact with the government.

And I also tell the government sometimes when I think I'm going to do a sensitive story. So I will get a warning if I am going to have problems, like I decided to do a trip to the eastern province to talk to Shi'ites and how they're feeling these days. So I just mentioned to the spokesman from the Ministry of Interior that I was planning to do this. I didn't tell them when I was going. But I said, "I'm planning to do this." He didn't say anything. And then when I came back, I went to see him. I said, "Well, this is what people are saying. What's your response?"

And I think that they appreciate the fact that you give them an opportunity to comment. So that's how I handle that.

WARNER: We're going to go our members' questions now. So I'm going to invite people to join in the conversation. You all know the ground rules. But just please wait for the microphone and then state your name and speak directly into it, and your affiliation. And, of course, please limit yourself to one question and make sure it's a question and not a long speech or peroration.

So who'd like to go first? Right here.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Patricia Patterson, Patterson Investments.

I can't tell, from listening to everybody last night and this morning. Many of you are in countries where you're going to be for a while. How many of you learn Arabic, learn Chinese, learn enough to say, "Let's kill the reporter," or at least find your way around? How many people actually learn the language?

REMNICK: I did, but I only had to go to one place and it was very large. (Laughter.) So a lot of people spoke that language. And the Washington Post --

WARNER: Trained you.

REMNICK: -- paid good money for me to get a terrible Estonian accent. (Laughter.) And, you know, if you have a job like Elizabeth's, where you're running around all the time, you know, unless you're, you know, Roman Jakobson, the greatest linguist who ever lived, you just can't possibly -- I mean, other than Europeans, who seem to know lots of languages.

WARNER: Yeah, I would say -- and I do the sort of what has been derogatorily referred to as parachuting in -- but I do the same when you go someplace for a month. No, I don't learn -- well, I (can ?) -- Pashto or Dari. So that's why the translators, fixers -- we call them our local producers, because they just do -- they are absolutely essential as, when someone's translating for you, they are your filter, in a way, and you really -- a lot of judgments come into that.

SOUTHERLAND: I'll just chip in. This is another one of my obsessions, so I'm going to try to make it short. But I have been preaching to journalism school students to learn a difficult language; get started now. I started Chinese about, I don't know, several decades ago. I'm still not that good at it. I was rated intermediate recently. I still carry little character cards around to study the characters. I'm still working on it. I always say the first 20 years are the hardest; then it gets easier. (Laughter.)

So I probably got this obsession in Vietnam, where I was part of the UPI team there, which was covering the American war, mostly. And, you know, somebody realized I spoke French, and at that time it was useful. And they said, "Dan, you cover the Vietnamese." So we had about nine guys covering the Americans. I had a license to go all over Vietnam, and I started studying the language. In fact, I quit UPI just to study the language. So I can now say, "Do not shoot" in five languages. (Laughter.)

But it really is important. I mean, Seymour Topping was asking yesterday, "What can you tell young reporters when they go into the field?" And I think he was looking for a different answer. But part of it is "Get the language. It won't help you" -- it didn't help with the Khmer Rouge. I mean, they just killed every journalist, every fixer, everybody they captured. But it will help you understand the country.

And please stop me now, because I may --

WARNER: I'll stop you now and just ask Caryle.

So have you learned Arabic in all these --

MURPHY: I know a lot of words, but I still don't know enough to do an interview in Arabic. And the main reason is I just never had enough time to sit down, and I didn't have the luxury of the Post. The Post, in its wisdom, decided that Russian and Spanish and Chinese and Japanese, they would teach those correspondents going to those places, but not Arabic. So I didn't get the year-long training. And, you know, I wish I had.

But another thing I like to bring up is that one good thing that's happening is that a lot of young Americans who are interested in journalism -- now, their parents or their grandparents emigrated from these countries, and they're learning the language and they're going to those areas.

The second thing that's happening is a lot of young people in these countries that we cover that are difficult, the young people there are more competent now to be journalists in the western tradition than they were 20 years ago. I mean, you can get now people who can write a story for an American audience. It may need a good editor. But in many of these countries you can get that. You couldn't get that, you know, 20 or 30 years ago.

REMNICK: Yeah, there's a reason you're seeing a lot of bylines in the Post and the Times who are, you know, natives or people who are fixers who are now being elevated into and getting their due, in a sense. For example, in Gaza, the New York Times person in Gaza all the time is Taqrid el-Hodari (sp).

And, you know, I -- it's not impossible to imagine that sometimes her sentence structure might not be absolutely elegant, but they can fix that in the garage. And she knows a lot. (Laughter).

And she's, you know -- and when one is getting, you know, led around by her, as I have, you -- you know, you feel like you're a little bit in a marionette kind of relationship because she knows everything. She takes you to the person. She knows the better questions to ask. And you get to ask yourself what the hell am I adding to this. (Laughter).

So it's a kind of honesty in advertising.

WARNER: Yes. Which is good to see. Right here in the third row?

QUESTIONER: Hi. Jim O'Neill from Clarium.

I'd like to ask each panelist to give a two-word answer. What two closed societies are most underreported?

SOUTHERLAND: Can I come back to that?

RUBIN: North Korea.

WARNER: Yeah. I'd say North Korea and Myanmar.

MURPHY: Burma.

WARNER: Yeah, Burma.

SOUTHERLAND: Actually, my radio covers North Korea like crazy. And we're working -- one of the interesting things is we're working with North Korean defectors -- turning them into broadcasters. And, boy, I'll tell you, that's quite an experience.

You meet one of these guys and you realize they're from another planet. I think there are stories in China that are underreported, but not the whole thing.

WARNER: Since this questioner asked for a two-word answer --

(Laughter).

SOUTHERLAND: Sorry. North Korea.

(Laughter).

WARNER: Right.

Yes?

QUESTIONER: Is there a mike?

WARNER: Yes.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. I'm Ted Sorensen at Paul Weiss.

Having parachuted in as a lawyer to many of these countries and similar countries, I'd like to ask whether any of you had relations with the U.S. embassy and what's helpful, useless, or risky.

WARNER: Good question.

MURPHY: I can answer that. When I started my career as a foreign correspondent, that was before I went to the Middle East. I was in South Africa. The United States embassy was a wonderful source of information. They had people who would, you know, take you in, give you a briefing on the economy and the politics, give you names and phone numbers, have you meet the ambassador. And they were really a good check on your own reporting, you know.

But in the last 10 years, especially under the Bush administration, the embassies are liked locked boxes. They don't want to give out any information. And, you know, it's -- and also, it varies from country to country.

But since the closure of the U.S. Information Agency, it's really gotten much more difficult to get cooperation on an information basis. Everybody is afraid to talk. They're afraid that you're going to misquote them and then their career will suffer, or they've been told from Washington don't talk to journalists.

It's really upsetting.

REMNICK: I think there was a little bit where I was -- a kind of point of pride that one didn't get one's stories at the embassy; that it was really considered low-rent thing to be an embassy reporter and that if you got anything more than Rice Krispies there, you were -- it was a bit of -- if I look back on it, silliness, because there were smart people at the Russian embassy. Jack Matlock was actually an exceptional ambassador. There were some political people there that knew a lot.

But as I say, the Soviet Union at that time went from being a black box -- I mean, if you read Rick Smith's book or Bob Kaiser's book from the '70s, every conversation is secret and there's a very tight, you know, group of friends that they could really speak to, and they were all dissidents or semi-dissidents in Moscow. And so -- and all of a sudden, this broke open.

So to spend more than five minutes, you know, in the embassy was not odd. But the whole Bush bit hadn't happened yet. I mean, to Reagan's credit, the Moscow embassy was not like that.

RUBIN: When I go in a foreign country because I'm going in just for a month, I try to go in and see the U.S. ambassador almost immediately just to understand what -- sort of what the administration's view -- what view they're getting from the field. And I find that useful. It doesn't -- it's always off the record. It's not a story. But there are some very astute, savvy ambassadors out there.

That said, I think part of the problem especially in areas -- I'll give you an example -- from Afghanistan is most of your embassy people in a dangerous area aren't getting out at all. I had a bizarre experience flying out of Afghanistan -- I was at baggage claim at Dubai. And someone from the embassy -- I won't give you his position -- but it was fairly high up, and it was someone who would be very involved in writing the reports about the country said to me how, you know, they'd seen my pieces and blah, blah, blah.

And he -- and I said, well, what do you think's going on there. And he said, well, I really think that the press is being, you know, awfully negative about the prospects for our engagement. And if you get out in the country, people are really glad that we've got a -- we're making a commitment.

And I said, oh, how interesting, you know, where were you, where have you been. He said, well, actually I've never left the compound.

(Laughter).

True story. True story, and a very, very bright man. But -- and because of security. So I think it's -- it's useful simply for, you know, if you're looking at the political dynamics, they have an important insight, but it's not a key to the culture.

MURPHY: And may I just add something? It's really sad to see U.S. embassies in many countries nowadays because they are like fortresses. There's no longer -- they no longer represent the open society that we do have here, and it's very sad.

RUBIN: I mean, interestingly now, I lot of people who've gone to work for the administration, like in Afghanistan or Pakistan, they're working at consultants because it's the only way that they can escape the confines of the embassies. So they'll say, okay, we'll come and work with you, Holbrooke, but we're not going to be a part of that whole, you know, security apparatus where we don't leave because otherwise, there's no point in having them.

But you do need -- particularly since we are at war now, you know, in these countries, you have to go, to some extent, to the U.S. embassy because you -- or to the Americans to find out, like, well, how do they see this; what are they doing here; why -- what is -- I mean, I just did this piece about Karzai in Afghanistan and wanted to know what the interactions are between the embassy and Karzai. And, you know -- and you have to -- and sometimes you really have to push and you have to keep calling them over and over and over again because that first meeting is useless.

So -- but you can't ignore them. And it's true. I think in the '90s, it was kind of like you didn't go to the U.S. embassy. It was kind of embarrassing.

REMNICK: Right.

RUBIN: You know, you got your story elsewhere. But you do have to engage with them now.

SOUTHERLAND: I think -- and I agree with Caryle that it's -- it varies from embassy to embassy. And I mean -- and there are experts in government who are worth consulting. I mean, I don't take this attitude that, you know, we should just blow them off. I think you just have to find out who's smart. I mean, pick out, you know, within the embassy itself. You know, have lunch with somebody. Sometimes that brings out a little more background information.

But they have things to contribute.

WARNER: Right here on the aisle?

QUESTIONER: Thank you, yes. Rory O'Connor from Media Channel.

I'd like to go back to Margaret, what you said right at the very beginning here. My question is: Are we seeing the end of the foreign correspondent with all these ex-Washington Post foreign correspondents on the stage?

Or conversely -- and I'd address this to Caryle -- in this day of layoffs and buyouts, buybacks and so on, are we, instead, seeing a new flowering through the Internet? I'd like to in particular ask you about your experience with the Global Post.

MURPHY: Yeah. I think that the cutback of foreign correspondents by most American newspapers and television stations is a boon to people who are willing to work as freelancers, you know, where you have to pay for your own 401(k) and your own health benefits.

But especially for young people starting out who -- you have to find a country where there's still an interest by American editors and there's not that much competition. You know, I didn't go to Beirut or Cairo because there's already scores of young people trying to go foreign correspondents there. So I went to a place where there are fewer, and there's still an interest in news from Saudi Arabia.

So, yeah -- what was the second -- oh, Global Post.

Global Post, you know, I have a feeling it's going to make it. It's still an experiment. It just started in January. But I think that the -- the design and the concept might eventually work. You know, they're getting their revenue from three different streams -- syndication and advertisement and then special access.

They don't pay that great, as we heard yesterday. But, you know, it's exposure, and it's a nice presentation. And I'm not sure it'll be the only way foreign news gets delivered in the future, but it's one way.

WARNER: We do actually have a whole panel coming up next on that with Charlie Sennott from Global Post. But does anyone else have another thought in general about -- with all these cutbacks?

SOUTHERLAND: Just to give you some good news, there are more foreign correspondents in Beijing now than they were when I was there. In other words, it's increased. But they're of a different type, many of them. They're guys who have three -- what we call three strings. You know, they're stringing for a lot of people. They don't make a lot of money, but they're -- and they're doing a lot of business reporting or -- look at the New York Times in China right now. They seem to have three people in Beijing, one in Shanghai, one in Hong Kong. That's amazing given their financial problems.

The Washington Post is down to one. Washington Post foreign staff down from 26 to maybe 14. So that's very painful for me, and I hate to praise the New York Times because they were the enemy, you know, the competitors. But it actually -- there is some good news out there. I'm sorry to --

WARNER: And I think that the challenge is for the non-Washington Posts and non-New York Times and Wall Street Journal -- I mean, they're really just a handful of papers that are now fielding their own foreign correspondents, as we heard last night, with a presence.

And I think that presents particular challenges of consistency and quality, and we have to find another way to maintain those standards but adapt to the new financial realities, which is, of course, what the big challenge is. And I'm glad we didn't have to solve that at this panel.

(Laughter).

Another question? Yes, right here. And I'll take one from the back. I'm sorry I've been focused here.

QUESTIONER: My name is Tony Catali (ph). I'm with the Oleon Group (ph).

I think it's been really interesting, considering last night's panel and this morning, listening to you all about talking about fixers. It seems to me like this is something that's becoming much more of an issue, much more of a story.

So my questions to you guys, obviously, when we hear about fixers, you know, you have to take into consideration who they're getting you to meet with. But when you're talking about closed societies in general and the governments in those societies, at what point does the fixer become the story if something happens to the fixer or if you're trying to find out something and they disappear and you lose track of them?

WARNER: I'm sorry. I don't quite understand your question. Do you mean do we have special responsibility -- or I mean, they clearly become a story if they get killed. I mean, but usually you're trying not to make -- I mean, occasionally, I've had fixers in a foreign country that, I'll say, God, he's just the perfect character. You get to know this person. You spend two weeks driving around with them, all these interesting insights.

But it's just a red line you don't cross. You don't make him a character. I mean -- and you have to be, I think, very aware of each fixer comes from his or her own set of political assumptions, and they're part of a certain strata of society, and they have certain cultural assumptions. So you always have to filter for that.

REMNICK: I think we have to -- to be honest, what we realize about fixers we don't often realize enough about ourselves. In other words, we are very discerning about who a fixer takes us to because we know that that fixer is so-and-so and his or her connections are with so-and-so. We don't ask those questions about ourselves enough; what our own orientations are, what our own presumptions and assumptions are.

Is the real bend with a political opinion in the United States Democrat and Republican? And all these things that we -- you know, is a kind of radical critique of American journalism that we confine to this whole area and call it Norm Chomsky or post-structure, whatever. It's a real serious subject, and I'm glad to see that it gets asked a lot more.

As far as fixers are concerned, if you can't see through your own fixer's habits or perceptions, then you really shouldn't be out doing that job. And my experience with them -- which is not as rich as somebody like Elizabeth -- is that they are -- if you have any decent tendencies or hiring good people, they're extraordinary and they're brave and they're selfless almost to an embarrassing, shaming degree.

And so if somebody gets hurt or, God forbid, killed or kidnapped and you write a story about it, I can't see anything wrong with that in the world.

RUBIN: No. Oftentimes, their stories are unbelievable because they've seen things. I mean, for instance sometime translators in Afghanistan who worked with the Special Forces, they have seen things that none of us know about. You know, and they -- one of them who I know ended up in prison accused of being a Taliban, and he did been with the Special Forces and, you know, these people have unbelievable stories to tell. I don't think it's odd to tell their story just because they're a fixer. It doesn't make them any less, you know, valuable to see what they've seen and to see what they've experienced.

WARNER: But would you fear you might be revealing too much and endangering them if you --

RUBIN: Oh, I'd only to it if they wanted it. You know, I wouldn't write a story about them if they didn't want it.

REMNICK: And they tend not to want it.

RUBIN: And they usually don't. And some of them do who've maybe left. But, no, most of the time, you're not going to write -- and they don't even want their names in the piece.

WARNER: There was a question back here. Yes, sir?

QUESTIONER: Morrie Helitzer. I was a fellow in 1960-61.

My question to the panel and also to members of the audience. Can you identify a watershed event when it became risky, life threatening for foreign correspondents? Because -- just to give you a little context on it, I was in Yugoslavia in 1949. And that was relatively a closed society. For a closed society, it would not qualify today.

But essentially, there was a sense of immunity for foreign correspondents. You were safe. I was traveling from Belgrade to -- from Zagreb to Belgrade on the train. I had a beard at the time. The conductor locked at the passport, said "Chetnik."

These were the Nazi allied members in Zagreb in World War II. And they said, what kind of name, Mr. Brown Brown. I was taken off the train, and I was taken to the ministry of the interior. And I was quizzed there so on and so forth. And then somebody came by and found out I was a foreigner, and the person who had done it was admonished, and I was taken off.

But subsequent to that, it did become life threatening, or at least in -- (inaudible) -- were being kidnapped or killed. And was there a watershed event that brought this about, or was it just a movement in general?

REMNICK: Well, Russia was the election of Vladimir Putin and the murder of Paul Klebnikov, but they tend not to kill foreigners, mostly Russians. That's what they care about. They care about that informational unit.

MURPHY: I think it's gotten much more dangerous for foreign correspondents, not necessarily always because of retaliation from the government you're trying to cover, but from conflicts. There's so many more millions and millions of small arms out there. Look at Africa where so many countries with 13-year-olds are running around with Kalashnikovs.

And the conflicts in the Middle East, like in Lebanon. I mean, it's very easy to get killed reporting those stories.

WARNER: Another question? Yes, sir, right in the back on the aisle.

QUESTIONER: Chandrakant Pancholi from Overseas India Weekly.

My question is how do you find these fixers and translators and drivers? And does your bureau give you -- does the U.S. embassy give you? And how do you find out that they -- (laughter) -- they are not planted ones?

WARNER: How do you find your fixers and drivers and so on? And do you get them from the U.S. embassy? And how do you ensure they're not planted?

RUBIN: I will say that some of the best fixers have been found out of desperation. Like you are -- when the war started in Afghanistan, for example, and a lot of people came from Tajikistan into the non-Taliban area and we needed translators. And there was a medical student who spoke English. And he's turned into the one of the New York Times' best reporters in Afghanistan.

He was just a guy who -- a tall guy who spoke some English. And oftentimes, you can create a fixer. I mean, somebody who just has a minimum of English and is a smart person and you can teach them the job and they get excited by it. And most of the best fixers in Afghanistan, that's how they started. And I would say the majority of them tended to be from medical school so they had some English.

REMNICK: That's in a system of either a chaos society or a free society. In China -- certainly, the China that Dan operated in and the Soviet Union I did and Iraq and many other places, Tehran, you have government minds. (Chuckles.) You don't have any choice whatsoever.

RUBIN: Yeah. That's right.

REMNICK: We had an office in Moscow staffed by a -- it sounds very fancy, but believe me (scattered laughter) -- a translator who, by the way, didn't speak English, but nevermind. (Laughter). I'm sure she had other talents. (Laughter).

A driver who got in an accident three or four times a week and refused to drive very often because he was drunk and other such. And they were appointed by a government agency. In the Russian case, it's called upedek (ph) -- it was the diplomatic corps. It was a KGB thing -- and maids or cleaning people.

So, on Friday afternoon, they go to some meeting, and they would, you know, say what they heard at the office or what was David and his wife talking about. It must have been an excruciatingly boring meeting -- (laughter) -- and -- in its kind of late mannerist phase, but it was, you know, it was serious business for a long, long time. The Chinese had this, and you had to live in these particular buildings. You didn't have a choice.

So the breakthrough for us is, in 1990, we finally, you know, screw this. We'll just hire somebody and see how the government reacts. We'll hire somebody that's actually good. (Laughter). And I hired a woman named Masha Lipman.

WARNER: Oh, wow.

MURPHY: My goodness.

REMNICK: And Masha Lipman had great English and she knew a lot and she was smarter than everybody, blah, blah, blah. She's now a columnist for the Washington Post. She was one of the best journalists in Russia when there was that period when there was actual journalism.

And, you know, you --

WARNER: She's at an important think tank.

REMNICK: Yeah. She's at the Carnegie Endowment there is Moscow. She's really --

WARNER: When some of us go to Russia, we put her on the air as an expert.

REMNICK: Yeah. She's on the tube a lot.

WARNER: I think -- I hate to say it, but I think my time -- our time is up. This has been a really fascinating panel. And I thank all my panelists.

Our next one at 10:15 will get more into more Global Post and sort of the new forms of foreign reporting in this digital age.

(Applause).

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

-------------------------

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: We had a terrific conversation this morning, which really gives you a sense of the dimensions of technology's reach into communities that don't get coverage and the importance of delivering information from those communities.

I think this is more of what Richard Haass might call, you know, a 36,000-feet discussion of maybe some more macro issues in the business. But we have people who can talk from ground level and from the sort of broad business end of what's going on in journalism right now.

A lot of the wither journalism online, the Internet produce for people in television and magazines and print the kinds of cramps and terror that comes from waking up this morning and hearing that Garrison Keillor is recovering from a mild stroke. Which in public radio is the equivalent of an asteroid hitting the entire organization. He's fine, but that was one of the stories this morning.

What we are talking about is very serious business here for the future of all of our jobs up here and for the delivery of content that's important to all of you here at the council.

I'd like to begin by telling a story. Long ago when I worked for an organization, National Public Radio, we were trying to figure out what our international coverage was. And there was a discussion that happened back in the early '80s about the possibility of using technology to deliver conversations from far-flung place, or places that felt and seemed far flung at the time, across phone lines that weren't so gritty and hissy and difficult to decipher.

And the technology was available to make it seem as though a phone call from Afghanistan or from Saudi Arabia and especially places like Kazakhstan would be a local call. And people were interested in this idea.

But all of a sudden, the consensus was, but why would we want a phone call to Kabul, Afghanistan to sound like a local call? We love the hiss, the sense of distance. (Laughter.) It gives it a feel of exotic. Why would we want technology to do something like that. I mean, there's nothing more boring than a local call.

Well, of course, in the 21st century, Beijing is a local call. Certainly, Baghdad is a local call, literally for service men it is a local call. And we have to get used to thinking of the world as much more combined. And technology certainly reduces the proximity, even as it increases the difficulties of journalism for many of us who have to deliver stories.

There are two real stories that we want to talk about here with this panel. One is, of course, the exciting story of how technology has enabled people to deliver and craft news stories that are much more vital and have multi-dimensionality than the old hissy conversation with the BBC reporter over the phone line.

Yet the other story that is equally important, but is perhaps less a happy story, is the question of how much more difficult it is to imagine a business model for both paying reporters in international coverage and in distributing content and getting some sort of monetary return from that that's going to sustain the kind of journalism that we all love.

You know, we had an example this week of how the music business is ahead of journalism in figuring out where the value is in online reporting, particularly international coverage. I mean, the hugest technological roll-out this week was from people who didn't want to listen to Beatles songs. No, they wanted to be the Beatles, the rock-band roll-out of The Beatles was an indication that where the value lies suddenly in the music business is this existential component, being a member of the band.

I think similarly, the transformation in news is people want to be editors. People want to be close to the action. They want to use their ability to aggregate online information to be reporters. Is there value in that? What is the business model? What are the implications of that? That's the subject that we want to discuss today.

And so we have a fabulous panel. I'm going to give them a hand right off the bat here, because we really have a terrific group here. (Applause.)

Let me just go down the line. I want to remind people, first of all, a couple of business issues. Turn off all of your electronic devices that we are going to talk about as an exciting new phenomenon in journalism. (Laughter.) But for us for the next hour and a half, they are an annoyance. And please, we don't want to hear them.

Also, people throughout the nation and the world are watching this on the council's website which is www.cfr.org. And we will hear remarks from each of the panel. We will have a discussion. And then we will open it to member's questions for the remainder of the period.

I want to introduce, first of all, L. Gordon Crovitz, who's co-founder of Journalism Online and writes the Information Age column for The Wall Street Journal. He has a distinguished career.

If you want more details about everybody's long and distinguished career, I will refer you to your programs. There's all kinds of information about that.

Charlie Sennott, an old pal of mine from The New York Daily News and The Boston Globe, but is now executive editor and co-founder of GlobalPost, the business model of which is very interesting and germane to a couple of things that I was saying a moment ago.

Nicholas Lemann, a dean and Henry Luce Professor of Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Of course, a well-known writer and journalist in his own right, but also heads up one of the most distinguished institutions in journalism today.

And Christopher Isham, vice president and Washington Bureau chief, CBS News, with a long, distinguished career in network news, who has lived a number of these transformations and will share those experiences.

Nick, I'd like to begin with you.

NICHOLAS LEMANN: Well, first of all, I agree wholeheartedly with the way you framed it. So just to repeat a little bit. If you take the economics out of the picture, we never had it so good. If you're a consumer of journalism, it's paradise right now. It's paradise that may not last for reasons we'll get into. But you know, the last 10 years or so, five to 10 years, have been the only time in my life where if I said, you know, I just don't like that New York Times correspondent in South Africa and I want to see what seven other South Africa correspondents from papers all over the world say, and if it's a Japanese paper, I want to push a button and get it instantly translated, I want to read it now, I can do that.

I, as a consumer of news, have more access to more overseas news for free at the touch of a finger. I mean, it's incredible if you think about it, if somebody had told you you could do that even 10 years ago.

If you're a producer of news -- again, if you don't have to worry about money and, of course, we all do have to worry about money -- also, you've never had it so good. And this affects us a lot at the school, because we find that we can produce, our students can produce really unbelievably good foreign correspondence as students.

If we can get them, you know, 1,500 bucks, or so, and give them three weeks off, they can go anywhere in the world, they can do, you know, video, audio, print. They can publish websites, which we do a lot at the school, and some of them are about foreign affairs. So all of the sort of barriers to entry are way, way, way lower than they used to be.

So the money problem, which we'll spend a lot of time talking about, I want to start with the risk of offending some of my other panelists, particularly Charlie, with the supposition that there may not be a business model for overseas reporting. Or anyway, in journalism, very broadly speaking, it's not seen as, you know, the cash cow that drives the whole business of journalism.

One hears on the rumor mill that Foreign Affairs magazine is so fabulously profitable that it keeps the whole council afloat. But that's kind of aberrational. I mean, if you remember -- (laughter)

HOCKENBERRY: Yeah, it's an anonymous blogger, I think.

LEMANN: You know, back in the '70s when Abe Rosenthal and his crew invented all those lifestyle sections in The New York Times to save the paper economically, much to the horror of the Village Voice press column and so on, that was proof that having, you know, the world's greatest network of foreign correspondents in one place didn't necessarily make for a profitable product.

And here I may offend other panelists like Chris, so let's talk about Edward R. Murrow for a second. You know, his first job at CBS News was in something called the Education Department. And this was before, way back in the 1930s, and there wasn't a News Department, there was only an Education Department. And the reason there was an Education was that the United States, through the late '20s and early '30s, an effort led, people often don't know, by Herbert Hoover, made a decision not to do what most of the other developed countries were doing and have a state-owned broadcast system, but instead to have a private broadcast system.

But if we were going to be aberrational in that way, we would place certain requirements on people, private entities that got broadcast licenses -- network owners, et cetera -- and one of them was you would engage in public education. So that was why CBS has an Education Department. Or maybe it was because (PLA ?) just believed in having an Education Department. But a little bit of both.

So one could argue, to be perverse, that the seed of broadcast news, particularly overseas broadcast news, lies in federal compulsion to do it, not in a market existing for it in the original sense, even though you guys have found ways to make it pay for itself, at least some of the time.

There's a fascinating passage in William Shirer's "Berlin Diary" where he describes this moment. He worked for Murrow. You know, Hitler is invading Poland and so on. And all these guys, who are the Education Department at CBS Radio and whose job it is to book uplifting guests, like ministers, on the radio, suddenly say, wait a minute, we're all former reporters, there's this huge story breaking, why don't we just get on the mike ourselves and tell people what happened? And that's how the whole business started, almost by accident.

So we'll have much subsequent discussion of business models, and it's a good discussion to have. But I'd just like to start the discussion with the note that we should entertain the notion that pure market forces will not, in and of themselves, support the kind of overseas reporting that our society and other societies in the world needs.

And that if that's true, that should not be an insuperable barrier. We have lots and lots of important public goods that we've found ways to provide through means other than the pure markets.

So I just urge us all not to view the difficulty of supporting this purely in the marketplace as meaning that's the end of overseas reporting.

HOCKENBERRY: Thank you, Nicholas. I have to say, personally, I'm glad that we have one more thing to blame on Herbert Hoover. There's no one in this room who killed broadcast news, and Hoover is to blame. (Laughter.)

Gordon Crovitz, you're next.

L. GORDON CROVITZ: So I will get to a rugged defense of markets and why markets work and why markets will ultimately help support the kind of journalism we're talking about, but let me do it a little bit circuitously and start with an observation from Silicon Valley which is, now as we all know, the center of the media universe. The largest media company in the world is based there. The largest advertising operation is based there. Google does not have a large News Department, but it's an enormous media company.

And one of the great observations from Silicon Valley is that whenever there's a change in technology that affects consumers, we always tend to overestimate the impact in the short term of that change of consumer behavior but then underestimate the impact in the long term.

So we all remember the early years of the Internet and newspapers were going to go away and magazines were going to go away, TV was going to go away. And instead, we got sock puppets and web van and other businesses that failed.

Fast-forward now 10 years later, and we're all still underestimating the impact of new technology and how consumers, readers, all of us are getting our news and information. We're getting it on devices that we carry in our pockets. By the time we see the next day's newspaper, I think many of us look at it and say, why is this all about what happened yesterday? I know what happened yesterday, yesterday, creating a very serious problem for news publishers and all media, given the new choices that people have and the instantaneous communications that people have and the fact that data travel in real time everywhere in the world.

Earlier in my career, I ran the Far Eastern Economic Review magazine. And we were putting together the 50th anniversary issue some years ago. And I went back to some of the files, and I realized that until the 1970s, the official price of rubber for world markets was the price of rubber in Malaysia as reported in the Far Eastern Economic Review until the 1970s. Imagine that. Now the price of rubber in Malaysia is set in real time by what is in Bloomberg. It's unbelievable to imagine, and yet that has affected every part of how we consume information.

But the bigger problem for journalism is not the challenge of consumers and leaders, as big a challenge as that is. The bigger problem is inherent in a quote from a fellow named John Wanamaker who, 100 years ago, built a department store chain in Philadelphia by using advertising in newspapers. Revolutionized the idea of using advertising in that way.

And he was asked, you know, what's the secret of his success? And he said, well, it's advertising. The problem is I know half of my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half. And that drove media for many years, this inability of advertisers fully to understand what advertising worked and what didn't work.

Advertisers now have unbelievable choice. They can narrow the audience. They know what the return on their investment is. Mass media, as many of grew up with it, is untargetable mass, wasted, all these terrible things from the advertiser point of view. That's the business problem for journalism.

And the nub of the business problem for journalism is that for 50 years or so, the only revenue model for most journalism was advertising. That subscribers, all of us as consumers, pay something for our newspaper, for our magazine, later for cable. But it never really covered all the costs.

Advertising is probably not coming back the way that it was. What other revenue streams are there? And if you look at the world, especially for foreign correspondents, and you ask, who's hiring foreign correspondents? Who do they work for? They work for companies like Bloomberg and Dow Jones and Reuters. They work for companies that have another business model other than advertising. They work for companies that are delivering very important, differentiated news for their audiences which tend to be more financial professionals than all of us as consumers.

But there's a lesson there, which is, if you have and are able to produce unique, differentiated information from anywhere in the world, including foreign correspondents, there will be an audience that will be willing to pay to get it.

So I'm optimistic about Charlie's group. I'm optimistic about startups that are focused on trying to generate new revenue streams. Technology empowers consumers to make a lot of choices. It also empowers publishers now to find new business models. So I'm optimistic in the long term.

HOCKENBERRY: Just one quick clarification. When you say Google is the largest media company in the world, what's your metric on that? Is it the capitalization? Is it audience?

CROVITZ: Advertising sales.

HOCKENBERRY: Advertising sales. Okay, great.

Christopher Isham.

CHRISTOPHER ISHAM: Well, speaking very much as representative of the old media, I guess I was thinking it wasn't that long ago, it was only 1983, when I covered my first war in Lebanon. And the difference between what we had to do in those days and how we operate today is really stunning, and it's worth just enumerating in a second.

We had no satellite up-link because the Syrians had bombed the TV station in Beirut. We had no Internet, obviously. No cell phones. We had a four-wire, a hard-lined connection between Beirut and New York, which allowed us basically to talk to New York over the telephone, which meant if a bomb went off we could tell New York about it and go on the radio.

HOCKENBERRY: A four-wire is a configuration of telephone lines.

ISHAM: Correct. So we had no -- and it was like open phone lines, essentially, which made the hotel very happy, because it meant that our phone lines, we had four open phone lines to New York, 24 hours a day. And it made, obviously, the local telecom happy.

HOCKENBERRY: You had to pay in local currency, right?

ISHAM: Yeah.

HOCKENBERRY: Yeah, okay.

ISHAM: Good rates. (Laughter.) When the bomb went off on April 18th, 1983, which ushered in the era of suicide bombings and what we know of as the modern cataclysmic terrorism, it took three hours to drive the video from Beirut to Damascus in order to feed it back to New York.

You know, the difference, obviously, today is now the news-gathering process moves at warp speed, and we can move anybody, anywhere on the planet with a single camera and a -- (inaudible) -- which is an up-link and a mobile satellite dish, which is no larger than an attache case. And he can transmit instantaneously from anywhere on the planet that he can get to. Obviously, they have to get there, which obviously still imposes some limitations on where we can go.

But that is a truly extraordinary and major change in the way the news is gathered and, I think, totally beneficial.

The other impact obviously is the way in which the news cycle has sped up. I mean, the proliferation of outlets, and this is not even including the Internet, but with cable TV, 24-hour news, the whole news cycle has sped up. We basically, in 1983, we had all day to think about what we were doing, because we didn't really need to go on the air until 6:30 at night, New York time.

Now we are either on the air or we are on the Web or we are somewhere 24/7. And that has had a huge impact on the way we do business and on everybody's daily lives in my business.

It has had, I think, there's been some good fallout of that and negative fallout. The positive fallout of that is that, I think, everybody knows that, you know, when our people in the field know that they are always on and you basically need to be transmitting information back, on the air, whatever platform you can find. I think that's extremely positive.

The negative side of that is that with the bites of information, if you will, have become so compressed that much of our news is now in very, very small, digestible pieces.

That said, it's remarkable, in a lot of ways, how the nuts and bolts of what we produce, pieces that go on the air, still involve reporting, they involve video, they involve writing stories that make sense to people. And that very much -- there hasn't been a huge change in that. We still do good pieces, and we do bad pieces. But on the whole, the nuts and bolts of what we do is actually stunningly similar.

And I think I'll leave it at that. We can talk about the business issues, because I think there are a lot of economic issues that we can get into. But I'd sort of defer that.

HOCKENBERRY: Just one clarifying question, though. If it is, if you'll forgive me, so much less of a pain in the butt to file from Beirut today versus what it was in 1983, how come CBS is doing significantly less international news today than it was in 1983?

ISHAM: Well, I think what you get into there -- and I'd want to see what the numbers are on that, because I think, in a lot of ways, we are broadcasting a great deal from Afghanistan, we are broadcasting a great deal still from Iraq, and certainly at the height of the Iraq war we were almost on the air with at least one if not two pieces a day.

"60 Minutes," if you look at the roster of "60 Minutes" stories coming up this fall, I think you'd be stunned at how many of those pieces are actually foreign. So I'd want to see the numbers. And I frankly haven't looked at them, but I'd want to see, you know, what the breakdown of that is.

But we are still doing a lot of international news. Is it enough? No. But it's a good deal. And I think that what you'll also see is that there are longer pieces and pieces where we'll send someone out for a week. The bureaus have been cut down, and there are a lot of reasons for that. But one of the net effects of that is that we'll now send a correspondent out to go into a place, like Afghanistan, and produce four or five pieces for, you know, three or four different broadcasts and try to maximize it that way.

So it's different. But still, the commitment is still very much there.

HOCKENBERRY: Thank you, Chris.

Charlie Sennott, tell us about GlobalPost and if you'll be working there in five years. (Laughter.)

CHARLES M. SENNOTT: I intend to be. Yeah, thanks, John. I mean, a lot has been said about GlobalPost. It's nice to be up here and be able to tell you a little bit about it.

It was said the other day that, you know, what we're able to pay foreign correspondents is so modest, it's hard to get out of bed in the morning for it. Every great correspondent I know, it wasn't the pay that got them out of bed. And if it was, they were insane, because most of the foreign correspondents I know don't make that much and never really have unless they were lucky enough to be at a network and really on a big contract.

So the great work of foreign reporting has always come from people, you know, who were paid fairly modestly. That said, great reporting has great value, and great correspondents need to make a living, and they need to work and operate safely.

And the one aspect of GlobalPost that I just really want to clarify is safety is hugely important to us. We have correspondents who are in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have very unique relationships with those correspondents where they have much more than our contract with them. They are surrounded by other resources that keep them working safely. We make very certain that is the case. We insist that all of our correspondents in the war zone have had hostile-environment training.

We are very careful. We had our correspondent apprehended in Iran and put in detention. We worked very hard, very diligently to get him out. And we did get him out.

We take these issues very seriously, but I do want to explain what GlobalPost is, because I don't think a lot of you know. So GlobalPost is an online news organization dedicated completely to international news. And it was launched about eight months ago. And we have 70 correspondents under contract as freelancers in more than 50 countries now.

What we believe in is the idea that you have to live in the country about which you write. That you need to have that language skill, preferably. You need to be there. You need to have what we call ground truth. So we're trying to create a new model for correspondents, who live in those places, to have an outlet to write for an American audience.

Those correspondents are a really interesting group. We're really lucky to have people like Carol Murphy, who is reporting for us in Saudi Arabia. She is a fantastic reporter. And I think of Carol as sort of the perfect example of the new foreign correspondent, because Carol had a great career as a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Washington Post. But now Carol is writing a book, freelancing for the Christian Science Monitor and the GlobalPost and, therefore, putting together a life where she can do really important reporting in a country that goes vastly under covered, and contribute to our site and to other places.

She's becoming her own entity. It's about her becoming an entrepreneur on her own, in a way. And that's what we try to promote. What we pay will not, you know, allow you to live. But what we will do is give you a core and a sort of base or a portfolio for you to build that up.

We've had more than 1,000 applications for jobs. We have correspondents who range from HDS Greenway, the legendary Boston Globe columnist, to Carol, to mid-career correspondents. We have people, like Mike Moran, who is here at the council, who is a columnist for us. We have a newly acquired Mohamad Bazzi, who is going to start writing a column, but I had to sort of convince him of that last night.

HOCKENBERRY: Did the not-enough-money-to-live argument really work for him? (Laughter.)

SENNOTT: Well, yeah. (Laughs.) Mohamad --

HOCKENBERRY: Great. I'd love to see a video of that on your website.

SENNOTT: It went late into the evening, absolutely. But you know, Mohamad is teaching. I should say that Mohamad was very young. I got to meet him when he was 18-years old and he walked in The New York Daily News where I was city editor, and he wanted to write. And I said, well, we don't have an internship program. He said, I just want to write something. I said, well, sit down and write. He sat down and wrote the lead, I grew up in two war zones, Beirut, Lebanon and the New York City public school system. And I said, we just started an internship. (Laughter.) I've never forgotten that lead, and I've followed Mohamad's career.

He's incredible. And I really need him to be part of GlobalPost. And a lot of what GlobalPost is about is about the passion for foreign reporting. It's about loving it. You know, I need we need differentiated information. But we also just need great storytellers in the world, and we need to have a place where those storytellers can write and not be over-edited and not be sort of encumbered by all of the commercial interests of what I call the Ancien Regime and the competition to get on air, when you just have a great story.

One of the beauties of GlobalPost is that we can cover the whole world, and we can combine all of this coverage from these correspondents. And if you go to GlobalPost, you'll see a really interesting mix of stories.

So yes, we give a fairly modest monthly base salary for freelancers, but it is exactly what superstringers have always been paid. It's really no different than what The New York Times still pays or the Christian Science Monitor still pays or NPR still pays. The difference is we're one of the last games in town that will give you a steady gig, because so many people are cutting back, even now on freelance.

So we're finding we can build an incredible team of veterans, mid-career folks and, interestingly, very young people who are out there reporting for us. So the team is really what it's all about for us. But in that new model of foreign correspondent, we're also trying to say that the correspondents themselves need to be entrepreneurial. So we pay them the stipend that we pay them for a set number of stories. But we also give them 10,000 shares in the company, and this is a part of the model that I'm always fascinated that correspondents forget about it, like Carol didn't mention it.

You know, it's a big deal. This is giving you a piece of the future of a company that, if we make it, will make you part of that success. And we're trying to sort of say, this is genuine, we want you to be part of it. These shares are not paper. They have a cash value. And those shares pay out over time.

So we need correspondents to start to think sort of with their own entrepreneurial spirit. Great journalists are always enterprising and entrepreneurial. We need them to think more about their careers that way, too. We try to encourage that.

At GlobalPost, the business model relies on three different revenue streams, so we are looking at advertising online, syndication with newspapers -- and there are so many newspapers now that have cut back on their foreign coverage that we really think there's a decent play there for us -- and also, people, you know, are looking for other places for content right now, not just AP or not just Reuters.

HOCKENBERRY: You mean subs? Or you mean --

SENNOTT: I mean, we have, for example, The Newark Star Ledger, when the Lockerbie, Megrahi, was freed, we had a really interesting story out of London, written by Michael Goldfarb, formerly of NPR. He's a fantastic writer. And that ran on the front of The Newark Star Ledger.

We did a big series in Afghanistan where we really invested in a special project called "Life, Death and the Taliban." That series was carried, pretty much in its entirety, in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, another affiliate of ours.

So syndication is a very, very important part of our future revenue. And so is advertising, of course. But I think the most exciting one is Passport, which really tries to create a community where globalpost.com is free, Passport is a subscription model, it's very reasonable, and it brings you into the community. And it speaks directly to what you were saying, John, about how people don't want to just listen to The Beatles, they want to be The Beatles.

We are trying to create, through Passport, an opportunity for the community that has a membership with Passport to be part of what we do. By paying, as a member, you become a more intimate part of our community, and you can actually vote for stories to be covered in the world. We will put them up to the community. They will be voted on. The best idea wins, and we will then go out and cover that story.

We will put you in touch with our correspondents in the field through conference calls so you can actually talk to them about what they do, how they do it, what it's like. It becomes more intimate because it's a smaller community, and it allows you that access.

So we are --

HOCKENBERRY: How much do you pay a freelancer for being on a conference call?

SENNOTT: I think we pay them $250 for the call.

HOCKENBERRY: For the call?

SENNOTT: Yeah.

HOCKENBERRY: All right. You've thought this through. Nice, nice. (Laughter.)

SENNOTT: I won't ask you how much you pay for correspondents who you talk to in the field, but I would just say, in the end, GlobalPost is this exciting enterprise. That, you know, my part of it is that I've been a foreign correspondent and always wanted to be one and feel really lucky to have been able to do it. And I don't want to see it die.

And the passion I bring to it is really the storytelling side. But I have a partner, Phil Balboni, who is the CEO, and who wrote the business model. And Phil is a very rare combination of a great journalist and a great businessman. And there are not many of those out there in the world.

And I think it's really important to say that it's that team of Phil thinking through the business side and I'm trying to build the team of writers in the field. And I think together, you know, the odds might be stacked up against us. But it is a lot of fun trying, and I think it's really important that we have more eyeballs in the world.

HOCKENBERRY: Charlie, thanks for that. You argue passionately. I really need to ask you, though, how is the Carol Murphy model, which you've so eloquently described, of not being able to pay a living wage, where you have to work for the Christian Science Monitor, different from the Walmart model where mom has to work at McDonald's at night after she goes home from Walmart and has no health care?

SENNOTT: Well, being a foreign correspondent is a hell of a lot better job than working at Walmart. Carol has tremendous skill. She's a great reporter. It's hard to find these jobs right now. I think the more accurate sort of description of what that's like is to be an artisan, to be someone who makes things. You're a craftsman. And if you can't, you know, sort of get the same kind of jobs you used to get in a big production mill, and you're going to start doing piecework because you love the craft, that's more what it's like.

And I think, you know, Carol is working on a book. She's got a lot of offers because she has a very distinguished career. For our younger correspondents, it's just a chance to get out there and do it. We become that base that they can rely on, so they can start a career.

HOCKENBERRY: So the other mechanism, as Nick was talking about, the cost of entry has lowered, you're providing that port of entry.

SENNOTT: Exactly.

HOCKENBERRY: All right. I want to give members a chance to question. Raise your hands, and I will call on you. And the microphone will come around.

For me personally, and you can think about this and talk amongst yourselves, for me, the chief question and concern, and we'll get a question from the audience, is whether this is a transitional period, because you referred to the Wanamaker era. And when the Hearst empire began, it was built on subs to begin with. It was built on the ability to project bylines and a certain kind of veracity and storytelling that attracted subscribers.

So the idea that advertising always wins out over a subscription model has been in flux for more than a century. So the question is, are we in a transitional moment? And you know, obviously, where are we going to land? But when do you think the transition will end? And how will it end is really a chief concern to me.

But let's get a question from the audience. Raise your hand -- right over here.

QUESTIONER: I'm Jerry Goodman from Adam Smith Global Television. And we have produced many international specials, all on PBS. And the problem we've found is that we had a highly edited essay forum, like "60 Minutes," without the budget of "60 Minutes." And the problem is always, how do we get the stations to carry them at a time that anybody would want?

And I had to spend my time cultivating stations. So my question to the whole panel is, you've talked about the different modes and the different delivery systems, and you're going to talk about where we might be going, how are you going to get the audience? How do you carve out an audience to pay attention, even if you do beautiful work?

LEMANN: Things are really different, Jerry, from what they used to be. Some of us journalists remember this thing called the news hole that we used to fight to get part of. You know, the idea was there's a very high barrier to entry and disseminating this kind of information. There's only a few people who can do it, and they have the ability to, as the economists would say, extract rents from people in exchange for that. And so you have, you know, a few providers.

And the precious thing, if you're on the production side, if you're a working journalist especially, is to get space. Once you've got the space or airtime, the audience came guaranteed.

Now, you know, anybody can start a website and broadcast to a worldwide market. So it's really a question of, you know, how big an audience you can build.

The finding that those of us who operate websites have is, first, you can develop quite a large Web audience, and that audience, despite a lot of fear and hand-wringing, seems to be able to know what's real news and what isn't. And a chief example is the 20 million or so audience of The New York Times online.

In other words, the big audiences are where most people in this room would want the big audiences to be, if you will, with the possible exception of the Drudge Report. And that itself is all aggregated from mainstream news sites, or almost all.

To keep an audience, it's like -- I don't know if any of you remember from your children these things called Tamagochis that they confiscated in schools, where you'd have to, quote-unquote, "feed" them every three hours or they would die.

HOCKENBERRY: Yeah. It's your secret friend -- (inaudible) -- yes.

LEMANN: Yeah. So that's the experience if you operate a website. It's very easy technologically to put up a fabulous piece of journalism. And sometimes, if it's a super-mega home run it will get a big audience. But you know, to really build an audience for a site, you have to just feed it all the time. People have to know every two hours when they go look at it there's going to be new content there. And if you do that, you can build a really significant community. That's the good news.

The bad news is almost nobody who has succeeded in doing that is making money doing it. And the few that are, to go back to the point raised earlier, are really people like Bloomberg News who are providing kind of actionable information that you can make money on in real time, which applies somewhat but much less than totally to overseas reporting.

HOCKENBERRY: But to take Jerry's point there, PBS has specific distribution problems in terms of reaching its audience that are unique and probably don't apply to Chris' situation, et cetera. And aside from Margaret and the NewsHour, there is no sort of lateral way to reach the PBS news audience, though it does exist, and numerically it does exist.

But Gordon, let me direct a follow up to you. And Nick raised this point. The Bloomberg create-your-own-audience-and-then-run-with-it kind of idea that you're basically dealing with aficionados who want a particular brand of information, actionable in the case of Bloomberg. But in the case of Politico, not necessarily actionable, it's news that you want about politics, about a specific domain. They've been very, very successful with that.

Does international news have a play here in the sense that you create aficionados who are really interested in what's going on, either in regions of the world or in the broad domain of international news? And can you monetize that?

CROVITZ: Absolutely. So I think Nick is absolutely right. There are news brands that have much larger audiences now online than they ever had in their old medium, print, broadcast, whatever it might have been. The opportunity to monetize, to bring brass tacks or platinum tacks, if we're lucky, the ability to monetize that audience has been, so far, a challenge.

I myself think that it's, in large part, from want of trying. That the GlobalPost approach, the Passport approach -- by the way, the NPR approach -- essentially is to say, we know that some modest percentage of our audience is deeply, deeply, deeply engaged. They associate themselves with GlobalPost, with NPR, with The Guardian, with The Times, with The Wall Street Journal, whatever it might be. That is part of themselves.

Those people are very, very likely, if offered something beyond what is otherwise available, to become a subscriber in some form, a sponsor, a donor, a supporter, a subscriber. And I think the Web is this enormous audience where virtually any news brand, if you can imagine 10 percent of the monthly online unique visitors to those brands paying $50 a year, $100 a year, would not solve all the problem, but it would certainly alleviate a large part of the problem.

HOCKENBERRY: Well, the (perennial ?) pitch for that is, feel better about yourself and give, you know, because it's not free. Now, in the real business world, that is like there are 10 percent who are suckers, and then there are 90 percent who get it free. (Laughter.)

CROVITZ: In defending the market and not treating consumers as suckers, there are models in the world, which are increasingly common, where websites, for example, will allow people to read 10 articles a month for free, and then after that, people are asked to pay more for them. In other words, people who are sort of a casual user of a website maybe forever will access it for free, but that 10 percent or so who really want everything from that brand -- it could be a Chinese-language newspaper based in Hong Kong that is free in Hong Kong, but they charge people in San Francisco and Sydney and London and Toronto where they live to read it. There are many models like that that are just beginning to get tried.

And I would predict, if we come back in a couple of years, that this will be, you know, one of the rare, bright spots of revenue generation which, as Charlie and his team, I think, are showing, one of the beauties of that approach is it's not just relying on advertising. The editors, the producers, the publishers can focus on the user and what the user really values.

And that is much more exciting, I think, for journalism than hoping that the advertising market comes around.

HOCKENBERRY: Christopher, you had something to say.

ISHAM: Well, I just wanted to -- this isn't responsive to the Web issue, but I think our experience has been that I don't think there's any question that there is an audience out there for international reporting and international news. And again, cite the "60 Minutes" example. I mean, "60 Minutes" maintained a very high level of reporting, continues to do serious reporting on everything from credit-default swaps to the war in Afghanistan. And they've remained in the top 10 week after week after week. It's a hugely successful show. And there are some things, the result of many, many years of building an audience, which is a huge advantage it has. Its address is a huge advantage coming after football. Clearly, it has advantages.

But with that said, they have maintained a very, very high level. And despite the fact they've lost a lot of their original cast, it continues to do incredibly well. So that, to me, tells us that there is an audience out there if you know how to reach them and you tell good stories, which a great, great part of this.

HOCKENBERRY: Quickly, and then we'll get another member.

SENNOTT: Okay, just quickly, I agree completely that it really is about the great stories. And to answer your question directly about audience building, I mean, one of the most exciting things we have at GlobalPost right now is our audience and watching it grow. So we are growing at a rate of 35 percent a month for every month we've been around, which is all of seven and a half months.

But we've reached 3 million visitors now to our site. I don't know how much you want to get into the metrics of the Web, but we could, at some point, if you want. The short story is that we have managed in seven months to build a community that's really interested in international news. And our metrics, and you can really study these with Google analytics, you can know exactly how many times people are coming back, how many page visits there are, time on site on every story.

And one of the most exciting metrics we see is a fully engaged community that keeps coming back. And when they come back, they engage deeply. And that says to me that the Web can also tell us that people do care about international reporting and they do care about great stories.

HOCKENBERRY: A question right here from a member.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Bob Lifton. This is more of an addition to Passport. There is a new technology now that just takes this whole thing one step further, and that is the ability to have unlimited numbers of people on a meeting, on video, on the Web, including hand-held devices, so that people can participate and watching news as it's taking place. And you guys can have people interviewed and talking to these people and charged for that specific group. And they can participate on their BlackBerrys. They can participate on their hand-held iPhones and all.

HOCKENBERRY: Certainly, we saw that in Iran on some level. That was a sort of journalistic component. There are also -- during the U.S. Open, you can see people reacting instantly to whether Melanie Oudin can come back or not, which has certainly news implications. Are these positive, monetizable things, Nick?

LEMANN: Again, I'm not seeing -- I mean, we have a really big, natural experiment going on here because the barriers to entry are so low. And we have at least two people on the panel with me are out there taking part in it in an up-close and personal way, which is great and all applause to them.

There's a pretty clear finding, I hate to say, so far from this very large, very distributed, natural experiment, which is almost nobody is making money on online Web journalism.

So I'll return to where I began and say, you know, there's a very rich set of options available to a society if something is a public good and isn't supported by the market. And those would include, you know, a whole bunch of things that sit in the not-for-profit sector, a whole bunch of things that sit in the public sector, not limited to direct subsidy. And we should be exploring those as vigorously as some of my fellow panelists are exploring the other options.

HOCKENBERRY: Specifically, do you think the issue, sort of from the Hoover era to today, would be a fee charged to all Internet service providers, that would cover this kind of phenomenon and pay people who provide news and information, like the BBC sort of forces people for (videos ?)?

LEMANN: I like that idea. Some of my colleagues and I are working on a big kind of report on the future of journalism, which will be out about six weeks from now, five weeks from now. The lead author is Lynn Downey, ex-editor of The Washington Post. And his colleague is Michael Schudson, a scholar on our faculty.

They'll be proposing a number of specific solutions, one of which is a variant on that. So I think that's a promising avenue.

But just to go back to an earlier and as chance to do a shout-out, I mean, there's all sorts of people doing great stuff. I mean, you guys are doing great stuff. The fact that it's not all making money is a concern and something we should talk about, but let's not get off the idea that there's a tremendous amount of wonderful international reporting and domestic reporting being done right now.

And the decline story, because of all the big metro papers cutting back bureaus, is not the only story. Shout-out time -- one of our recent grads, sitting back in the audience, Basharat Peer, has just published a wonderful book on his native Kashmir and is signed up to write a second one. One of his classmates, who some of you may have read about, Kelly Niknejad, is putting out a wonderful blog called Tehran Bureau which Fareed Zakaria recently called indispensable.

You know, this is unbelievable stuff for people two years out of school. Kelly's, you know, doing this out of her parent's basement. So they're all going broke, but they're doing it. (Laughs.)

So another way to frame the problem is, if we look at the miraculous technological and production possibilities, they're so much better than what we had before. Let's think about, solve for that and find ways to pay for it, some of which may sit inside the market system, some of which may not.

HOCKENBERRY: But it's fair to say that the narrative that Nick is describing is consistent with what you were saying, Gordon, in that brands are being developed in parent's basements, and it's not really a basement where GlobalPost is, it's a fine office there in Boston, but as these brands develop, then the monetizable models get connected to them. And it's conceivable that some of these people later in their careers will be able to make a living wage.

CROVITZ: And I think, you know, the business side of journalism is, to some large degree, at fault. Which is to say, for years, have undervalued the journalism by not charging very much for a magazine, for a newspaper, for other forms. And that's only accelerated on the Web. And instead of communicating to people that there's no hope that the government's going to have to subsidize -- God help independent journalism if that ever happened -- instead, the message should be independent, authoritative, trustworthy journalism from around the world is valuable to people.

And they shouldn't feel like suckers if they end up contributing to their favorite sources. And I think that is a sharp shift, surprisingly, but one that, I think, is very much needed.

HOCKENBERRY: Another question -- Bill, and then here in the center.

QUESTIONER: Bill Blakemore, ABC News, a Murrow fellow in '84. A question for Charlie and Gordon, and really for all of us. It's called the worldwide Web, and English is something like the lingua franca of the planet at the moment. Increasingly, from scientists we hear this, of course.

And so that raises an interesting question about who the audience now is. Do you guys get any sense of you're beginning to build a global audience? Can you measure that? I mean, is that changing the way you work as editors and that your writers work as writers?

SENNOTT: Great question. So one of the things, you absolutely can monitor it. I mean, every day we can look on Google analytics and we can analyze exactly who's reading our stories and where they're reading them from. And another exciting aspect of the metrics for this very young GlobalPost is that we're being read in every country in the world except for two -- North Korea and, for some reason, Serbia. I have no idea why this is, but I've got a friend in Belgrade. I'm working on getting him online. (Laughter.)

HOCKENBERRY: Nobody told you, huh, Charlie?

SENNOTT: So we're really excited about sort of the reach you can have. But that said, we are very intentionally trying to write to an American audience that we think has really few options for international news. You know, Nick pointed out a truth which is really exciting. If you don't like The New York Times correspondent, you can go find The Guardian, or you can look at how Japan is covering this.

But for a country as large as we are with as many investments as we have in so many different ways overseas, we really have a pretty barren landscape for international news. It's really depressing. You know, I loved in London for five years. But you only have to be there one week on vacation and watch the BBC, and you come home seething with jealousy. And you ask, what the hell happened in America that we don't have that level of quality reporting on international stories every day of the week?

HOCKENBERRY: You're confusing two sets here, domains. One is the global audience where you don't really need to rely on the Americans, who would prefer to get their news at 6:30 every night on network television. You know, this American audience that is this huge beast, kind of like the consumers in China, who suddenly are going to awaken to international news and make all these business models work. You've got to know which one you're talking about. You can't confuse them.

SENNOTT: That is exactly right. But I think we are trying not to be confused on that front and say, we are very consciously trying to find foreign correspondents who really can write to an American audience and who can tell stories with an ear for the way an American audience would hear them. Because if we don't do that, we won't succeed.

HOCKENBERRY: Let me get to Chris. What is the pressure to take your American audience that tunes in to "60 Minutes" and find a global sort of follow on for that? Is that a difficult challenge for CBS? Is that something that they've given up on? Is that doable?

ISHAM: Well, it's a little bit out of my lane. But I think it's something that has been discussed. We have partnerships with Sky TV, for example, in which we package our material and provide it to them. And it does, it goes all over the world. I mean, we do have a global audience in that sense. It's not the CBS brand, however. So that, I think, is still a work in progress and something which we have been completely dependent on the Web.

We have a huge push on, as all the networks do and all mainstream news organizations do, to try to, you know, improve and upgrade and expand our presence on the Web.

HOCKENBERRY: Gordon, I want to hear your comment, but let me get another member question. You can feel free to refer to it.

We'll go here, here and then in the center. And I think that's probably all the time we'll have. Right there -- yes, please. Please stand.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Kira Kay. I run the Bureau for International Reporting which is a nonprofit. I was at ABC News for many years and decided to take the nontraditional route to fund what we're doing.

I did want to ask Chris as the network rep there, there are still the big three commercial networks. They still have airtime. They still have the audience. How do we get that time back for international news? Minute by minute, ratings -- for those of you who don't know -- bosses sitting there, seeing when their audience turns the dial, how do we get over that and bring this, as Mr. Lemann says, the public good back to the commercial airwaves?

ISHAM: That's a question for me? (Laughter.) Well, we're a business, by definition, and we're not a nonprofit, hopefully we will remain in business and we won't go into the nonprofit category. And that does have an influence on our programming. We want to produce programming that people will want to watch. And that is, you know, there is a constant tension within the newsroom -- and it's not just our newsroom, it's every newsroom -- between what we perhaps as journalists want to put on the air versus what our editors believe will sell, people will want to watch.

And it's an ongoing dialogue, there's an ongoing tension. I think the net effect of that actually is that we produce some excellent television along the way. Is it enough? Is there enough that would satisfy you? I doubt it. But we do produce a great deal of really outstanding programming.

HOCKENBERRY: A question right here -- yes.

QUESTIONER: Hi. I'm Evelyn Leopold. I'm freelancing now, U.N. based. Until recently, I was with Reuters in various parts of the world -- (inaudible) -- do the background, do the features and keep going. My question is, are you -- and I haven't read GlobalPost, I will do that immediately -- but are you forced to do foreign news when there's an American angle?

HOCKENBERRY: Gordon and then Charlie. There's an American angle drive for the coverage of international reporting and some of the brands that we've discussed.

CROVITZ: You know, I want to answer that question a little bit differently, which is to say that there are global brands that are read in the U.S. for international news that are not U.S. brands. The Guardian was mentioned, The Telegraph, both sides of the U.K., have got enormous online audiences, most of which are outside of the U.K., a lot of which are in the U.S.

And people are reading those brands, I think, for high definition on most foreign news and aren't reading The Guardian for coverage of -- (inaudible).

And they're reading those brands and The Economist and some other brands like that because they have a very distinctive point of view, a perspective that is not otherwise available. And there's no reason U.S. brands can't emulate that approach, as some U.S. brands, Newsweek in particular, are now trying to do to make their brands more distinctive, less like everybody else's reporting.

And I think that is part of this technological change. That in the old days, it was all right for a brand to not stand for all that much because it was serving a geographical audience or a mass audience. Brands, I think now, have to stand for much more and to become more different from one another.

HOCKENBERRY: But specifically to the question, does that mean jettisoning the American angle, as you project the information, so that it --

CROVITZ: This is a big -- I mean, one reason -- my own point of view -- I've spent about half my journalistic career outside the U.S. This is a big country. I mean, one reason we have to recall that people in the U.S. focus less on foreign news is this is a big country. The U.K. is a small country.

So I think it's understandable. But the world is now much more relevant to people here, no matter what the news is. I think it's really a question of the most familiar brands not yet having done as good a job as they'll have to do to make international news seem relevant and essential to Americans.

HOCKENBERRY: Okay, Charlie.

SENNOTT: I mean, the answer is no. We don't let the American angle drive the story. We have fantastic correspondents, you know, like, we have Mort Rosenblum in Paris, who wouldn't write a story from his boat there in Paris that only because it's an American angle. He'd tell us something about France that we think an American audience would be interested in.

But that said, you know, I was a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe. And one of the greatest things about being a foreign correspondent for a regional paper was you were constantly looking for this local story. You know, I once covered a guy who was feeding -- all the young Palestinians were throwing rocks at the Israeli soldiers. And I swore I heard a Boston accent in his Arabic. And he was a shwarma, you know, guy.

And I said, where are you from? And he said in perfect Boston accent, Somerville, where are you from? (Laughter.) And I said, oh, my God! So there you have this great local angle, that you can get people who are Boston Globe readers into understanding what he's saying to these young kids and why he moved from Somerville to the West Bank and the hope he had for peace and how it dissolved.

You know, the local angle is a great way to invite people in. But we don't want to be so driven by American interests that we don't open our eyes to the world.

HOCKENBERRY: A question right there. I think that's probably the last. Actually, behind you, sir. But if you already have the mike, go ahead. We'll cram two questions in. Go ahead.

QUESTIONER: I thought you had pointed to me. I'm Claude Erbsen, I'm retired AP vice president, and I was a foreign correspondent for many years.

When we were talking outside, Charlie, you said, the old model of a foreign correspondent with a salary, benefits, moving expenses and what have you and a reasonable living -- nobody ever got rich in journalism -- is finished.

SENNOTT: Some did, actually.

QUESTIONER: Pardon?

SENNOTT: Some have in recent years.

QUESTIONER: I would like to ask if the rest of the panel agrees that foreign correspondents are going to essentially have to become a monastic order and develop into a sort of an octopus approach of having to scramble around, working for this operation, for that operation, for the other? Or is there still a future for somebody who gets sent out by somebody who pays them a living wage and expects a certain level of coverage, whether it's six stories a day, my days at the AP, or whether you can sit back for three, four days and write a lengthier piece? Is there a future for the old approach, or is it definitely monastic octopus lines?

SENNOTT: God forbid we become monastic. But the high church of the idea that a newspaper like The Globe or The Chicago Tribune or, increasingly, the networks are going to give you that package that some of us were really lucky to have -- I feel really fortunate to have been able to do foreign reporting that way -- but the economics will not sustain that now, unless it's AP, Washington Post or New York Times.

But that said, what I call the Ancien Regime of profligate waste -- I mean, you have to see a network cover John Paul II's funeral to see. I mean, it is absurd what they are spending on some of this coverage when they neglect to cover huge parts of the world. And that was an important funeral. He was important historic figure. And it deserved great treatment, and it was beautifully covered. But the networks, I just watched them because I was there, and I couldn't believe the waste.

And I think there is a new era that's going to be more stealth. It's going to be different, and we're going to have to find that right balance.

HOCKENBERRY: A final question right here in the back. Sorry, sir, I've overlooked you twice. A member question -- you're it, you go. Yes.

QUESTIONER: My name is Abdou Simones (ph), I'm a former fellow. My latest piece of work is a book that will be out at the end of this month on Islamic fundamentalism rising in Southeast Asia. And there will be a piece in Foreign Affairs as well.

HOCKENBERRY: One more, and it's a plug. It's an actual plug. (Laughter.)

QUESTIONER: It is a plug, but it's for myself. I'll start with a quick little anecdote about my former boss at The Washington Post, Kay Graham, who was making a grand tour of Post bureaus and had met at her hotel suite with a young woman who, at that time, was a correspondent, a stringer in Hong Kong. And Mrs. Graham said to her, surely, my dear, you don't live on what we pay you.

And this brings me to the GlobalPost, I'm afraid, and the notion that either you've got a rich aunt somewhere or that you are burning the fire at 23 and ready to risk your life for anything. This goes on. I mean, I started my career in Vietnam and with people who turned out the gutsiest, craziest photographs and news stories were the freelancers who were willing to risk their lives because they were young and hungry.

But the assumption that you can build a solid reporting base from overseas of young kids and mid-career people who are out of work and trying to cobble together a few strings or semi-retired or fully retired people who are anxious to keep a finger in the game, I think, is a nonstarter.

Yet I know from Nick Lemann --

HOCKENBERRY: Question, question.

QUESTIONER: I'm sorry. I'm going to ask my question right now.

I know from Nick Lemann that they have no problems getting top-class students at Columbia. And I'd like to know from Nick or anybody else who wants to toss it in, what is it that attracts young people into journalism today and into foreign correspondency, in particular?

LEMANN: Well, try to tie all these strings together. So there's a lot of journalists in the audience, right? Among the journalists in the audience, raise your hand if your mom begged you to go into journalism because it was a nice, secure living. (Laughter.)

So what I'm saying is people go into it out of love. People go to our school or to NYU out of love. They are entranced by the ability to perform the function. And our students are particularly entranced these days by the lure of being a foreign correspondent. Our student body gets more international every year. And you know, our frustration, there is either a true or urban legend. It's that -- excuse my language -- that the students one year had a T-shirt printed up that said "Fuck Topeka." This is in response to the advice from me and the Career Services Office that you have to go to a small town and make your bones as a journalist. (Laughter.)

HOCKENBERRY: Anyone from Topeka here?

LEMANN: So there's an enormous interest in being a journalist. All this talk about the crisis in journalism, I think, drives interest in young people, because they figure, and they may not be wrong, that we're in a moment when everything has been thrown up in the air. And by the time they're 35, it will have fallen down somewhere, and it won't be quite as chaotic as today.

Going back to Claude's question for a minute. It's pretty clear to me what the landscape may look like, and that is there will be a global, small group of global news brands that will maintain, you know, foreign-reporting staffs. Those staffs will be kind of lighter on the ground, the old days of, you know, the ABC bureau with the chef and the chauffeur for the bureau chief in Paris.

ISHAM: Those days are gone. (Laughter.)

(Cross talk.)

HOCKENBERRY: The chef has to do a report now. The chef has to file.

LEMANN: But they'll have reporters. So that's one category. And there will be however many, 10 players in the world, or something like that. Then there will be a bunch of more specialty brands that do, you know, more like newsletter publishing, very specific business journalism, but subcategories of business journalism.

And then, you know, yes, there will be this big world. But Lou (sp), that's how the book industry works, for example. You know, I remember when I was young, I had that exact same conversation with Mrs. Graham, who I then worked for as a full-time employee, by the way. And then I signed my first book contract, and I had the same conversation with the book publisher.

So you know, a lot of these businesses don't work in any rational way. So I think that you'll see this giant, shaggy, unorganized world of freelancers and super stringers and book writers who sort of piece it together and find ways to do foreign correspondence. Then the specialty tranche. Then this sort of mainstream media tranche.

HOCKENBERRY: Some final thoughts. Chris -- we'll just go down the panel.

ISHAM: Well, I just want to say one thing. I want to echo what Nick has said. I'm consistently impressed with the quality of young people coming into the business. And they really are stunning.

And it's also very right that a lot of them are coming out of journalism schools and much more international in flavor and very, very strong. And my chief foreign affairs correspondent, by the way, to the questioner in the back, is Lara Logan, who works, she's fearless and is a tireless correspondent. And I do not see her heading for the monastery any time soon.

HOCKENBERRY: Gordon.

CROVITZ: I want to balance my otherwise optimistic point of view in one regard, which is that the one thing we do have to keep in mind -- to Claude, your question -- foreign correspondents especially require strong institutional backing from time to time. Many of us have had experiences of foreign correspondents having, you know, one difficulty or another around the world, in countries that don't appreciate their presence or their reporting.

If there are 10 such institutions left -- Nick, to your estimate -- that would be great. If it turns out there are many fewer than that, then I would be much more concerned.

And for the GlobalPosts of the world, of which I hope there are many, that institutional power to support journalism in countries around the world, that we can't lose sight of, and that's not something the government support can handle, that's not something that a nonprofit status, I don't think, can handle. It requires a robust business where the business is protecting the reputation of the brand and the journalist to defend people in those circumstances.

SENNOTT: So you know, I think, basically, freelance is a great tradition. I mean, Michael Kelly was a freelancer for The Boston Globe. Samantha Power was a freelancer. Some of the really great journalists have worked on that model of getting out there on a huge story and cobbling it together and telling the story. Not all of the correspondents out there were lucky enough to have benefited from the full package.

There is middle ground here, and that's what we're looking for. And we're going to be looking for those correspondents who live in the places about which they write, who really want to tell the great stories. But we're also going to have to be creative about our business model. We're going to have to think about partnerships.

We just did a great partnership with Public Radio International, GlobalPost and, sort of in a tertiary way, the NewsHour where we did a fantastic group of reports -- video, audio, photography and print -- called "Life, Death and the Taliban." And I urge you to go on globalpost.com and look at that project.

And I really want to invite you to go to the site because, you know, I am from Boston. And Tip O'Neill did say, if you don't ask people to vote for you, you'll never win an election. (Laughter.) And I want to really ask you to go to GlobalPost and check it out and look for Passport and look to become a member of what we're trying to do. Because if we get membership, if we get institutional support, we're going to have full-time positions, and we're going to be a success. And that's our great goal. So I really invite you to check it out. And please, stay in touch with me, let me know what you think.

HOCKENBERRY: All right. I'd like to thank the panel. Please give them a round of applause. (Applause.)

A discussion of old regimes, new regimes, new and old partnerships -- perhaps if we're discussing the future of journalism a year or two from now, it won't --

(END OF AVAILABLE AUDIO.)


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

KEN AULETTA: Hi, my name is Ken Auletta and I'm going to be moderating this discussion. Probably the only people less -- more popular than members of Congress -- (laughter) -- are the five of us up here, because we're members of the press.

We're here today to talk about foreign policy and meeting industry challenges, which is, really I'm going to focus much more on talking about how the networks -- the four networks represented here treat foreign policy, and what some of the future challenges are in the television world.

I'm not going to give you a long introduction, just by name: David Westin, president of ABC News; Sean McManus, the president of CBS News; Steve Capus, the president of NBC News; and Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/USA.

A word about format: We're going to have a conversation here for 30 or 40 minutes, then we're going to go out to the audience for questions from members. This is on the website of the Council. It's on the record. And please, if you would, turn off your cell phones or any electronic device.

At Walter Cronkite's service yesterday former President Clinton made a statement. He said, "I once went sailing with Walter Cronkite, and he said to me, 'I learned -- one of the things I learned in television news business is that you can't just be a well-educated citizen by watching television news. You have to read newspapers.'"

Do you agree with that?

MR. : Sure. (Laughter.) Sure. Absolutely.

AULETTA: And more than just newspapers. I mean, there's so much more that can keep you up to speed and well-educated.

MR. : I don't think television news ever set out to be the only source of people's information.

AULETTA: What if it were?

MR. : Well -- (laughter) --

(Cross talk.)

MR. : I mean, I think (what ?) would happen, television news would have to change if it played that role, necessarily, and people would have a different set of information, and more limited.

MR. : And there's not enough hours in the day to learn what you can learn from newspapers and magazines, to watch that much television to figure out what's going on in the world.

I think, you know, one of the things we're facing is a lot of our kids probably will never read newspapers, which does not mean they'll be less informed. They'll get their information from different sources. But, I think reading and getting the perspective you get from some kind of print source is absolutely vital. And I think, as good a job as we do in producing news coverage, we can't duplicate what the written word can often do -- often give you. I think it's very --

AULETTA: Jon, but you've got 24 hours on CNN. Do you have a slightly different answer?

JONATHAN KLEIN: No, because people don't sit and watch for 24 hours straight. So, you're still getting people for brief moments in time and hoping to keep them longer and pull them through.

The interesting thing is that the 24 hours does give you time to challenge some of the preconceived notions about what works and what doesn't in television news. It's one thing to be putting on a 22-minute broadcast.

That does require a different way of thinking than, say, you know what, can we attract viewers with Fareed Zakaria interviewing global thought leaders for an hour every Sunday? And the answer turns out to be yes, right. He usually wins his time period that way. That's not something that these guys could, or would do on their networks, it's just a different business, really.

AULETTA: Steve, let me start with you, with the next question, which is that if you go back to 9/11, after 9/11 the American people said, how come we didn't know more about Islam and al Qaeda? And then there was a tremendous growth of international news coverage in all media. And then it seems to have slipped.

And let me cite -- the previous panel talked about statistics on international news coverage, and actually the Pew Center Project for Excellence in Journalism, has come up with some. And they said that in 2007 NBC News, the nightly newscast, 19.8 percent of their coverage that year was international news; this year, so far, it's down to 13 percent. They said that CBS was 10.4 percent in '07; this year, so far, 13.7 percent. ABC News was 19.6 percent, they said; and now it's down to 12.9. CNN was 26.2 percent; and now it's down to 14.8 percent.

So, why?

STEPHEN A. CAPUS: I think you can look at statistics and you can come up with it any number of different ways. You know, I tend to look at the quality of the journalism. And I think there is some great work being done by all of the organizations right now that, in my -- what I would hope to see is that we celebrate some of the fine work that's being done. People are putting their lives at risk covering international news these days, and doing a great job.

You know, we haven't had a panel like this before in the time that I've had this job, but we talk to -- we tend to talk to each other when something awful has happen to somebody who works for us, and that has primarily been in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. But, you know, I think there's some great work being done there. "By the numbers" is not necessarily the way I view it. You know, I look at reporting that comes out of Washington that may not get classified as international.

And I think you also have to consider that, as Jon was saying, you've got -- if you're doing a nightly newscast, you've got to look at what's happened in the world. You've got a precious amount of time -- small amount of time that you're trying to put an awful lot of information and context to the events that have happened in a single day. And whether that's happening domestically or internationally, it's a tall order to try to figure out how to get it all in.

AULETTA: And probably Iraq has something to do with that -- (inaudible) --

MR. : Falling off the radar?

MR. : Yeah. But if you go back through history, this has always been the case. I mean, if you go back to the 1920s, there wasn't nearly as much foreign coverage in The New York Times. And then it went up with World War II; and it went back down in the '50s; and then it went back up with the war in Vietnam.

This has always been the case. This is not a new phenomenon. And I don't know what the right number is, by the way -- I don't know whether 14 is too little, too much; I don't know whether it's 50 percent. I'm not sure you can program news according to a quota.

MR. : Yeah, and I think the point also is -- that Steve made, is that it's the quality, not the quantity, of what you're doing. And I think, on a given day -- and Steve made the point very well, with 22 minutes, you've got to make a subjective decision on what is the most important news story to lead with, and what are the most important stories to do later in the broadcast.

And, you know, if I look at some of the work that Richard Engel did this past week; Lara Logan is embedded right now with some troops on Afghanistan; or Martha Raddatz in Iraq; or what Anderson's done this week -- I think for anybody to say that the networks and the cable networks are not committed to international news, and are not doing a good job of covering the news, I think is really, is ludicrous I think.

And I go back to 2006, when the war broke out in the summertime, when we were all planning on having nice summer vacations, and all of a sudden, in 26 hours we had nine correspondents in the Middle East -- and I'm sure these guys had the same amount. You know, the response, when something is important to cover, I think, is remarkable.

And I think, with a limited amount of time at the networks, I think we do a pretty darn good job in doing that. And I think if -- in the editorial decisions, if we thought that more international news was needed on a certain day, you'll do -- you'll do three or four stories on -- (inaudible) --

AULETTA: Let me pick up on that point, if I can, Sean. Let's assume that the dirty little secret is that the public really is not as interested in international news as they are domestic and other news -- which I don't expect any of you to admit that, but it happens to be the truth. (Laughs.)

But, having said that, do you feel any obligation, as news presidents, to, at some time, say to your viewers, eat your spinach and watch this story?

MR. : Yeah.

MR. : Of course.

MR. : Absolutely. Every day.

MR. : We all do it every night.

MR. : Every single day.

AULETTA: And do you do it every day? What are examples of that?

MR. : You know, I think all of us have done series -- you know, last night the president of the United States asked for an hour of air time, in prime time setting, full Congress meeting, to talk about the ABCs of health care and make his case. All of us have been doing a tremendous amount of reporting of what's really behind all of this -- where are the priorities; what does this mean; what is this definition; what is the implication of a move like this?

And I do think that there is an obligation, that goes along with running a news division, to make sure that we are putting context and real information out there on a daily, nightly basis. There's no question that that's part of our job.

MR. : All of us run businesses too that exist in multiple dimensions -- on-line, on mobile devices, and those audiences actually tell you more about the state of mind of the audience. And, for us, international news is the number four category, so it's right behind crime and entertainment. (Laughter.) But, it's ahead of a lot of other categories that you, you know, would think might be much.

So, it actually tells you that there is a big appetite out there, the more niche oriented you get. These guys have to exist in a more generalized environment, at least on television. For us, in a news niche on cable, we can deliver more. I think we're expected to deliver more.

And our audience, I think, probably regards it as, you know, not so much "spinach" as just a part of a -- you know, the well-balanced diet that they're looking forward to every day. And you run the risk of under-delivering if you don't really offer a lot of it.

AULETTA: You want to talk about spinach, or should I --

MR. : I mean, I don't think of it as spinach, but, I mean, I regard our job as reporting as much of the truth as we can find about things that matter to people. And some of those things are things that people just care about. And I don't think it's my job to judge that they shouldn't care -- (inaudible) --

But things that matter to people are also things that they don't know they should care about. And it has to be a balance of the two. I mean, we all took the president's address last night. We didn't do that because we thought it would have the highest ratings -- we'd make money off of it.

The health care -- I agree with the health-care reform issue, I have no information at all that the American people is craving a lot more coverage about Congressional back-and-forth on health care.

Iraq, I think people have been off the Iraq story since about two or three months into the war, basically, and yet we've all committed amazing resources -- not just in terms of people and money, but, as Steve said, danger to our people over there -- consistently throughout that. And that's because that's an important story; we have troops there; it's important to the country, and we cover it.

So, we all make these decisions every single day.

AULETTA: Sean, let me ask another question, and start with you, if I could.

Technology has made tremendous changes in the news business, in the news gathering business, particularly for television. One of the complaints that people raise about the networks is the reduced number of bureaus overseas. And yet those bureaus have been replaced by, in many cases, one-person offices as -- (inaudible) -- Could you tell us why that works and why it's not a diminishment of international reporting?

SEAN MCMANUS: Well, I think it works because there is a different way to gather news now, which you just mentioned. You know, we also have to take a step back and realize that, whether we like it or not, we are part of corporations and we do have some financial responsibility to our corporations.

Having said that, many of the decisions -- and David just mentioned the one about carrying speech last night, many, if not most, of the decisions we make are not based on the financial realities. They're based on what we think a news division has to do.

And the fact of the matter is -- with technology, with travel, and with the cameras that the smaller reporters have, there are ways to cover the news with less people. You don't need a, you know, a camera crew with, you know, camera, lighting, an associate producer and a writer.

And some of the kids that now are coming out of college, who like to be -- like to be referred to as "video journalists," I mean, really are qualified to go into a situation, like the riots in Iran a few months ago, and report some of the best stories, in the best background, that you can ever see on television.

So, I think the way that we're all trained now to cover news, especially -- and it's not just the, I don't want to just generalize and say "the young kids," because there are some correspondents we have who are older, who are passionate about trying to redo the way they cover the news.

I think it's just a different format. And it's necessity. I mean, it's -- in order to cover as many stories as we want to cover, you can't do it the way you used to, with the infrastructure that used to be in place, you've got to do it more efficiently. And I think we're doing that.

And I think, again, if you look at most of the stories that we've tried to cover in depth, I don't think the quality of the coverage is less than it was when Walter Cronkite was doing it in a very different way.

And I'm a -- I sound like cheerleader for what we're all doing, but I think -- I just would like examples of stories that we haven't done as good a job on as we should have. And I'm happy to debate that, but I'm pretty proud of the job that we've all done, those of us sitting up here.

AULETTA: Steve --

CAPUS: Ken, I think there's a couple things: We've all faced the economic pressures and the realities of what's gone on in our industry. Where I think most of us have decided to invest is in actual coverage, and things that are going to be either written about on-line, show up on our broadcasts, show up on cable.

The infrastructures, as Sean mentions, have been reduced. There's no question about it. The NBC London Bureau is now housed within ITN headquarters in central London. It's not a stand-alone facility. I would much rather write a check to someone who is out covering stories for NBC News, than to a landlord of a building where we have -- in a tremendous amount of square footage.

And it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense these days, when there is set amount of resources and you've got to be smart about what you're investing in. And that's what we're trying to invest in now. Yes, it's smaller, the gear is smaller.

The ability to go to places is actually enabled by decisions like that. Ann Curry has been able to go into Africa six times in the last -- in recent years, simply because there isn't an entourage that has to go in and do it. And I think, as a result, we've been able to put the spotlight on parts of the world that have not been covered as extensively in the past.

MR. : Look at the picture next to you -- all that new-fangled technology that we're using to cover. You know, the business has always embraced the latest, greatest stuff to allow more people to penetrate more deeply in.

Cinema verite documentary making was enabled by the technological advance of making film cameras lighter. So, suddenly you didn't have to just stand outside on a tripod, you could actually pick the thing up and get in there. So, this is just taking (that to them ?).

AULETTA: David, last year ABC had 17 offices overseas --

DAVID WESTIN: How do you count offices? You mean with -- including stringers, and things?

AULETTA: Yeah. I'm counting offices -- (inaudible) --

(Cross talk.)

AULETTA: -- 17 countries.

WESTIN: We have a lot more than 17.

AULETTA: -- 17 countries.

WESTIN: No, we have a lot more than 17, if you count the stringers.

AULETTA: Those are the figures that you -- your office has supplied.

WESTIN: Well, it's a problem with my office. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: They're overseas working on a story. (Laughter.)

But, let me -- forget the number. Can a one-person office, can that person, if he or she calls the producer in New York, can they get stories on the air with the same clout and leverage that --

WESTIN: Well, they can get stories on the air. The same "clout and leverage," I mean, anyone who's worked in a news division would know there's a variety of clout and leverage. Let's be practical about that --

AULETTA: How loud you scream -- (inaudible) --

WESTIN: Well, you know, anchors have a tendency to have a little bit more clout and leverage than correspondents, you know, and --

MR. : I've not noticed that, actually. (Laughter.)

WESTIN: (Steve ?) is much more egalitarian than -- (inaudible) --

(Cross talk)

MR. : -- (inaudible) -- have that experience.

WESTIN: But, the point is, the more important point is we, a couple years ago, sent out these digital reporters -- which we have in a variety of locations around the world, who operate largely by themselves, often in a BBC facility or a AP facility. And we did it, frankly, to support our digital operations, our on-line operations and our streaming broad-band operation, and to have somebody there in case something happened in the area, to get us on the air for the first 24 hours until we get a full team in.

And that's worked beautifully. The thing we did not -- I did not anticipate was the number of times when the people, because they were living there and really familiar with what was going on in the place, would call up and say, "there is a very big story here," that would make it on the air, that otherwise never would have made it on the air, because we just (weren't planning to. ?)

And, frankly, to go back to your question, Ken, I think one of the things that happened within television news -- I'll talk for us, not CNN so much, because I'm not sure about the cable, but for the broadcast people, is, as the money was coming in, the cost structure built up. And that included, let's be honest, the compensation paid to correspondents and producers.

As those people got more and more expensive, it was more difficult to send them for a week, or two weeks, out to cover a story. Often we'd be parachuting them in, and they'd do the standup, but they were there for 24 hours. They were not reporting the way it used to happen. And that was a -- that was a cost issue. No question about it.

Having somebody there, that can live there in that environment, and really know what's going on, and call back in and say there's a story, has allowed those people to get on the air much more than I ever anticipated.

AULETTA: You know, another angle on the technology thing, when we watched what happened in Iran, and people in Iran Twittering, and Facebook, et cetera, and one of the -- how do you, how does this -- it obviously gives you lots more information, and particularly in a closed society; on the other hand, how do you verify it's accurate? So, what are the coming challenges you face, Jon?

KLEIN: It takes a lot of effort, often a lot of money, a lot of manpower to verify all of the stuff that comes from the fact that, basically -- we now have a bureau that is six billion strong. That's everybody in the world can contribute news to CNN, or any of these guys. But, you do have to run it down.

We created, in the specific case of Iran, the "Iran Desk." We have a number of Farsi speakers who work at CNN anyway, not -- we didn't build it up in, you know, in anticipation of this, they just happened to work there, including our head of international news gathering. And they worked literally around the clock, staffed -- eight people per shift, comparing notes on what we were hearing over the transom; making phone calls, often under dangerous circumstances; checking with exiled communities, who they were in touch with anyway.

And often, you know, temptation was there -- you'd hear some dramatic piece of information -- "they're killing somebody on the bridge," and "quick, we have to get a" -- and you had to resist that until you could run it down and verify. And some of the stuff turned out to be true and some did not. But, it was a massive effort.

MR. : Ken, we opened a bureau in Tehran a couple years ago. We've got a full-time producer/correspondent, who happened to have been detained during the demonstrations; was beaten --

AULETTA: Is he still incarcerated?

MR. : No, no, he is out, and has just gone back in. He came out of Iran for awhile and he's gone back in -- Ali Aruzi (sp), who did some great work during this time, and I think is an incredibly talented reporter with a very bright future, operating in incredibly difficult circumstances in a very dangerous place.

But, that's a bureau that was opened in recent years. And we've -- you know, we've opened in places like Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and other places now where there were bureaus, where there were not before. They're not enormous facilities. They may have a handful of people, but there's a presence there.

And I think that that sort of investment is what people -- what we have, and will continue to do.

MCMANUS: I think if you look at our Paris bureau, which used to be one of the better assignments in CBS News -- (laughter) -- before my time, unfortunately, but I think, in our height, the Paris bureau probably had 16 or 17 people in it full-time. And you ask yourself, if I had 16 or 17 very qualified journalists, would I have them sitting in Paris, or would I maybe take three of them and put them in Tehran, and three of them, put them in Pakistan?

I think any intelligent operator would say that's not a good way to run a business. And I think if -- you know, I like to look at some of the mistakes that, you know, the car companies have made, and I look at, you know, the news business. And what happened is that the automobile industry changed dramatically, and the U.S. companies probably weren't fast enough in adjusting.

But, we're adjusting every day. And I think if the news build doesn't figure out, and continue to figure out new ways to do business, we're going to be like the automobile industry, except the government will not bail us out. We'll go out of business. And we can't afford to do that.

And I think -- I would like to spend 95 percent of my time worrying about editorial decisions, and figuring out better ways of structuring our broadcasts. However, I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out, taking the budget that we have and spending it in the most intelligent way, and -- as Steve said, putting the money that you have on the air, and not in offices.

And I think the more money you spend on people, or technology or elements that directly get on television at 6:30, that's --

AULETTA: Let me ask you -- let me pick up on that point. So, if Katie Couric came to you tomorrow -- and the same question could be -- (inaudible) -- for all you other folks, and said, "You know, I'm making roughly $15 million a year and I want to give back $4 million of that" -- I'm not getting to you, Brian (sp) (laughter), I know you make less (laughter) -- "but, I want to, I want to give back $4 million of that, on condition that you apply it to news coverage." Would you make -- could you make that deal?

MCMANUS: (Laughs.) I would find it difficult to say no to that.

AULETTA (?): "McManus calls on Couric." (Laughter.)

MCMANUS: Of course, I would. I mean, if -- you know, if a group of employees got together and said, "Cumulatively, we're making a million dollars a year. We think we aren't -- not doing a good enough job covering the news, we'll give you back $100,000," of course I would say yes to it.

But, I don't think -- I mean, that's not the issue we're dealing with. I think we're dealing with, as I said, the declining audience, which is a -- you know better than I do, is a fact of life on all network television, not just news, and we're in an environment where we're trying to spend the money most efficiently. And I don't expect to get any money back from people who are committed to get it, but I do expect to spend a lot more time trying to figure out a better way to cover the news, if we can.

MR. : He should maybe put it into marketing her show instead. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: No, no, but she made a condition -- it has to go into news gathering. I haven't asked whether Les Moonves would agree to that.

But, let me just move on to --

MCMANUS: I can speak for Leslie and say, yes. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: But, you know, you picked up on --

MCMANUS (?): This can only be trouble. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: Say that again?

MCMANUS (?): I said this can only lead to trouble. (Laughter.) Now, let's talk about --

AULETTA: Don't let me stop you. It's okay.

(Cross talk.)

AULETTA: You what?

WESTIN: I had an anchor offer something close to that.

AULETTA: And?

WESTIN: This anchor is no longer with us. Was not making $15 million, but not far off of it. Actually, my recollection of the proposal was a matching plan, where for every dollar this person gave up -- I'm trying not to reveal gender, the company would match with a dollar. And I said, no.

AULETTA: Because?

WESTIN: Because my job is figuring out what resources we need, and allocating it correctly. And if I'm not doing that job, they should get a new Westin.

But, if I believed that a million dollars, or $4 million into news coverage would genuinely improve ABC News, then should be fighting for that anyway -- I should get that anyway. And if I don't, then I shouldn't be giving it up to an anchor to decide how we should be allocating our money. And so I said, thanks very much, I appreciate it, but no.

MR. : But, what it does speak to, Ken, is within all of our organizations are people who feel passionate about journalism, and about our industry, and about where it's headed. And we've all had conversations with people who have said, listen, if I can do something that helps keep people employed, if I can do things that help keep the quality of coverage high, sign me up.

And people have those conversations. They're below-the-radar conversations, but they go on every day because people are passionate about what they do.

MR. : Yeah, and --

MR. : I'm sorry, go ahead.

MR. : Well, the truth about all journalists, I think, is that journalism is an obsession. It's not a profession. Most of the people in this business would do it for a hell of a lot less money.

The money has sprung up around us, it's turned out to be a good business in many cases, but most of the -- most of the people I can think of, some in this room, and some elsewhere, would do it for the love of it. And, yes, they have to put food on the table, but they're not doing it in order to make $15 million a year.

MR. : Look at the people -- just one other point, look at the people who go overseas into these war zones for us. Every single one of them is a volunteer for those assignments.

MR. : Not for the money, and not thinking it's going to land them their own show in prime time.

MR. : And if they think that's why -- if we think that's why they're doing it, chances are we're going to say, don't go, because that's the wrong reason to sign up for an assignment like that.

AULETTA: You've all touched on the issue of a future, and shrinking audiences, and how you cope with that world. When you look at what technology allows, I can get my information any time I want, on my schedule rather than on yours. And your audience (is ?) necessarily shrinking, as are newspapers and many magazines, et cetera.

So, what do you have to do? What is the new -- what are the new things you have to do to keep your networks relevant, and maybe even increase your audience or shore it up?

MR. : Well, unfortunately, I don't think there are any tricks. I think it all comes down to the content. And I think people are going to judge whether it's worth devoting a half an hour of their time to watching a evening news broadcast, or a "60 Minutes," or a "20/20," or a "Dateline," or all the broadcasts we put on the air.

I don't know of a -- if I knew of secret, if we did, I think we would be employing it now. And it's not fancy on-air promotion, because that can drive some viewers, on a temporary basis, and then they'll make their decision on a -- you know, permanently, whether they're going to stay or not.

But, it's the quality of what you're putting on the air. I think, you know, we sit down and we look at the numbers for all of our broadcasts, and say, what can we do to improve them? And you come up with, you know, a nice promotional campaign; and you come up with some marketing ideas; or you change the pieces around. In the end, it's the quality of what you do.

And I really believe that's, in the end -- especially news viewers, the decisions that they make are based on what they think of the quality of your content.

MR. : Look at the success --

MR. : Otherwise, why would they --

AULETTA: -- "60 Minutes" is --

MR. : -- why would they be watching? I mean, it's -- they're not watching it because, you know, someone is, you know, better looking, or not as good looking at someone else. They're watching because they think they're getting informed. And eventually they will go to place where they believe they're getting the best information, I think. I mean, if not, then I don't think any of us should probably be in our jobs.

AULETTA: "60 Minutes" has had some of its most successful seasons ever in the last couple of years.

MCMANUS: Yeah, with stories on credit default swaps. Two of our highest rated -- (inaudible) --

AULETTA: Yeah, international stories.

MCMANUS: -- credit default swaps. And I think that's a, you know, really good example of, if you stick to your knitting and decide what your broadcast is going to be, and you don't sacrifice the quality or your standards at all, and you resist temptations -- which Jeff Fagar does. Every week he probably has opportunities to put on a story that, short-term, might spike his numbers. And he just doesn't do it because, over time, all you have is your reputation, and that's based on the quality of your content.

CAPUS: You asked the -- you used the key word here, which is "relevance." I mean, if we become irrelevant to the audience, then shame on us, and we'll never get that back.

And so Sean's absolutely right, you can do some things that might get you a short burst, or a short pop, but, in the long-run we have to stay relevant to the audience. And that means place your reporting in the places where it can be consumed by as many people as possible. If that means it's MSNBC.com on-line, great. If that means it's on MSNBC on cable, fine. If that's on "Today," "Nightly," "Meet the Press," "Dateline," great.

AULETTA: What if the --

CAPUS: Our best scenario is having it on all of those places, (by the way ?).

AULETTA: But, what if it means that appointment television -- 6:30 at night, when many people are not even home from work yet, including women who work, who were more devoted watchers 20 years ago -- what if it means that that kind of appointment television is a relic, and, therefore, the notion of an evening newscast is a relic. Can you imagine that happening one day?

MR. : Someone wrote a book predicting that, I think.

AULETTA: Really? (Laughter.) I'm getting old. I forget (these things ?).

WESTIN: I came to Capital City's ABC in February of 1991 when the Gulf War was on. And I remember the first day I was in the office, we were talking about the death of the evening news.

Now, that that was over 18 years ago. It's alive and kicking, and getting -- reaching millions and millions of people. So, my experience, at least, is that people have overpredicted the death of the evening news for a long time now.

Now, you had an -- (inaudible) -- in what you said, which is, if appointment television is no longer the case, or a relic, doesn't that mean that evening news will die? Those two things are not necessarily tied up together. I mean, there could be --

AULETTA: No, no --

WESTIN: -- reporting on the evening news, that's brought together, that's made available on dot-com, and on streaming video, and broad-band, and things that people do want, and need and value, that will keep the evening news alive for a very long time to come, even if they don't have the time to tune in at 6:30 at night. So, the two are not necessarily tied.

AULETTA: No, no, but I'm actually asking -- I actually, I could -- could you imagine a time when you no longer have that 6:30 slot, you've given it back to someone else, but you still have -- you're producing news on all these different platforms?

WESTIN: I could imagine anything. I could imagine playing in the U.S. Open, but -- (laughter) -- I don't think it's probably going to -- (inaudible) --

MR. : No, I've watched you play tennis -- (inaudible) -- (Laughter.)

WESTIN: Exactly. Well, if I could -- that's my point. I could still imagine that have seen me play tennis.

MCMANUS: The other thing, I think, Ken, you have to remember, is that we don't do newscasts at 6:30 to make a lot of money for the network. And, fortunately, the people who are now running the companies, that decide what we do, believe that there is -- part of the obligation of having a network is supplying a full-service news organization.

And I think -- I know my boss doesn't believe that the CBS television network would be what it is without a strong and vibrant CBS News. And he could cancel the evening news tomorrow and make probably a lot more money for our corporation. And I guess you could say, well, that's good for the stockholders and the investors. He doesn't make decision based on that.

And it's hard for me to imagine that there is going to be someone who's going to run one of our parent companies, who's going to say, "You know something, CBS News is not important, we don't need to do that." Because it's part of an obligation. It's part of what -- you know, with all due respect to, you know, USA Network and Lifetime, it's one of the things that makes a network different and important. And I think that's going to continue for a long time.

And you talk about the ratings. Listen, the ratings have been going down steadily for a long time, but there are still about 25 million people a night that watch one of our three broadcasts. And, despite all the great work that Jonathan does -- and you do some of the best work on television, I mean, the cable audience, compared to what we generate at 6:30, is minuscule. And I think that's something to remember.

I mean, there are a lot of people -- and yes, they're older, and yes they are declining, in terms of numbers, but an awful lot of people rely on us as a very important, if not the primary, source of news. And I think that's an obligation of the network, and I think it's an obligation of a news division also.

KLEIN (?): The interesting thing is that they -- the broadcast networks attract, (in aggregate ?) that 20 million some-odd number. We attract, on the big events, more viewers now than we've ever generated. Such that, on some of those big nights, we're beating the broadcast networks on coverage like election night, and the primary coverage, and things like that. It's an interesting phenomenon that takes place.

And it may have something to do with, in this very fragmented media environment, being able, as a cable network, to be in touch with viewers all the time, right -- just constantly letting them be aware, hey, if there's a speech, if there's a primary, if there's a Michael Jackson funeral coverage, Ted Kennedy funeral -- you know, you're just able to be in touch more often.

But, I think the public may place too much emphasis on the evening newscasts as a barometer of the health, or importance, or vitality of the broadcast network news organizations. They each have programs. I mean, look at -- "Nightline" came out of nowhere to revive itself with, you know, programming that is watchable, and fun and interesting every single night, and nobody thought that that would happen. The "Today Show" sets the agenda every morning in those first 20-25 minutes.

So, they have a lot of tricks up their sleeve, beyond the evening newscast.

WESTIN: And that leads to a point that I think, at least, is important, because, listening to us, it sounds like we're a bit defensive of the status quo.

AULETTA: Really? (Laughter.)

(Cross talk)

AULETTA: Sorry, I couldn't resist.

WESTIN: You couldn't resist that.

I think everything that's been said is absolutely true, but I think there is another point. I think there is one fundamental change that we are only beginning to come to terms with, and we have not -- I'll speak for ABC News, I won't speak for my colleagues who have not come to terms with -- (inaudible) -- we need to provide people with information that's valuable to them, and that's relevant to them. We also, in this new world, have to provide them with information they're not getting anywhere else. It has to be distinctive.

That didn't used to be the case. When there were -- in the "good old days," when we weren't there, when there were three broadcast networks, you know, you could basically do the same news everybody else was doing, and they'd tune in because they really trusted Walter Cronkite, or they loved Huntley-Brinkley, or whatever. Those days, I think, are gone, and I'm not sure we've caught up with that yet.

And, actually, it goes back to some of the international coverage we were talking about earlier, because often some of the most distinctive, unusual, different coverage that you can to happens to come from overseas stories. At least that's been our experience.

Now, it could also be a Brian Ross investigation, or something like that, but those sort of really exclusive reports, where you own it, on enterprise journalism, I think become much, much more valuable, because it gives people a reason to tune in. Because if it's just information that's accurate, and reliable, and relevant and valuable, they can get that from a lot of different sources now.

CAPUS: But, every time we've taken these steps, the first thing that happens is this chorus of, "Well, look what they're doing, they didn't cover such-and-such today." You're going to make -- you're going to have to make some tough decisions when you go down that path. And I would argue that we've been doing that for quite some time, especially in the evening.

But, every time that, you know, we do that, then it's, "Oh, you're too featury," or "you're too soft," or, "how dare you to say -- to provide context, as opposed to reporting on what happened today?" We take it on the chin on those days. That's fine. Everybody can, and should have a view on what we're doing.

But, I think these evening newscasts are incredibly important to the overall health of, not just the news divisions but also the networks. I mean, the image -- one of the best images, frankly, of NBC is going to come from the news division -- the strength of Brian's broadcast, the strength of "Today," "Meet the Press," and so forth.

I mean, I think that, I don't see -- to your question about, "do we envision it going away," I don't see it going away.

AULETTA: But, pick up on trust, and Brian, and the thing you were just playing on. One rarely encounters someone in public life who doesn't complain about -- not just you guys but everyone in the press, being preoccupied by conflict. And if you listened to President Obama's speech yesterday at the Cronkite memorial service, he was talking as well about the weaknesses of the press, and how the speed to get things published sometimes contradicts the need to get it right, which he said Cronkite stood for.

So, what do you say to a person in public life who says, "You guys, I'm not worried about your Liberal bias, I'm worried about your bias for conflict, and there's too much of that in the press?"

KLEIN: Bias for what -- of?

AULETTA: Conflict.

KLEIN: They're probably talking about a lot of outlets that we don't have anything to do with. You know, blogs can really range from the super-relevant and important, to just pure noise and gossip. And there's so much of that. There's so much tabloid Press out there -- print press out there. And the direction that "Web news," quote, unquote, is going is so gossip-oriented --

AULETTA: No, but --

KLEIN: -- that it adds to that.

AULETTA: -- but, Jon.

KLEIN: The complaints are probably less about the NBC Nightly News doing that --

AULETTA: No, but to be specific, Robert Gibbs, the press secretary to the president of the United States, has said in his briefings, regularly, "I'm tired of watching these food fights on cable." (Laughter.)

KLEIN: Well, a lot of -- we bend over backwards to avoid that, and to focus on substance. There's a lot of it on cable, but of course that's their beef. I mean, they're an interested party. They're not above the fray, you know, like the Supreme Court --

AULETTA: So, is that part of the answer, though, to the politician or public official who complains, that "that's your beef;" you have a vested interest, or?

KLEIN: Well, they do have a vested interest, and they are not nonpartisan in it, and they tend to complain when they don't have people agreeing with them. They don't complain -- you know, they don't complain about Keith Olbermann being over the top and opinionated when Keith Olbermann agrees with them, or Rachel Maddow. They do complain when O'Reilly or Glenn Beck, you know, weigh in against them. And it was the opposite during the previous administration.

MR. : I'm not sure there's necessarily that much more dissatisfaction. It's just that there are so many more venues to express that dissatisfaction, whether it's talk radio, or the blogs, or cable television. I mean, I'm not sure if you went back 20 years and actually asked, as many people who are blogging or making comments on, you know, community websites, what they thought, whether they would be any less critical. It's just now that there's a much better vehicle to express your outrage.

And I think that, obviously, didn't exist 10 years ago, much less 20 years ago. So, there's a lot more noise around television news. We're under a lot more scrutiny. The politicians are much more vocal about what's being done, primarily because in the last three or four years obviously cable news is unbelievably opinionated.

And that gets politicians' attention, obviously. And they talk about. And it feeds upon itself. But, I'm not sure that people are more or less dissatisfied now, it's just that -- (inaudible) --

AULETTA: Why then does survey research suggest that no one approaches in the press the numbers that Walter Cronkite once had for being trusted?

MR. : Fragmentation.

MR. : That would be true of pretty much any institution in the United States of America.

KLEIN (?): But, we have -- we have a daily opinion poll, which is the -- in the form of the ratings. I mean, people -- again, if we're not relevant, if we're not trusted, if we're not respected, people are going to tune out.

I mean, it is in our best interests to make sure that these news divisions are as appealing and as respected as possible, and doing work that -- it stays relevant for the audience. Because, if not, we're doomed to extinction given the fragmented world in which we're operating.

KLEIN (?): But Ken, in my experience one of the really difficult parts of being a journalist -- you must feel this way, is if you're going your job you will always be criticized. And, on the one hand, you can't simply disregard the criticism, because often there's a point to it that you have to -- (inaudible) -- At the same time, you can't be so defensive about it that you change what you're doing -- you change your reporting, you back off. And trying to do those two things that are (inconsistent ?) -- (inaudible) -- is very difficult to do.

In my view, when you talk about covering conflict, the thing that resonates with me, and that I am concerned about, and I've spoken internally and externally about this within the network context, is some of the cable back-and-forth that we see -- which is fine, it's what they do, they do it well, they're successful with it, I'm not criticizing that -- can infiltrate what we do, and it can turn into reporting which is, "on the one hand/on the other hand."

And you can find people to express just about any point of view in this society at this point. Part of our job is, when there are things that we can know, rather than simply -- (inaudible) -- who knows what's going on, we have a responsibility to step up and say, this is what we know.

That can be true with medical studies; it can be true with what's going on with the health-care debate. I mean, some of the things you can prove: is it right or is it wrong? We have an obligation to step to the fore.

It can be true with polls. Polls get reported -- like, "oh, there's a poll that says this, a poll that." Some polls are very valuable and accurate, some are not worth the paper they're written on.

And I do become concerned that sometimes, as we watch our brothers and sisters in cable, that we can fall into a pattern, even on the evening news, of doing pieces which are easy to do -- get a person on this side, and a person on this side; you put them both up; "okay, I've done my job; you decide" to the audience, which is not a service.

So, I think there is a point I would take in that criticism that we need to really guard against that.

CAPUS: I'm also going to speak up here for cable news a little bit, in that, you know, I run both NBC Network News and MSNBC. And clearly, as the cable news environment has become more politicized, there was concern within NBC News, is that going to portray -- is NBC News going to be painted with the same brush? And we've had these conversations extensively, as you can well imagine.

But, I think that cable news -- you know, CNN learned it with "Crossfire," when everybody kind of got into it, that -- we certainly learned it through years and years of experimentation with the one side, and the other side, and the hot argument. And, you know, there was an awful lot of time spent doing that sort of programming.

And, in the end, the audience said they wanted something else. Because, I think what we found is that the old food fight that used to be thing that drew a lot of attention on cable news, has kind of -- that time had passed with cable news. I think there's a lot more of substance going on there.

I think, to your point, David, about trying to hold people's feet to fire, and do some real reporting, and state what's fact and what's fiction, is what, at its best, cable news is doing these days.

And I think, you know, we look at, from NBC -- and to answer the question about, does the audience understand the difference between the two, and the mandates of the two divisions of NBC News, I think the answer is yes. I mean, you can't have the success that we've had on the broadcast side if you think that you're going to be painted with the same brush as MSNBC.

MR. : And what Steve says is a critical point. I mean, there's a place for opinion in journalism. Newspapers have always had an editorial page. They have had op-ed pages. It's perfectly legitimate. But, you know when your on the editorial page you're getting opinion; you know when you're out in the op-ed section what you're getting. When it gets dangerous is where the two start to spill over into one another and the audience isn't sure --

MR. : Well, that's the argument that happens, arguably, on Lou Dobbs, on his network --

(Cross talk.)

MR. : I think we have to be very careful --

MR. : Not any more --

MR. : -- Keith Olbermann --

KLEIN: -- actually, Lou doesn't offer his opinions on his show anymore. He doesn't do it. We stepped in and we made him understand this very thing, that you -- he's got a radio talk show where he does all sorts of things. That's radio. We don't oversee his radio talk show.

But, the interesting and the optimistic piece of news here is that, as our cable competitors have become more overtly partisan on the Left or the Right, and we have really tried to focus on being a deliverer of news and analysis that is down the middle -- even as they rise, and they are rising in the ratings, both Fox and MSNBC, prime time -- our numbers are higher than they've been in six years.

So, there is an audience for what we do. There is an audience for what they do. There's all kinds of audiences these days. That's why my answer to your question was "fragmentation." There's no one person you can trust.

People trust the person whose point of view they believe. So, some people adore Glenn Beck and trust everything he says. Think of your favorite columnists in the Wall Street Journal, or the Financial Times. You trust the ones you believe. You read their column and you say, "That guy gets it. How come they don't all get it that way?" And that's what everybody does. That's where -- that's the root of trust.

AULETTA: But, that's a fundamental change from the days of Walter Cronkite, and the days where --

MR. : There weren't as many options.

AULETTA: Pardon?

MR. : There weren't as many options. There -- (inaudible) --

AULETTA: No, no, but --

MR. : -- people you could choose to trust.

AULETTA: Understood. But, it begs the question -- my last question before we go out to the audience, which is, do we pay a price as citizens in America? The fact that you don't -- that people seek the news from their favorite sites, be it Beck, or Olbermann, or ABC, wherever it is, because they don't trust this universal --

WESTIN: You said, "Beck, Olbermann and ABC." (Laughter.)

AULETTA: No, no. I didn't mean that -- (inaudible) -- I just meant various news. That's it.

But, is there a point where no one -- there is no commonly accepted set of facts that people accept? Walter Cronkite talks about Vietnam. That's common accepted fact in The New York Times -- commonly accepted. And we've moved to an era where that's -- there is not a commonly accepted set of facts?

MR. : I think there's a little bit of a disconnect here, in that we're talking about the overall news business, and we're talking about cable, and Olbermann, and Beck, and ABC News, and CBS News, I don't think -- and maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think what we're doing, and what my counterparts are doing at ABC and NBC at 6:30 is all that much different than what Walter was trying to do. You can argue whether we're doing a better or a worse job, but our charge is still the same, and --

AULETTA: I'm talking about the audience, not you.

MR. : Right.

AULETTA: I'm not suggesting you're doing something different. I'm saying they perceive, because of variety, and the polarization of society, the audience receives information differently than they did 10, or 15 or 20 years ago.

MR. : But Ken, I would have three responses. One is, that's what's happened. Get over it. I mean, that's just, that's just true, that's right.

And, more important than that, it's a terrible mistake for any of us to try to put ourselves between what technology makes possible and what our audience wants. And our audience wants that, and it's their right to want it. Who are we to say no?

Number two, why don't we trust the American people, ultimately, to really come to the right conclusions? We always have, through the history of this country. I mean, if you go back to the broadsheets in, you know, the late 18th century, there were some pretty remarkable newspapers out there saying some pretty scurrilous things -- about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. But, somehow we trusted the American people to figure out what's really going on and come to sensible decisions -- over time, on average, not that we haven't made some mistake.

But three, we can't let the "best" be the enemy of the "good." The fact that we will not reestablish Walter Cronkite, because of technology -- (inaudible) -- does not mean we can't have people who are trusted. Brian Williams is sitting here, Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, who are not Glenn Beck or Olbermann.

I mean, I don't -- we shouldn't just give up the game and say we won't get to Walter Cronkite, so let's throw in the towel, it's impossible. I don't think that's true. I think that we can have relatively more trusted people and that there's a great value in that.

AULETTA: On that eloquent note, let's turn to the audience which has some questions.

Steve, would you stand up and identify yourself -- wait for the microphone, yes.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Thanks, Ken. I'm Steve Shepherd (sp), City University Graduate School of Journalism.

There are many reasons for the decline in audience of the nightly news shows. But, surely one of them is the secular change towards digital delivery and people spending time on the Internet to get their news.

What are you doing about that? How will you address this increasingly large audience, a younger audience who gets their news in other ways than watching your shows? How will you reach them? And what is a business model that might work to reach them?

CAPUS: MSNBC.com is our on-line home, and it's an enormously successful, not just journalistic enterprise, I would argue, but also business. And, you know, every week I'll get -- we get tons of research.

Every week one of the things that I get that's most interesting is the Total Audience Measurement Index, the "Tamios" (sp) they call it, which not only looks at the traditional ratings, but also includes, you know: "Meet the Press" is seen on broadcast, it's seen a couple times on MSNBC on cable; and there's a big section on MSNBC.com with the program in its entirety, segments, things that are done exclusively for the MSNBC.com audience; Brian, you know, begins his day every day by writing his daily/nightly blog, and is on that thing throughout the day.

I think it's about -- I'll say it again, it's about being relevant to your audience. And if people are consuming their news via the Internet, then you need to be in that space. And you need to be there with, again, unique content and a trusted source, and be a trusted source for that information.

So, I mean, that's where we've placed our biggest bets, in terms of trying to attract a young -- attract a younger audience and stay relevant in their lives.

AULETTA: Next question?

Yes?

QUESTIONER: Yes, I'm -- (inaudible) -- Al-Haya (sp).

And I just want (you to touch on ?) which stories have not been covered by you. I'd like to mention just a couple -- for example, what's going on in Yemen now. It's a fundamental, big crisis that even affects the United States in the final analysis because it is about the reverse of al Qaeda. Lebanon is another example. These are big stories that have been missed by, I believe, all networks, or have been visited occasionally.

So, not that you need my support, as a great (moderator ?), but to the point that has been made quite often, I feel that somehow you have not done international news unless there (is) American news. And that's a problem, that's -- And so the question is, could we do the example of (Fareed Zakaria ?), for example, anywhere to replace some of the egocentric shows that are focused about one person? Or can this sort of thing make its way to a network -- ABC, CBS, NBC proper? Thank you.

MCMANUS: Well, I can't argue -- and I'm sure there are other good examples, I can't argue with you that there are stories out there that we aren't covering. We have, unlike Jonathan, to a large extent, we have a lot of limitations in what we can cover. And we try to do a lot of those stories on "60 Minutes," The mix of stories on "60 Minutes" is much more international now than it used to be.

But, to be honest with you, with a 22-minute broadcast every night, there are always going to be stories that we probably should be covering and don't have time to cover. You know, it's a finite universe that we're existing in.

Having said that, you know, I'm sure that there are stories that should be on the evening news that we're not covering, and we maybe need to do a better job doing that. But, it's a really, really good point. And sometimes we tend to -- more often than we should, perhaps follow the news, instead of get ahead of the news.

And there was obviously criticism, which we won't go into now, about, you know, the war in Iraq, and how much was done before that. And I think we all learned a lot of lessons now. And I think one of the things that we've talked about, editorially, is trying not to make some of those same mistakes with what's going on in Afghanistan.

I think if you're looking at the reporting that's being done by all the news organizations on Afghanistan, I think the approach is very, very different. And I think the questions that we're asking, both there and in the States, are much more pointed. And I think we're much more analytical, in terms of what's happening in Afghanistan right now, and what is going to happen there in the future.

But, I take your point, and it's a good one.

QUESTIONER: Yes, I thank you. Rory O'Connor (sp) from Media Channel.

Sean I think you -- I thought you made a great point when you compared the network news divisions to General Motors. But, from my perspective, instead of embracing a change, as you seem to be saying, you all seem to be still manufacturing Hummers.

Now, a case in point is the comments on the anchors. You know, $15 million for a news reader seems like a lot to me in a day when bureaus are being shut down. So, I guess my question is really to David, because you just had an opportunity to address this by replacing Charlie Gibson, and yet you went with Diane Sawyer. I don't know how much she makes, but it's probably in excess of $7 million, $10 million, you tell us.

Also, I must, just for the record --

WESTIN: Well, I'd be eager to do that, actually. (Laughter.) I've been hoping someone would ask that question.

QUESTIONER: Okay, I'd like to hear that.

And also, just for the record, I wonder if you could amplify on, what I found, your shocking admission that you had refused a dollar-for-dollar offer from a previous anchor to improve news coverage.

WESTIN: Well, let me go back to that. I tried to make this clear, but maybe I should be even more forceful in it.

As long as I have this job, it's my job to figure out how we allocate our resources. And if I'm going to give that up to the anchors -- so that we all get together, so they get to decide where we open bureaus and where we don't open bureaus, and when we send people out on reporting missions, and when we don't -- then I shouldn't have my job.

That's just not the way, in my opinion -- it's not a collective. We don't take a plebiscite, you know, to decide when we cover the hurricane or whether we cover our story in the Sudan, or something. And that's just the way I perceive my job. And I think that that's what that inevitably would have meant.

And I also should say, I have little doubt that if I went to my bosses and said, we need four more million dollars, and it's really going to make a big difference in news coverage, that I could get that. The problem I have is a different problem.

We're spending that $4 million in places where it doesn't affect news coverage and it doesn't help us. And until I've taken care of those issues -- and it goes back to some of the infrastructure in the bureaus, and things. I mean, Garrick's here, and so maybe he can tell me whether it's actually true or not, but I'm told that there was a wine cellar and a chef in the Paris bureau, at one point, for ABC News.

Now, I don't know what that did to help our coverage in Paris. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: Maybe Garrick could tell us --

MR. : Oh, I could think of something. (Laughter.)

GARRICK UTLEY: (Off mike.) It was Pierre Salinger.

WESTIN: It was Pierre Salinger. That's exactly right.

So, my response was to allocate those resources, and I'm not done allocating results properly.

And let me just take issue with one of the things you said "for a news reader." I think that betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of an anchor. People tend to see only the part of the iceberg that's above the surface, that you see on the air, and you say, well, they get on and they read the news.

A really successful, good news anchor represents the entire institution in who they are. Charlie Gibson's a good example. Charlie Gibson was a beat reporter for years in Washington. He paid his dues. He has covered every major story. It's not because he can just, quote "read the news," it's because of what he brings to the organization, brings to the reporting, brings the editorial judgment of what goes on the evening news and how it's done.

So, it's a misnomer. If it were a "news reader," you're absolutely right. We'd just get the pretties one, and, you know, the one that reads the prompter the best. That's not the way it works. I can understand where someone who doesn't understand it from the outside would see it that way. It's actually not the way it works at all.

And, to the last one, it's not just Diane, I've had the burden of several decisions about the evening news anchor. It's more than one. I've had several of those, unfortunately -- not through choices of my own.

AULETTA: Garrick? Wait for the microphone.

QUESTIONER: Garrick Utley, the Levin Institute, State University of New York.

Jonathan, CNN -- because you're in a slightly different category, you're CNN-USA, but CNN obviously has CNN International, a vast organization, news gathering, covering the news, and that hasn't come into the conversation.

I recall that when the Iraq invasion incurred, I believe CNN had all its people in place, all editorial material coming in. But, there were two anchor studios -- one for CNN-USA, with the American flag; and separate anchors across the hall for CNN International, more or less without the American flag, which is a very interesting -- I think it's the first time in history that an organization, for understandable reasons, had the same editorial content but a certain tone or delivery system because of that. But, that aside, that it shows the importance of CNN International.

My question for this country, and our viewers here, is to what extent do you see a possibility, and would it be a desirable in CNN's eyes, to have CNN International as a separate channel on cable -- it exists, I know, in certain tiers, if you pay for it, but really, as a real presence, would the cable carriers want that? Would CNN want that, as competition to CNN-USA? Because that would be the real test of what Americans want to watch, in terms of international news. So, tell us about the strategy.

KLEIN: The cable operators really are the ones who decide which of our suite of networks -- including HLN, Turner Sports, TNT, TBS, which ones they want to carry. And they choose to carry CNN-US, the network we all know and love is CNN here.

It is available on certain systems. Certain systems have chosen to make it available to their viewers. But, that's their decision. We don't put it -- you know, shove it down their throats or anything like that.

We have, as you know, in these negotiations, the programmers have limited leverage, and so that's how that comes about.

AULETTA: Let's get that woman in the back there with her hand up -- yes.

QUESTIONER: Yeah, Eva Schweitz (sp). I'm a journalist.

James Murdoch said recently he is not satisfied with the way the BBC is a competition, because the BBC is getting, in effect, tax money from the British taxpayer. He considers that an unfair advantage. So, what is your take on that? Are you seeing the BBC as unfair competition because it's on American TV as well -- there's BBC-America, and I think they do have a following.

MR. : Well, they have a following, but they've had a tough time getting traction. To Garrick's question about, would the audience go with it, they've had -- they have had a tough time, with an incredibly strong offering, from a programming and production and journalistic point of view, but it is having a tough time getting an audience and traction in the United States. I don't -- you know, I don't draw any conclusions from that, I just point that out.

Do I think that we're disadvantaged by that? No. I think that 'good for the BBC,' and that's wonderful. I would note that Mr. Murdoch's network didn't carry the president's speech last night, which I think is an interesting editorial call, but there you go. I'll leave it at that.

AULETTA: Yes, sir? Just wait for the microphone, please. In the front row here -- no, in the front row. This gentleman. Thank you.

QUESTIONER: I'm Eugene Staples (sp).

What happens if we continue to see the collapse of newspapers, let's say 10 years from now? Maybe 10 percent of what's left now, which is sort of a ridiculously small number that remain out of what used to be a great written media. How much of that load are you going to be able to pick up, or how much do you want to pick up; or who's going to pick it up? Anybody? Nobody?

MR. : Well, loss of newspapers would be a tragic loss for the country. I agree with you, it's something that we have to seriously contemplate as a possibility. But, it would be a great loss.

I mean, I've said to one of the senior people at Google, when I do Google searches a lot of what I get, as a practical matter, comes from newspaper reporters across the country. And if you, with a magic wand, wiped out all of those local reporters, it's going to even hurt what we get on the Internet, in terms of information. So, I hope that it doesn't happen. It won't be good for the country and it won't be good for journalism in general.

Now, if it were to happen I think we would all have to take a hard look at whether it makes sense for us to move in and try to cover some of the local things in more detail than we have been. Now, that's for the local stations, it would be. I don't think the networks would go in as a network, but through our own stations and affiliates.

AULETTA: And there will be some people who will want to step in and fill that void, as there always have been in the history of newspapers. But, often it's a philanthropical undertaking, that is not meant to generate the kind of profits a billionaire could generate investing in other businesses.

So, you see David Geffen panting to take a stake, or take over The New York Times. There will be those, sort of, socially-minded folks, probably, who would step in for key newspapers, I would guess.

AULETTA: Questions?

Yes, the gentleman there, please.

QUESTIONER: Yeah, I'm Crocker Snow, the director of the Edward R. Murrow Center at the Fletcher School.

And I find it notable you've all noted the diminishing audience for the network news, obviously, and you've all implied that a lot of younger viewers are not with you that were 15, 20 years ago. I find it really notable that nobody here has mentioned Jon Stewart, and the role -- not only Stewart as an individual, but that way to get across important news issues and points of view.

MCMANUS: Well, I think there's a great place for Jon Stewart. I think he -- a lot of people enjoy watching him. I think he's in a very different business than we're in right now. And I don't think -- at least in the foreseeable future what he is doing is something that applies to what we're doing.

I think, you know, a lot of young people -- and you can debate this, a lot of young people think that they are getting their news from Jon Stewart. And I would just question how you define news at that point. I watch the show four nights a week, if I can. I love the show.

But, I think it's a, it's a little bit like comparing, I think -- and I don't mean this in a derogatory sense at all, because I think he's one of the most creative entertaining gentleman on television, but I think, to try to mix up what he's doing with what we're doing, I think is kind of like comparing what, you know, we're doing on the CBS Evening News to something else on the CBS Television Network, like an entertainment show.

I mean, I'm not saying he's not providing a lot of good information, giving his perspective and his insight, but I think it's a very different form and a very different program than what we're trying to produce.

AULETTA: And he's the first to admit that.

MCMANUS: Yeah.

AULETTA: We have time for one last question.

Yes, sir?

QUESTIONER: Morey Hellitrize (sp), a 1960-61 fellow.

The attention span of young people seems to be contracting. How does the network plan on addressing that, since the attention span is contracting -- "quick, quick, quick, get me the news, never mind the depth, never mind the breadth?"

MR. : That's been happening for some years. It's funny, if you go back and look at World News from 20 years ago, it seems so slow now. I mean, it takes forever, and there's so much. And it's -- so, that's a pattern that's been happening.

But, the real answer is, the way to reach younger people is through going to them in the ways they're coming to the news -- it's the Internet, it's cell phones, it's things like that. And giving them material that they can access, and just see the part that they want, and get in and out. And if you do that, our experience at least, is you can be pretty successful with that.

AULETTA: Last word, Steve?

CAPUS: I think, you know, we all attended Walter Cronkite's memorial yesterday, and it was a beautiful, fitting tribute to a great man and journalist. I do think, though, it is very tempting to look in the rear-view mirror and always proclaim what has gone before us as the golden era of whatever profession you're looking at.

I do think that there is some great work being done these days, and it deserves to be celebrated as much as it deserves to be picked apart. And I'm not asking for a free pass. I think we're all open to scrutiny, and welcome it, but beware of scrutiny from people who are politicos, and let's get behind the people who have devoted theirselves (sic) to this craft, and recognize that there is still great work being done. And the work that we do does play an important role. It should not be the only source of news for people, but it is an incredibly important time.

And the other thing I would just say is, I don't apologize for -- as a news person, and somebody who grew up at NBC News, I don't apologize for running my organization as a business, because if I don't do that, someone who comes in -- without a journalism background, is going to step in and say, you had your chance, you can't do it. And so it behooves us to get it right.

AULETTA: I did have a question I was going to ask, which is what happened to the wine cellar in Paris? (Laughter.) You don't have to answer that.

I just want to thank you gentlemen, and thank the audience. (Applause.)

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
-------------------------

MARGARET G. WARNER: Good morning, everyone. I'm Margaret Warner. Welcome to day two of the Council's Edward R. Murrow 60th anniversary fellowship celebration.

I have the honor of serving on the fellowship selection committee this year, and we're delighted that so many of you, including so many former fellows, are joining us for this special event to celebrate both the work of the last 60 years, but also point the way forward and how we do sustain vital international coverage in the digital age.

We have three panels wrestling with that issue today from various points of view, and we hope you can stay for all of them, including our luncheon session with several network presidents.

We're also pleased that today Edward R. Murrow's son Casey is with us.

Casey, are you here? Well, good to have you. Good to have you.

Also, as Richard said last night, there's a special thanks due to the Ford Foundation. Ford this year generously provided funding, both to sustain the fellowship going forward and to support this event. And Time Warner responded to Ford's $50,000 challenge grant, to make this conference possible, and we're also most grateful to their support.

Now, on a personal note, I'd like to add that the Ford Foundation is one of the three funders for the NewsHour's overseas reporting unit, which I -- which I head. And so I know firsthand Ford's commitment to sustaining international coverage. And so it's a special pleasure to ask Calvin Sims, who's program officer at the Ford Foundation, and a former Murrow fellow himself from his days at the New York Times, to say a few words before we begin. Calvin. (Applause.)

CALVIN SIMS (program officer, Ford Foundation): Thank you, Margaret. I'm sort of wearing two hats this morning: one, as a funder of media projects to improve the quality of journalism through Ford, and two, as a Murrow fellow. And so when Camille (sp) called the Ford Foundation to inquire as to whether or not we'd be interested in sponsoring something like this Murrow Fellowship, it seemed a no-brainer on both fronts.

We at Ford provide funding for a variety of efforts to improve the quality of foreign reporting abroad, because we believe that good foreign policy can only start with good information about foreign affairs.

For me, I began my Murrow Fellowship here at the Council eight years ago. It was right in the aftermath of 9/11. I had been a correspondent for The New York Times in South America. And then I was in Japan. And then I was in Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

It had been a particularly difficult two years in Indonesia. And I was in need of some sort of respite to kind of gauge all that had happened. And I applied for this fellowship and got it. I arrived here on September 10th from Jakarta. And then the next day, the world changed.

There was a moment when I decided I wanted to run down to 43rd Street, on September 11th, and be a part of that reporting in the aftermath. But I realized that if I went to 43rd Street, I could never complete the Murrow Fellow, because they would never let me go. I would have been tied to The Times for at least the next year or so.

So I decided to sit that part out and then had, I guess, some reservations as to whether or not -- I was not allowed to -- eliminated myself from participating in one of the greatest news stories of our time.

But being a Murrow fellow here under Les Gelb; he refocused all of the work that the fellows were doing on 9/11 and the impact. And so when I was in Indonesia, I had spent a lot of time looking at the rise of radical Islam in what had been the world's largest and most liberal population of Muslims.

And so during my year here, I was able to spend that time away from deadlines, looking at whether or not Islam was compatible with democracy, spending some time back in Indonesia without deadlines, meeting with people like Abu Bakar Bashir, the head of the -- spiritual leader of the head of the group that did the Bali bombings. And I wrote a policy paper here at the council.

When I returned to The Times, we were still looking at this mix between democracy and Islam. And I was able to turn that policy paper here at the -- from the Council on Foreign Relations into a documentary that appeared on PBS, which looked at the rise of radical Islam and how it was not going to take over Indonesia. And even though we continue to see bombings there, it is now a viable democracy.

So on a personal note, I'm very grateful for the time that I was able to spend here at the council, the time that I was able to spend with other fellows and to have this open exchange that takes place here between fellows.

A journalist rarely has the time to engage in an exchange of openness with fellows from the CIA or from the military. And that's what this place provides. It's a sanctuary for that kind of exchange.

So Ford is very pleased to be a sponsor of this fellowship. And I hope that you will help us meet our challenge, in making the Murrow Fellowship viable for the future.

Thank you. (Applause.)

WARNER: Thank you, Calvin, so much.

I'm actually going to sit down.

(Cross talk.)

So without further ado, let's get on to our topic. And this morning, we're talking about the challenges of reporting from closed societies. Last night, we heard about some of the dangers of reporting overseas. But there are particular challenges from closed societies. And we're going to talk among ourselves for about a half hour and then open it up to your questions.

A reminder to our audience here -- I'm sure you need no reminder -- to turn off your cellphones and BlackBerrys and don't just put them on vibrate, because it will interfere with the soundsystem. This meeting is on the record. It's being viewed on a live webcast by members around the country and the world.

Now to our panel. We have a stellar cast, really: four former Murrow fellows, all with deep experience in reporting from closed societies, where -- I think my definition, our definition would be, where the governments see the free flow of information as some sort of a threat and seek to choke it off. And it takes many forms, as we know. And so I'll start over to my left.

Dan Southerland, our oldest Murrow fellow here, from 1991 -- (laughter) -- is -- most seasoned Murrow fellow. (Laughs.) He is now vice president and executive editor of Radio Free Asia, where he basically runs all their editorial operations throughout Asia, including in two quite closed societies -- two at least: China and North Korea. I don't know what you're doing in Myanmar as well. He spent years as The Washington Post's -- as a foreign correspondent, particularly as bureau chief in Beijing at the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising in June of 1989.

David Remnick, who followed, I think, Dan Southerland as a Murrow fellow in '91/'92, is now editor of The New Yorker magazine. He also spent years at The Washington Post, with four years as its Moscow correspondent, beginning in '88, covering the -- essentially the collapse of the Soviet Union, and, as he likes to say, from -- as experienced by its peasants as well as its politicians. He wrote an incredible book called "Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire," written while he was a Murrow fellow here, and it won the Pulitzer Prize in '94.

Caryle Murphy, who was a Murrow fellow in '94/'95, is now an independent journalist living and working in Saudi Arabia, another closed society. Until 2006, she too was a long-time correspondent for The Washington Post. I wonder what we're learning here. (Laughter.) Surveying --

MR. : None of us can keep a job. (Laughs.)

WARNER: Or, we're -- Washington Post is cutting back on foreign correspondents a lot. (Chuckles.) But in both southern Africa -- and Ben (sp) is the paper's Cairo bureau chief, responsible for covering the Arab world.

And Caryle, as I'm sure most of you remember, was famously in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein's forces invaded that country, and she remained as really ultimately the only Western journalist there, continuing to report, really, at considerable risk to herself, hiding out in a basement to do so, to hide out from Iraqi troops.

And Elizabeth Rubin, who is just departing as our Murrow fellow. She's a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. And for -- she's been working as a foreign correspondent in a lot of these difficult-to-report-from places. I'll name a few: Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Russia. And here come the easy ones: the Caucasus, Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans -- (laughs) -- where at least they like to talk. (Laughter.) Her stories have also appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic and The New Yorker.

So to get a flavor of what it's like reporting from closed societies, I first asked each of our panelists to just give us a brief but -- and insightful anecdote about one time in their career where it was really hard to get the true story. And I'm going to start with Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH RUBIN: Okay. Thank you.

Well, this was a story that took place in Pakistan just after 9/11. It was in January 2002. And I don't know if you remember, but Musharraf gave a very powerful and persuasive speech that in fact he was going to be with the United States and he was going to shut down all the Islamic political parties who were involved in jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan, everywhere. And he told his -- the country, you know, to the Pakistanis as well.

And so as journalists, it was natural that we were going to go find out if this is true. And Azad Kashmir is the Pakistani part of Kashmir, and the only way you can really go there is with the military. And they do this funny thing on the paper where it says you have three days there. But what it really means is that you can stay in a hotel for three days and they'll take you out for one hour to the front line to see the Indians on the other side with their guns, and they'll take you to one refugee camp, where you can speak to one family.

I thought this was kind of absurd, and there was no way I was going to get a story. So I tried to persuade them that we wanted to do something on the life of the people there, and I was going to need to go out. They said: Well, we'll see. Maybe you could do that.

So I went to the hotel, and I couldn't do that. So I had another fixer, other than one that I was appointed, and we went out at night. And we went out -- we knew we were followed, and so we went into a mall, and then we went to the back of the mall and got in a rickshaw and went up into the mountains and met these jihadis from Kashmir and various other people who were going around recruiting people with the help of the Pakistani intelligence. And in fact the Pakistani intelligence had been the founder of one of these parties.

So it was, you know, exactly what we needed. I think we stayed about five hours. I arrived back at the hotel at midnight, and there was about seven guys in white, you know, hats standing outside, looking very angry.

And so they say, you know, how worried they were; where have I been, you know. And I'm, like, how did you know I wasn't here? What are you doing here? Who are you?

Go to your room.

So I went to my room. (Laughter.) And the next day I was told not to come out of my room. (Laughter.) And I -- so I start calling, you know, the generals and everybody. What's going on? I didn't do anything wrong.

And they said: You're under house arrest. You can't leave.

And so I stay there, and I'm getting really antsy. I hate being confined. So I said: Couldn't I just go out and have a little snack or something in town?

So we go out to do that, and I kind of go back to the same place. And -- at which point -- that was probably not the smartest thing to do -- there's a knock on the door about three or four hours later, and the captain who was in charge of me was there and basically said, you know, to the person who answered the door, if they don't leave within the half an hour, everyone's going to be arrested.

So we left. At which point the story of my -- who I worked for and what I did started to get really big -- I worked for the CIA; I had tied the sheets together of my bed and climbed out the third-story window; you know, I was clearly a trained militant. (Laughs.) (Some guide ?). And this was told to me by the Pakistani general, you know, head of the army himself.

I said, look at me, do I look like I could jump out of a window? I'm not sure, maybe.

But what ended up happening is quite serious. My translator who was without protection -- he was a Kashmiri from India -- and very much wanted to do this story because he wanted to get what had happened to him out. He dissapeared. All of the people I spoke to were arrested and put in prison.

And I started to get everybody from the embassy to the generals to try to find out where this translator was. He had been stopped on the road and put in a basement and basically tortured for two weeks. And, you know, you kind of wonder, was the story -- was it worth it?

One of the guys was in prison for either six months or a year just for meeting with me. And this was not the first time -- you know -- that it happened.

But in the end, I think it probably is worth it. And a lot of these people knew what they were risking -- and they had been risking their lives anyway for everything that they've done and fought for.

But it happens quite often that we rely on people and work with people and, you know, it can seem, like right now -- some of it's very funny. But it wasn't very funny for all of the people involved in this story. And I often wonder, you know, how do you know when it's worth it to risk these people's lives. And it's an impossible question to answer.

WARNER: But one I hope we'll get to.

Dan Southerland, tell us what it was like, the immediate aftermath -- during and the aftermath and the Tiananmen uprising when the Chinese authorities clamped down in a major way.

DAN SOUTHERLAND: Well, the first part was kind of interrippled -- the demonstrations, the protests, leadnig up to the crackdown. That was just -- I had to admit it -- that was just very exciting. And then all of a sudden the tanks came in.

I came up with a brilliant solution for saving my fixers. I would hire Chinese speaking Americans. They would not be clobbered as badly -- or they wouldn't be arrested. I figured I had them out there -- immediately things began to go wrong.

My guy on Tiananmen Square was there at 2 a.m. as the tanks moved in. And somebody put a gun to his head, knocked him down, started kicking him. Four guys jumped on him, threw him in a jeep-like vehicle, unmarked vehicle -- obviously state security people.

Some of the civilians on the square and students tried to rush the vehicle. They started firing their pistols outside the vehicle -- outside.

He had a hood put over his head in some kind of compound. At one point he was transferred to something that looked like a barber shop, with lots of Chinese coming in and talking about secret meetings. And he could understand Chinese; that's why I chose him. He thought he was going to be shot. Eventually they drove him to the outskirts of Beijing and dumped him, bruised but not dead. And his last thought on that was, "What if I had been Chinese? How would they have treated me?"

Listening to the accounts yesterday and just now, I really realize I've sort of, over the years, become obsessed with this issue of the fixers and how to protect people. And that was certainly my concern at the time. And I inadvertently got one guy into trouble as this went on. The crackdown came, and I was trying to get into the hospital to see how many people had died; a hospital not too far from Tiananmen Square. And I get there and the whole mood in the city had changed from openness to people not talking. My sources weren't talking.

This doctor comes out of the hospital, and the crowd -- I don't know who they were, but they started saying, "Don't let the foreigner in." You know, they knew there were bodies in there. And this guy very bravely stepped up and said, "I'll take you in." And we walk into this makeshift morgue, a cement floor, and there are 20 bodies, bullet-ridden bodies. They weren't students, by the way. They were obviously older citizens of Beijing. They weren't young kids, which most of the people who died were not students. They were people who were trying to stop the tanks and so forth.

And I got that information and got out of there, and then I later found out this doctor had been punished or disciplined. And I had a brief conversation with him on the phone, but I cut off the conversation because I thought, "Anything I say on this telephone is going to be recorded and we're going to be in more trouble."

And it's a minor example, but it was the kind of thing in China where they normally would not do what they did to you. They're, I think, smarter than that. But it's still an example of how you live with this all the time. You know, "Am I going to get this guy into trouble?" And I actually broke relations with my best Chinese friend as a result. I didn't catch it, but the Chinese caught it and they said, "You're being followed every time you meet this guy." And I'm glad I did that. I mean, he wasn't giving me high-level information. You know, he was giving me kind of a flavor of what the life is like there.

So let's fast-forward to today. What's happening today?

WARNER: Well, let me first --

SOUTHERLAND: We can do that later. Okay.

WARNER: Let's do that later.

SOUTHERLAND: But --

WARNER: Caryle, now, you were under this challenge of trying to -- you started in Kuwait. You wanted to report. You even had to sneak your stories out. But how did you actually get the information you needed to give a flavor of what life was like as the Iraqis came in?

CARYLE M. MURPHY: Well, initially -- yeah. This is an old story; it's almost 20 years ago. But I think it really highlights how today it's much harder to have a closed society. Believe it or not, when I was in Kuwait, when Saddam's forces came in, there was no Internet to speak of and there were no cell phones to speak of. And none of us today would go out -- try to do what we do without those tools.

Anyway, I initially stayed in the hotel for the first week. And then Iraqi officials were moving in, so I moved in with American engineers across the street from the hotel in their apartment. And the second day, the Iraqis cut the telex in the hotel. That's how I filed, by telex. I'm sure there are people here who don't even know what that means. (Laughter.)

So I had no phone, I had no Internet, no telex, as of the second day. So I was desperately searching for some way to get this information out. And I met a guy in an elevator. He was obviously Kuwaiti. And I said, "I'm a Washington Post reporter. I need a telephone." He said, "Meet me here tomorrow at this same time and I'll hook you up with someone with a phone."

So I went back the next day and he brought with him somebody who was working with the Kuwaiti resistance, and they had stashed in a house on the outer suburbs a satellite telephone that had been smuggled in from Saudi Arabia, hidden in this empty house. The satellite telephone was almost as big as this. (Laughter.) It weighed at least 100 pounds. You had to open it up, set up the satellite, then dial the number. But at least it was communication.

So he said, "Look, it's better for you to stay with us and our family so I don't have to keep transporting you back and forth in the city." So I went -- I made my second movement. I went to stay with this Kuwaiti family. And because they were connected to the resistance, the two main guys leading this faction of the resistance would come and tell me what had been happening that day.

One of them was the former top general in the Kuwaiti army, and he's still alive today. The other guy was the head of the police. He had been in (Qan ?) the day of the invasion. He came back to Saudi Arabia -- (laughter) -- really?

DAVID J. REMNICK: As one is. (Laughter.)

WARNER: (Inaudible) -- vulnerable.

MURPHY: He dressed like a Bedouin and he snuck across the border from Saudi to Kuwait. And this is a very sad story, because he got captured by the Iraqis and has never been heard from since.

So I did send -- before I met the Kuwaiti resistance, I did send a story written long-hand out with a friend who was leaving, and she faxed it to The Washington Post.

Another time there was a Dutch radio reporter there. She and I went to the Swedish embassy and we threw a package over the wall -- (laughter) -- we called them ahead of time and said, "We're going to do this" -- and asked them to please transmit this information. I think they did -- I can't remember now, but I think they did transmit something to the Post.

But it was the satellite telephone with the Kuwaiti resistance that allowed me to get out my stories. And, you know, communications have changed so much. I mean, it's an obvious point that, you know, closed society -- I mean, I'm working in Saudi now, and I'm not the only one. I'm a freelancer. There's another one who's freelance. She's American. The AP has just opened a bureau there. AFP now has an American bureau chief.

So I think the Saudis have decided, "We're going to get a better deal and better, fairer stories if we let them come and stay here and, you know, spend time and meet people." So it's their way of -- I mean, it's still not easy to get information in Saudi. It's still very much a closed society. But it's not as closed as it used to be. And it's because they realized, you know, everybody there, especially young people, they're on Facebook. They're Twittering. Especially women use the Internet, because they're so restricted in their physical movements.

I'll stop there.

WARNER: Just to complete this mosaic, just giving us this patchwork flavor, David, your experiences in the Soviet Union. Now, when you went there, it was after Gorbachev had famously announced this era of glasnost. But it still must have been a challenge.

REMNICK: Well, this is why I feel like an impostor on this stage. I was sent to a story where the cork was just about out of the bottle, so much so that I can tell you that one of the earliest stories I did -- I was invited to the KGB headquarters, to Lubyanka, where very few had been -- or had been with the capacity to leave. (Laughter.) And I was there to cover the Miss KGB contest. (Laughter.) Now, I wasn't born yesterday. (Laughter.) I thought that would get some decent play. And so did they, obviously.

You know, I was there from a period from the very beginning of 1988 to literally the flag going down over the Kremlin. It wasn't my fault. (Laughter.) But this was a period where people -- I could have sat on my stoop in front of my -- you know, I lived in a building that looked like Co-op City in the Bronx -- and I could have just answered the mail and interviewed people passing by and gotten a greater picture of Russian life than had been permitted for the previous 70 years, to some degree.

I mean, people wanted to speak, so much so that at the end of my time in early August of 1991, I went to interview Alexander Yakovlev, who had been Gorbachev's kind of better angel in the Politburo, and I said, you know, "What's" -- a really insightful question -- "What's happening?" And he said, "Well, there will be a KGB-led coup with the participation of the army" and, you know, the kind of revanchist pro-communist side of things.

And I wrote this down and published it in the newspaper and promptly left the country, because my time was up. And as I turned on the TV when I finally got back to New York at midnight, there were tanks going by my apartment building. So sometimes the story is right in front of your face.

That said, and even with the development of Twitter and the Internet and e-mail and all the incredible means of communication, a government's capacity to cover up and to lie is still based on the foundation of how many bodies they're willing to fit in a trench. So the Putin government is immensely more clever in the way it controls information. It has little safety valves. There's a newspaper here that's kind of free. There's a radio station that's kind of free. But television, of course, which is what everybody watches, is completely unfree.

And in order to make sure that everybody gets the message, every once in a while there's a body -- not like in 1937, not like in the '50s; just once in a while. And that's enough. And there is the terrible conclusion that one draws that the amount of truth gathered in a society like that, which is semi-this, semi-that, is built upon the sheer bravery of people being able to do what these three people have done in their careers, and I have not. So, you know -- and I mean that really sincerely.

WARNER: Well, what -- you're all reporting from closed societies. Particularly if you're living there, being based there, how do you know what the red lines are? And to what degree should an American reporter observe those red lines, either to preserve their access or their visa or the lives of those who help them? I mean, is this case by case, or do you have a ground rule?

SOUTHERLAND: I think in China you have shifting lines, you know, particularly as regards the domestic media, the local reporters, you know, who have been aggressively pursuing investigative stories but getting blocked.

I think there's an element of keeping people uncertain. You know, sometimes you're surprised that you can get somewhere undetected, and other times you get lots of trouble from local officials. So in China it's partly what's happening in Beijing, where it's going to be more open, and in the countryside, which I feel is underreported, because it's difficult.

The other thing they've done in China is they've outsourced the violence to -- basically the local officials will have a gang that they work with who will rough up reporters, including some foreign reporters occasionally.

WARNER: That happens in Russia as well.

REMNICK: Yeah, but foreigners have it easier.

SOUTHERLAND: I would agree.

REMNICK: I would say that there are certain subjects that you could count on one hand that you would end up in the trench I mentioned for. One of them is Putin's money; anything to do with the flow of real favors, real money. Money is the subject in Russia now. Nobody gives a damn about political gossip and all the stuff that made the communists crazy in the earlier time. It's all about business secrets. And the ultimate weapon is used.

WARNER: Whereas in China, the red lines, at least for the local reporters, are Tiananmen, Taiwan -- the three Ts. What's the third?

SOUTHERLAND: The three Ts -- Tibet --

WARNER: Tibet. Tibet, absolutely.

MURPHY: I mean, I haven't lived in Iran, and it's very hard now for Americans to report -- I mean, to live in Iran. And so you're always worried about the extent of your visa, because usually they give you 10 days and then you try to get it extended.

I went and did the red line, which was to do something about the supreme leader. But I told everybody that's what I was doing. I told all the red-line guards that's what I was going to do. And they laughed and thought, "No, she can't possibly be doing that." And actually it was one of those, again, situations where, you know, my fixer and all the fixers in Iran are registered with the Ministry of Culture. So they have to report back everything you're doing. And they'll say to you, "If there are people that you want to see that you don't want them to know about, do it with somebody else." So that makes things clear.

Again, in this particular instance, my translator, who was an anthropologist and a professor -- this was around the time when Halle Espandiare (ph) and Kiyan Tachbak (sp), you may remember, were arrested, and he disappeared. And again, it was a situation we didn't know. Was it because we were working on the supreme leader? Why did he disappear? I couldn't get any information. And this went on for eight months. This was a precursor of what's going on now, in a way.

In Iran, I would say it's very hard to know what's going to tip them or tip -- I mean, we now -- we can see that all of the reformers are on trial now. So it's clear what's going on now. But up until this point, you just never knew. Was it because you wrote about women or because you wrote about sex or because you wrote about the money? As David was saying, that is a big deal. If you talk about the clerics and their money, that's a problem.

But I would say Iran is one of those places where the red lines are very, very unclear. And, you know, he ended up in what was called white torture -- a white cell wearing white clothes. They gave him yogurt and rice and kept the lights on for 24 hours a day and, you know, created a file of thousands and thousands of pages. And at the end they said, "Bebakshi (ph)," which means, "Sorry, we made a mistake." And, you know, his life was ruined.

And it was -- we still don't know. Was it about the supreme leader? Was it that they thought he was involved in this velvet revolution, which the supreme leader is obsessed about? And it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, because today, you know, he sees everybody as being involved in this velvet revolution that was in his imagination, to some extent. Anyway, so I think it's very hard in some places, particularly Iran, to know where that red line is.

WARNER: Now, John Burns of The New York Times, I think in a speech, was quite critical of some western reporters in Iraq before the Iraq war began, saying that --

REMNICK: He was critical of CNN.

WARNER: -- (we ?) didn't want -- we're so eager to maintain access and stature and visa that they did not report on what John Burns felt were right in front of their very eyes, the atrocities from oppression of that regime.

Is that a tension that exists when you're posted somewhere and you're getting out incredibly revealing and important stories, but you know that if you went over this line or this line, you would get kicked out?

REMNICK: Why report? Why go? I couldn't agree with John Burns more. And one could easily say that The New Yorker -- because I'm an editor, I have the luxury that a newspaper does not. A newspaper has a permanent presence. Increasingly so, there are fewer of them, but these permanent presences are very important.

I'd rather see somebody get chucked out of a country once in a while than to cut these kind of deals, which are disgusting.

MURPHY: Yeah, because sooner or later --

REMNICK: What's the point?

MURPHY: -- they get over it, you know.

RUBIN: That's right.

MURPHY: And they let your correspondent come back. So I think it is definitely what you find out. Especially if it's important, involving human rights abuses, you've definitely got to report it. You don't have to stay there and report it, but write it outside. But it should be done, yeah.

WARNER: So let's go to the question that Caryle put on the table, though. Now we have this proliferation of social media and just communication. And Dan, I mean, we saw it famously in Iraq, where mainstream media began using some of the material coming over these new channels as sources of news. To what degree, for instance, when you're covering Asia, is that part of now your incoming? And what special -- doesn't it represent special challenges in terms of understanding especially the credibility and validity of it?

SOUTHERLAND: Yeah, I just took a look at the cell phone numbers in China. It's 650 -- and they can measure this -- 650 million. Eighty-two percent of households have some kind of device. We're getting -- I wouldn't say we're flooded with videos and photos, but we're getting a stream, a pretty steady stream, from citizen journalists. And you look at these videos and there's a picture, let's say, of some people in a land dispute overturning a police car, and it's kind of shaky. But, you know, you can document what it is and you know there's a fight going on there, so you can be pretty sure it's authentic.

Then you see kind of a forest of cell phones being held up, taking pictures of all kinds, all angles. And you say, "My gosh, I mean, everybody is out there." I was just looking at some film that my wife video'd, my wife did at Tiananmen. And there's a sea of Chinese out in these pictures. Obviously there were a million people in the streets. I don't see anybody with a camera. It was too expensive then, 20 years ago.

It's incredible. I mean, everybody -- and we're kind of really coping with this by adding Web editors to evaluate. I mean, one day I was working on a weekend and we had an incident where a couple were filmed sitting on a roof about to commit suicide or something because their house was going to be demolished, or they were threatening. And two reporters are telling me that the video was from different places. I finally managed to get some guy in Hong Kong that said, "No, it is this province, you know. I can document it." But it's very tricky, because if you get stuck -- for example, if the security services try to plant a false video, that's a danger.

WARNER: Have you had that experience?

SOUTHERLAND: I haven't that I know of. We've so far not been burned. I think we had one fake picture that we had to deal with. That's not bad, considering it didn't cause great damage.

The other tricky thing is what if they go after the person sending the stuff out? And also it's a very short window before the Internet police and everybody else catch up with these guys. So I've got a guy in Hong Kong who just sits there working the phones, you know, trying to get stuff. But it's very, very hard to deal with. It's not enough -- you need good editors to back up, you know, to evaluate. This is why I guess it took me a couple of decades, but I actually appreciate editors, now that I am one. (Laughter.)

WARNER: Now that you are one.

REMNICK: I know the feeling. (Laughter.)

WARNER: Elizabeth, what are your thoughts on this? I mean --

RUBIN: Well, I think no correspondent worth his or her salt has ever had the feeling of being in a big country, a big, complicated, foreign country -- vaguely knowing the language, not knowing the language at all, depending on a driver-translator -- and not feeling like this whole enterprise is vaguely preposterous, which is to say I'm going to understand Afghanistan and write a story or a narrative or show pictures, and this is going to give a deep understanding to the vaguely inattentive American audience -- (laughter) -- having a beer at home.

So I think it's the height of vanity -- and I've been guilty of this vanity. I remember when the first citizen journalism came up, and Jim Fallows wrote about it, I was really dismissive of it. First of all, you didn't know technologically what that could mean. It felt all so fuzzy and warm and vaguely unrigorous. In fact, there are forms of citizen journalism that are incredibly valuable.

And yet, and yet, a lot of cell-phone pictures on the streets of Iran give you one thing and they don't give you a whole lot else. I'm not sure what the world needs more of, all the time or more images -- unanalyzed, unsorted through. You know, there's a lot of that. And there's no special place in heaven, God knows, for editors as such, any more than there are for writers as such.

But the capacity to also forget this feeling that it's a prosperous enterprise and to learn elements of professionalism and languages and understanding of that culture -- and, after all, as a reporter, what you are is a bridge, because if you actually have the Afghan write that story, he or she is going to have a hard time communicating in the proper language and the frame of reference and all the rest.

So there really is a huge role, you know, for people like this running around, as absurd as it is, and doing something that somebody with a cell phone or Twitter is not equipped to do. There is something to be said for professionalism and learning your craft in about a thousand different ways, just as there is for a doctor. I can fix certain bruises on my hand. I cannot give myself heart surgery. Actually knowing something in a craft, there is something to know. It's not just being a seal and bouncing a ball on your nose.

WARNER: And we're going to go to questions from the audience.

Caryle, I just wanted to ask, you said you thought that actually it's getting increasingly difficult for societies -- or governments to keep their societies closed. Do you think, living now in Saudi Arabia, that the slightly greater openness that the Saudis are showing now has also a blow-back to Saudi audiences, or are they able to keep this kind of wall where you may be writing for American audiences, but --

MURPHY: They read my stories on the Web.

WARNER: So you think it is.

MURPHY: You know, "Who do you work for?" "I work for ABCD." And they go to the website, you know, and watch for my story.

But one thing I also do is I send a copy of my story, after it's been published, to everybody I quoted, including the government, because, you know, one of the things that I think that you have to get over in many of these societies is that "Oh, she's got a hidden agenda. She's not just a journalist. Maybe she's working for some intelligence agency." So the way I fight that is to be as open as possible, and so I always remember to send a copy of the story, after it's published, to whatever person helped me interact with the government.

And I also tell the government sometimes when I think I'm going to do a sensitive story. So I will get a warning if I am going to have problems, like I decided to do a trip to the eastern province to talk to Shi'ites and how they're feeling these days. So I just mentioned to the spokesman from the Ministry of Interior that I was planning to do this. I didn't tell them when I was going. But I said, "I'm planning to do this." He didn't say anything. And then when I came back, I went to see him. I said, "Well, this is what people are saying. What's your response?"

And I think that they appreciate the fact that you give them an opportunity to comment. So that's how I handle that.

WARNER: We're going to go our members' questions now. So I'm going to invite people to join in the conversation. You all know the ground rules. But just please wait for the microphone and then state your name and speak directly into it, and your affiliation. And, of course, please limit yourself to one question and make sure it's a question and not a long speech or peroration.

So who'd like to go first? Right here.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Patricia Patterson, Patterson Investments.

I can't tell, from listening to everybody last night and this morning. Many of you are in countries where you're going to be for a while. How many of you learn Arabic, learn Chinese, learn enough to say, "Let's kill the reporter," or at least find your way around? How many people actually learn the language?

REMNICK: I did, but I only had to go to one place and it was very large. (Laughter.) So a lot of people spoke that language. And the Washington Post --

WARNER: Trained you.

REMNICK: -- paid good money for me to get a terrible Estonian accent. (Laughter.) And, you know, if you have a job like Elizabeth's, where you're running around all the time, you know, unless you're, you know, Roman Jakobson, the greatest linguist who ever lived, you just can't possibly -- I mean, other than Europeans, who seem to know lots of languages.

WARNER: Yeah, I would say -- and I do the sort of what has been derogatorily referred to as parachuting in -- but I do the same when you go someplace for a month. No, I don't learn -- well, I (can ?) -- Pashto or Dari. So that's why the translators, fixers -- we call them our local producers, because they just do -- they are absolutely essential as, when someone's translating for you, they are your filter, in a way, and you really -- a lot of judgments come into that.

SOUTHERLAND: I'll just chip in. This is another one of my obsessions, so I'm going to try to make it short. But I have been preaching to journalism school students to learn a difficult language; get started now. I started Chinese about, I don't know, several decades ago. I'm still not that good at it. I was rated intermediate recently. I still carry little character cards around to study the characters. I'm still working on it. I always say the first 20 years are the hardest; then it gets easier. (Laughter.)

So I probably got this obsession in Vietnam, where I was part of the UPI team there, which was covering the American war, mostly. And, you know, somebody realized I spoke French, and at that time it was useful. And they said, "Dan, you cover the Vietnamese." So we had about nine guys covering the Americans. I had a license to go all over Vietnam, and I started studying the language. In fact, I quit UPI just to study the language. So I can now say, "Do not shoot" in five languages. (Laughter.)

But it really is important. I mean, Seymour Topping was asking yesterday, "What can you tell young reporters when they go into the field?" And I think he was looking for a different answer. But part of it is "Get the language. It won't help you" -- it didn't help with the Khmer Rouge. I mean, they just killed every journalist, every fixer, everybody they captured. But it will help you understand the country.

And please stop me now, because I may --

WARNER: I'll stop you now and just ask Caryle.

So have you learned Arabic in all these --

MURPHY: I know a lot of words, but I still don't know enough to do an interview in Arabic. And the main reason is I just never had enough time to sit down, and I didn't have the luxury of the Post. The Post, in its wisdom, decided that Russian and Spanish and Chinese and Japanese, they would teach those correspondents going to those places, but not Arabic. So I didn't get the year-long training. And, you know, I wish I had.

But another thing I like to bring up is that one good thing that's happening is that a lot of young Americans who are interested in journalism -- now, their parents or their grandparents emigrated from these countries, and they're learning the language and they're going to those areas.

The second thing that's happening is a lot of young people in these countries that we cover that are difficult, the young people there are more competent now to be journalists in the western tradition than they were 20 years ago. I mean, you can get now people who can write a story for an American audience. It may need a good editor. But in many of these countries you can get that. You couldn't get that, you know, 20 or 30 years ago.

REMNICK: Yeah, there's a reason you're seeing a lot of bylines in the Post and the Times who are, you know, natives or people who are fixers who are now being elevated into and getting their due, in a sense. For example, in Gaza, the New York Times person in Gaza all the time is Taqrid el-Hodari (sp).

And, you know, I -- it's not impossible to imagine that sometimes her sentence structure might not be absolutely elegant, but they can fix that in the garage. And she knows a lot. (Laughter).

And she's, you know -- and when one is getting, you know, led around by her, as I have, you -- you know, you feel like you're a little bit in a marionette kind of relationship because she knows everything. She takes you to the person. She knows the better questions to ask. And you get to ask yourself what the hell am I adding to this. (Laughter).

So it's a kind of honesty in advertising.

WARNER: Yes. Which is good to see. Right here in the third row?

QUESTIONER: Hi. Jim O'Neill from Clarium.

I'd like to ask each panelist to give a two-word answer. What two closed societies are most underreported?

SOUTHERLAND: Can I come back to that?

RUBIN: North Korea.

WARNER: Yeah. I'd say North Korea and Myanmar.

MURPHY: Burma.

WARNER: Yeah, Burma.

SOUTHERLAND: Actually, my radio covers North Korea like crazy. And we're working -- one of the interesting things is we're working with North Korean defectors -- turning them into broadcasters. And, boy, I'll tell you, that's quite an experience.

You meet one of these guys and you realize they're from another planet. I think there are stories in China that are underreported, but not the whole thing.

WARNER: Since this questioner asked for a two-word answer --

(Laughter).

SOUTHERLAND: Sorry. North Korea.

(Laughter).

WARNER: Right.

Yes?

QUESTIONER: Is there a mike?

WARNER: Yes.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. I'm Ted Sorensen at Paul Weiss.

Having parachuted in as a lawyer to many of these countries and similar countries, I'd like to ask whether any of you had relations with the U.S. embassy and what's helpful, useless, or risky.

WARNER: Good question.

MURPHY: I can answer that. When I started my career as a foreign correspondent, that was before I went to the Middle East. I was in South Africa. The United States embassy was a wonderful source of information. They had people who would, you know, take you in, give you a briefing on the economy and the politics, give you names and phone numbers, have you meet the ambassador. And they were really a good check on your own reporting, you know.

But in the last 10 years, especially under the Bush administration, the embassies are liked locked boxes. They don't want to give out any information. And, you know, it's -- and also, it varies from country to country.

But since the closure of the U.S. Information Agency, it's really gotten much more difficult to get cooperation on an information basis. Everybody is afraid to talk. They're afraid that you're going to misquote them and then their career will suffer, or they've been told from Washington don't talk to journalists.

It's really upsetting.

REMNICK: I think there was a little bit where I was -- a kind of point of pride that one didn't get one's stories at the embassy; that it was really considered low-rent thing to be an embassy reporter and that if you got anything more than Rice Krispies there, you were -- it was a bit of -- if I look back on it, silliness, because there were smart people at the Russian embassy. Jack Matlock was actually an exceptional ambassador. There were some political people there that knew a lot.

But as I say, the Soviet Union at that time went from being a black box -- I mean, if you read Rick Smith's book or Bob Kaiser's book from the '70s, every conversation is secret and there's a very tight, you know, group of friends that they could really speak to, and they were all dissidents or semi-dissidents in Moscow. And so -- and all of a sudden, this broke open.

So to spend more than five minutes, you know, in the embassy was not odd. But the whole Bush bit hadn't happened yet. I mean, to Reagan's credit, the Moscow embassy was not like that.

RUBIN: When I go in a foreign country because I'm going in just for a month, I try to go in and see the U.S. ambassador almost immediately just to understand what -- sort of what the administration's view -- what view they're getting from the field. And I find that useful. It doesn't -- it's always off the record. It's not a story. But there are some very astute, savvy ambassadors out there.

That said, I think part of the problem especially in areas -- I'll give you an example -- from Afghanistan is most of your embassy people in a dangerous area aren't getting out at all. I had a bizarre experience flying out of Afghanistan -- I was at baggage claim at Dubai. And someone from the embassy -- I won't give you his position -- but it was fairly high up, and it was someone who would be very involved in writing the reports about the country said to me how, you know, they'd seen my pieces and blah, blah, blah.

And he -- and I said, well, what do you think's going on there. And he said, well, I really think that the press is being, you know, awfully negative about the prospects for our engagement. And if you get out in the country, people are really glad that we've got a -- we're making a commitment.

And I said, oh, how interesting, you know, where were you, where have you been. He said, well, actually I've never left the compound.

(Laughter).

True story. True story, and a very, very bright man. But -- and because of security. So I think it's -- it's useful simply for, you know, if you're looking at the political dynamics, they have an important insight, but it's not a key to the culture.

MURPHY: And may I just add something? It's really sad to see U.S. embassies in many countries nowadays because they are like fortresses. There's no longer -- they no longer represent the open society that we do have here, and it's very sad.

RUBIN: I mean, interestingly now, I lot of people who've gone to work for the administration, like in Afghanistan or Pakistan, they're working at consultants because it's the only way that they can escape the confines of the embassies. So they'll say, okay, we'll come and work with you, Holbrooke, but we're not going to be a part of that whole, you know, security apparatus where we don't leave because otherwise, there's no point in having them.

But you do need -- particularly since we are at war now, you know, in these countries, you have to go, to some extent, to the U.S. embassy because you -- or to the Americans to find out, like, well, how do they see this; what are they doing here; why -- what is -- I mean, I just did this piece about Karzai in Afghanistan and wanted to know what the interactions are between the embassy and Karzai. And, you know -- and you have to -- and sometimes you really have to push and you have to keep calling them over and over and over again because that first meeting is useless.

So -- but you can't ignore them. And it's true. I think in the '90s, it was kind of like you didn't go to the U.S. embassy. It was kind of embarrassing.

REMNICK: Right.

RUBIN: You know, you got your story elsewhere. But you do have to engage with them now.

SOUTHERLAND: I think -- and I agree with Caryle that it's -- it varies from embassy to embassy. And I mean -- and there are experts in government who are worth consulting. I mean, I don't take this attitude that, you know, we should just blow them off. I think you just have to find out who's smart. I mean, pick out, you know, within the embassy itself. You know, have lunch with somebody. Sometimes that brings out a little more background information.

But they have things to contribute.

WARNER: Right here on the aisle?

QUESTIONER: Thank you, yes. Rory O'Connor from Media Channel.

I'd like to go back to Margaret, what you said right at the very beginning here. My question is: Are we seeing the end of the foreign correspondent with all these ex-Washington Post foreign correspondents on the stage?

Or conversely -- and I'd address this to Caryle -- in this day of layoffs and buyouts, buybacks and so on, are we, instead, seeing a new flowering through the Internet? I'd like to in particular ask you about your experience with the Global Post.

MURPHY: Yeah. I think that the cutback of foreign correspondents by most American newspapers and television stations is a boon to people who are willing to work as freelancers, you know, where you have to pay for your own 401(k) and your own health benefits.

But especially for young people starting out who -- you have to find a country where there's still an interest by American editors and there's not that much competition. You know, I didn't go to Beirut or Cairo because there's already scores of young people trying to go foreign correspondents there. So I went to a place where there are fewer, and there's still an interest in news from Saudi Arabia.

So, yeah -- what was the second -- oh, Global Post.

Global Post, you know, I have a feeling it's going to make it. It's still an experiment. It just started in January. But I think that the -- the design and the concept might eventually work. You know, they're getting their revenue from three different streams -- syndication and advertisement and then special access.

They don't pay that great, as we heard yesterday. But, you know, it's exposure, and it's a nice presentation. And I'm not sure it'll be the only way foreign news gets delivered in the future, but it's one way.

WARNER: We do actually have a whole panel coming up next on that with Charlie Sennott from Global Post. But does anyone else have another thought in general about -- with all these cutbacks?

SOUTHERLAND: Just to give you some good news, there are more foreign correspondents in Beijing now than they were when I was there. In other words, it's increased. But they're of a different type, many of them. They're guys who have three -- what we call three strings. You know, they're stringing for a lot of people. They don't make a lot of money, but they're -- and they're doing a lot of business reporting or -- look at the New York Times in China right now. They seem to have three people in Beijing, one in Shanghai, one in Hong Kong. That's amazing given their financial problems.

The Washington Post is down to one. Washington Post foreign staff down from 26 to maybe 14. So that's very painful for me, and I hate to praise the New York Times because they were the enemy, you know, the competitors. But it actually -- there is some good news out there. I'm sorry to --

WARNER: And I think that the challenge is for the non-Washington Posts and non-New York Times and Wall Street Journal -- I mean, they're really just a handful of papers that are now fielding their own foreign correspondents, as we heard last night, with a presence.

And I think that presents particular challenges of consistency and quality, and we have to find another way to maintain those standards but adapt to the new financial realities, which is, of course, what the big challenge is. And I'm glad we didn't have to solve that at this panel.

(Laughter).

Another question? Yes, right here. And I'll take one from the back. I'm sorry I've been focused here.

QUESTIONER: My name is Tony Catali (ph). I'm with the Oleon Group (ph).

I think it's been really interesting, considering last night's panel and this morning, listening to you all about talking about fixers. It seems to me like this is something that's becoming much more of an issue, much more of a story.

So my questions to you guys, obviously, when we hear about fixers, you know, you have to take into consideration who they're getting you to meet with. But when you're talking about closed societies in general and the governments in those societies, at what point does the fixer become the story if something happens to the fixer or if you're trying to find out something and they disappear and you lose track of them?

WARNER: I'm sorry. I don't quite understand your question. Do you mean do we have special responsibility -- or I mean, they clearly become a story if they get killed. I mean, but usually you're trying not to make -- I mean, occasionally, I've had fixers in a foreign country that, I'll say, God, he's just the perfect character. You get to know this person. You spend two weeks driving around with them, all these interesting insights.

But it's just a red line you don't cross. You don't make him a character. I mean -- and you have to be, I think, very aware of each fixer comes from his or her own set of political assumptions, and they're part of a certain strata of society, and they have certain cultural assumptions. So you always have to filter for that.

REMNICK: I think we have to -- to be honest, what we realize about fixers we don't often realize enough about ourselves. In other words, we are very discerning about who a fixer takes us to because we know that that fixer is so-and-so and his or her connections are with so-and-so. We don't ask those questions about ourselves enough; what our own orientations are, what our own presumptions and assumptions are.

Is the real bend with a political opinion in the United States Democrat and Republican? And all these things that we -- you know, is a kind of radical critique of American journalism that we confine to this whole area and call it Norm Chomsky or post-structure, whatever. It's a real serious subject, and I'm glad to see that it gets asked a lot more.

As far as fixers are concerned, if you can't see through your own fixer's habits or perceptions, then you really shouldn't be out doing that job. And my experience with them -- which is not as rich as somebody like Elizabeth -- is that they are -- if you have any decent tendencies or hiring good people, they're extraordinary and they're brave and they're selfless almost to an embarrassing, shaming degree.

And so if somebody gets hurt or, God forbid, killed or kidnapped and you write a story about it, I can't see anything wrong with that in the world.

RUBIN: No. Oftentimes, their stories are unbelievable because they've seen things. I mean, for instance sometime translators in Afghanistan who worked with the Special Forces, they have seen things that none of us know about. You know, and they -- one of them who I know ended up in prison accused of being a Taliban, and he did been with the Special Forces and, you know, these people have unbelievable stories to tell. I don't think it's odd to tell their story just because they're a fixer. It doesn't make them any less, you know, valuable to see what they've seen and to see what they've experienced.

WARNER: But would you fear you might be revealing too much and endangering them if you --

RUBIN: Oh, I'd only to it if they wanted it. You know, I wouldn't write a story about them if they didn't want it.

REMNICK: And they tend not to want it.

RUBIN: And they usually don't. And some of them do who've maybe left. But, no, most of the time, you're not going to write -- and they don't even want their names in the piece.

WARNER: There was a question back here. Yes, sir?

QUESTIONER: Morrie Helitzer. I was a fellow in 1960-61.

My question to the panel and also to members of the audience. Can you identify a watershed event when it became risky, life threatening for foreign correspondents? Because -- just to give you a little context on it, I was in Yugoslavia in 1949. And that was relatively a closed society. For a closed society, it would not qualify today.

But essentially, there was a sense of immunity for foreign correspondents. You were safe. I was traveling from Belgrade to -- from Zagreb to Belgrade on the train. I had a beard at the time. The conductor locked at the passport, said "Chetnik."

These were the Nazi allied members in Zagreb in World War II. And they said, what kind of name, Mr. Brown Brown. I was taken off the train, and I was taken to the ministry of the interior. And I was quizzed there so on and so forth. And then somebody came by and found out I was a foreigner, and the person who had done it was admonished, and I was taken off.

But subsequent to that, it did become life threatening, or at least in -- (inaudible) -- were being kidnapped or killed. And was there a watershed event that brought this about, or was it just a movement in general?

REMNICK: Well, Russia was the election of Vladimir Putin and the murder of Paul Klebnikov, but they tend not to kill foreigners, mostly Russians. That's what they care about. They care about that informational unit.

MURPHY: I think it's gotten much more dangerous for foreign correspondents, not necessarily always because of retaliation from the government you're trying to cover, but from conflicts. There's so many more millions and millions of small arms out there. Look at Africa where so many countries with 13-year-olds are running around with Kalashnikovs.

And the conflicts in the Middle East, like in Lebanon. I mean, it's very easy to get killed reporting those stories.

WARNER: Another question? Yes, sir, right in the back on the aisle.

QUESTIONER: Chandrakant Pancholi from Overseas India Weekly.

My question is how do you find these fixers and translators and drivers? And does your bureau give you -- does the U.S. embassy give you? And how do you find out that they -- (laughter) -- they are not planted ones?

WARNER: How do you find your fixers and drivers and so on? And do you get them from the U.S. embassy? And how do you ensure they're not planted?

RUBIN: I will say that some of the best fixers have been found out of desperation. Like you are -- when the war started in Afghanistan, for example, and a lot of people came from Tajikistan into the non-Taliban area and we needed translators. And there was a medical student who spoke English. And he's turned into the one of the New York Times' best reporters in Afghanistan.

He was just a guy who -- a tall guy who spoke some English. And oftentimes, you can create a fixer. I mean, somebody who just has a minimum of English and is a smart person and you can teach them the job and they get excited by it. And most of the best fixers in Afghanistan, that's how they started. And I would say the majority of them tended to be from medical school so they had some English.

REMNICK: That's in a system of either a chaos society or a free society. In China -- certainly, the China that Dan operated in and the Soviet Union I did and Iraq and many other places, Tehran, you have government minds. (Chuckles.) You don't have any choice whatsoever.

RUBIN: Yeah. That's right.

REMNICK: We had an office in Moscow staffed by a -- it sounds very fancy, but believe me (scattered laughter) -- a translator who, by the way, didn't speak English, but nevermind. (Laughter). I'm sure she had other talents. (Laughter).

A driver who got in an accident three or four times a week and refused to drive very often because he was drunk and other such. And they were appointed by a government agency. In the Russian case, it's called upedek (ph) -- it was the diplomatic corps. It was a KGB thing -- and maids or cleaning people.

So, on Friday afternoon, they go to some meeting, and they would, you know, say what they heard at the office or what was David and his wife talking about. It must have been an excruciatingly boring meeting -- (laughter) -- and -- in its kind of late mannerist phase, but it was, you know, it was serious business for a long, long time. The Chinese had this, and you had to live in these particular buildings. You didn't have a choice.

So the breakthrough for us is, in 1990, we finally, you know, screw this. We'll just hire somebody and see how the government reacts. We'll hire somebody that's actually good. (Laughter). And I hired a woman named Masha Lipman.

WARNER: Oh, wow.

MURPHY: My goodness.

REMNICK: And Masha Lipman had great English and she knew a lot and she was smarter than everybody, blah, blah, blah. She's now a columnist for the Washington Post. She was one of the best journalists in Russia when there was that period when there was actual journalism.

And, you know, you --

WARNER: She's at an important think tank.

REMNICK: Yeah. She's at the Carnegie Endowment there is Moscow. She's really --

WARNER: When some of us go to Russia, we put her on the air as an expert.

REMNICK: Yeah. She's on the tube a lot.

WARNER: I think -- I hate to say it, but I think my time -- our time is up. This has been a really fascinating panel. And I thank all my panelists.

Our next one at 10:15 will get more into more Global Post and sort of the new forms of foreign reporting in this digital age.

(Applause).

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

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JOHN HOCKENBERRY: We had a terrific conversation this morning, which really gives you a sense of the dimensions of technology's reach into communities that don't get coverage and the importance of delivering information from those communities.

I think this is more of what Richard Haass might call, you know, a 36,000-feet discussion of maybe some more macro issues in the business. But we have people who can talk from ground level and from the sort of broad business end of what's going on in journalism right now.

A lot of the wither journalism online, the Internet produce for people in television and magazines and print the kinds of cramps and terror that comes from waking up this morning and hearing that Garrison Keillor is recovering from a mild stroke. Which in public radio is the equivalent of an asteroid hitting the entire organization. He's fine, but that was one of the stories this morning.

What we are talking about is very serious business here for the future of all of our jobs up here and for the delivery of content that's important to all of you here at the council.

I'd like to begin by telling a story. Long ago when I worked for an organization, National Public Radio, we were trying to figure out what our international coverage was. And there was a discussion that happened back in the early '80s about the possibility of using technology to deliver conversations from far-flung place, or places that felt and seemed far flung at the time, across phone lines that weren't so gritty and hissy and difficult to decipher.

And the technology was available to make it seem as though a phone call from Afghanistan or from Saudi Arabia and especially places like Kazakhstan would be a local call. And people were interested in this idea.

But all of a sudden, the consensus was, but why would we want a phone call to Kabul, Afghanistan to sound like a local call? We love the hiss, the sense of distance. (Laughter.) It gives it a feel of exotic. Why would we want technology to do something like that. I mean, there's nothing more boring than a local call.

Well, of course, in the 21st century, Beijing is a local call. Certainly, Baghdad is a local call, literally for service men it is a local call. And we have to get used to thinking of the world as much more combined. And technology certainly reduces the proximity, even as it increases the difficulties of journalism for many of us who have to deliver stories.

There are two real stories that we want to talk about here with this panel. One is, of course, the exciting story of how technology has enabled people to deliver and craft news stories that are much more vital and have multi-dimensionality than the old hissy conversation with the BBC reporter over the phone line.

Yet the other story that is equally important, but is perhaps less a happy story, is the question of how much more difficult it is to imagine a business model for both paying reporters in international coverage and in distributing content and getting some sort of monetary return from that that's going to sustain the kind of journalism that we all love.

You know, we had an example this week of how the music business is ahead of journalism in figuring out where the value is in online reporting, particularly international coverage. I mean, the hugest technological roll-out this week was from people who didn't want to listen to Beatles songs. No, they wanted to be the Beatles, the rock-band roll-out of The Beatles was an indication that where the value lies suddenly in the music business is this existential component, being a member of the band.

I think similarly, the transformation in news is people want to be editors. People want to be close to the action. They want to use their ability to aggregate online information to be reporters. Is there value in that? What is the business model? What are the implications of that? That's the subject that we want to discuss today.

And so we have a fabulous panel. I'm going to give them a hand right off the bat here, because we really have a terrific group here. (Applause.)

Let me just go down the line. I want to remind people, first of all, a couple of business issues. Turn off all of your electronic devices that we are going to talk about as an exciting new phenomenon in journalism. (Laughter.) But for us for the next hour and a half, they are an annoyance. And please, we don't want to hear them.

Also, people throughout the nation and the world are watching this on the council's website which is www.cfr.org. And we will hear remarks from each of the panel. We will have a discussion. And then we will open it to member's questions for the remainder of the period.

I want to introduce, first of all, L. Gordon Crovitz, who's co-founder of Journalism Online and writes the Information Age column for The Wall Street Journal. He has a distinguished career.

If you want more details about everybody's long and distinguished career, I will refer you to your programs. There's all kinds of information about that.

Charlie Sennott, an old pal of mine from The New York Daily News and The Boston Globe, but is now executive editor and co-founder of GlobalPost, the business model of which is very interesting and germane to a couple of things that I was saying a moment ago.

Nicholas Lemann, a dean and Henry Luce Professor of Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Of course, a well-known writer and journalist in his own right, but also heads up one of the most distinguished institutions in journalism today.

And Christopher Isham, vice president and Washington Bureau chief, CBS News, with a long, distinguished career in network news, who has lived a number of these transformations and will share those experiences.

Nick, I'd like to begin with you.

NICHOLAS LEMANN: Well, first of all, I agree wholeheartedly with the way you framed it. So just to repeat a little bit. If you take the economics out of the picture, we never had it so good. If you're a consumer of journalism, it's paradise right now. It's paradise that may not last for reasons we'll get into. But you know, the last 10 years or so, five to 10 years, have been the only time in my life where if I said, you know, I just don't like that New York Times correspondent in South Africa and I want to see what seven other South Africa correspondents from papers all over the world say, and if it's a Japanese paper, I want to push a button and get it instantly translated, I want to read it now, I can do that.

I, as a consumer of news, have more access to more overseas news for free at the touch of a finger. I mean, it's incredible if you think about it, if somebody had told you you could do that even 10 years ago.

If you're a producer of news -- again, if you don't have to worry about money and, of course, we all do have to worry about money -- also, you've never had it so good. And this affects us a lot at the school, because we find that we can produce, our students can produce really unbelievably good foreign correspondence as students.

If we can get them, you know, 1,500 bucks, or so, and give them three weeks off, they can go anywhere in the world, they can do, you know, video, audio, print. They can publish websites, which we do a lot at the school, and some of them are about foreign affairs. So all of the sort of barriers to entry are way, way, way lower than they used to be.

So the money problem, which we'll spend a lot of time talking about, I want to start with the risk of offending some of my other panelists, particularly Charlie, with the supposition that there may not be a business model for overseas reporting. Or anyway, in journalism, very broadly speaking, it's not seen as, you know, the cash cow that drives the whole business of journalism.

One hears on the rumor mill that Foreign Affairs magazine is so fabulously profitable that it keeps the whole council afloat. But that's kind of aberrational. I mean, if you remember -- (laughter)

HOCKENBERRY: Yeah, it's an anonymous blogger, I think.

LEMANN: You know, back in the '70s when Abe Rosenthal and his crew invented all those lifestyle sections in The New York Times to save the paper economically, much to the horror of the Village Voice press column and so on, that was proof that having, you know, the world's greatest network of foreign correspondents in one place didn't necessarily make for a profitable product.

And here I may offend other panelists like Chris, so let's talk about Edward R. Murrow for a second. You know, his first job at CBS News was in something called the Education Department. And this was before, way back in the 1930s, and there wasn't a News Department, there was only an Education Department. And the reason there was an Education was that the United States, through the late '20s and early '30s, an effort led, people often don't know, by Herbert Hoover, made a decision not to do what most of the other developed countries were doing and have a state-owned broadcast system, but instead to have a private broadcast system.

But if we were going to be aberrational in that way, we would place certain requirements on people, private entities that got broadcast licenses -- network owners, et cetera -- and one of them was you would engage in public education. So that was why CBS has an Education Department. Or maybe it was because (PLA ?) just believed in having an Education Department. But a little bit of both.

So one could argue, to be perverse, that the seed of broadcast news, particularly overseas broadcast news, lies in federal compulsion to do it, not in a market existing for it in the original sense, even though you guys have found ways to make it pay for itself, at least some of the time.

There's a fascinating passage in William Shirer's "Berlin Diary" where he describes this moment. He worked for Murrow. You know, Hitler is invading Poland and so on. And all these guys, who are the Education Department at CBS Radio and whose job it is to book uplifting guests, like ministers, on the radio, suddenly say, wait a minute, we're all former reporters, there's this huge story breaking, why don't we just get on the mike ourselves and tell people what happened? And that's how the whole business started, almost by accident.

So we'll have much subsequent discussion of business models, and it's a good discussion to have. But I'd just like to start the discussion with the note that we should entertain the notion that pure market forces will not, in and of themselves, support the kind of overseas reporting that our society and other societies in the world needs.

And that if that's true, that should not be an insuperable barrier. We have lots and lots of important public goods that we've found ways to provide through means other than the pure markets.

So I just urge us all not to view the difficulty of supporting this purely in the marketplace as meaning that's the end of overseas reporting.

HOCKENBERRY: Thank you, Nicholas. I have to say, personally, I'm glad that we have one more thing to blame on Herbert Hoover. There's no one in this room who killed broadcast news, and Hoover is to blame. (Laughter.)

Gordon Crovitz, you're next.

L. GORDON CROVITZ: So I will get to a rugged defense of markets and why markets work and why markets will ultimately help support the kind of journalism we're talking about, but let me do it a little bit circuitously and start with an observation from Silicon Valley which is, now as we all know, the center of the media universe. The largest media company in the world is based there. The largest advertising operation is based there. Google does not have a large News Department, but it's an enormous media company.

And one of the great observations from Silicon Valley is that whenever there's a change in technology that affects consumers, we always tend to overestimate the impact in the short term of that change of consumer behavior but then underestimate the impact in the long term.

So we all remember the early years of the Internet and newspapers were going to go away and magazines were going to go away, TV was going to go away. And instead, we got sock puppets and web van and other businesses that failed.

Fast-forward now 10 years later, and we're all still underestimating the impact of new technology and how consumers, readers, all of us are getting our news and information. We're getting it on devices that we carry in our pockets. By the time we see the next day's newspaper, I think many of us look at it and say, why is this all about what happened yesterday? I know what happened yesterday, yesterday, creating a very serious problem for news publishers and all media, given the new choices that people have and the instantaneous communications that people have and the fact that data travel in real time everywhere in the world.

Earlier in my career, I ran the Far Eastern Economic Review magazine. And we were putting together the 50th anniversary issue some years ago. And I went back to some of the files, and I realized that until the 1970s, the official price of rubber for world markets was the price of rubber in Malaysia as reported in the Far Eastern Economic Review until the 1970s. Imagine that. Now the price of rubber in Malaysia is set in real time by what is in Bloomberg. It's unbelievable to imagine, and yet that has affected every part of how we consume information.

But the bigger problem for journalism is not the challenge of consumers and leaders, as big a challenge as that is. The bigger problem is inherent in a quote from a fellow named John Wanamaker who, 100 years ago, built a department store chain in Philadelphia by using advertising in newspapers. Revolutionized the idea of using advertising in that way.

And he was asked, you know, what's the secret of his success? And he said, well, it's advertising. The problem is I know half of my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half. And that drove media for many years, this inability of advertisers fully to understand what advertising worked and what didn't work.

Advertisers now have unbelievable choice. They can narrow the audience. They know what the return on their investment is. Mass media, as many of grew up with it, is untargetable mass, wasted, all these terrible things from the advertiser point of view. That's the business problem for journalism.

And the nub of the business problem for journalism is that for 50 years or so, the only revenue model for most journalism was advertising. That subscribers, all of us as consumers, pay something for our newspaper, for our magazine, later for cable. But it never really covered all the costs.

Advertising is probably not coming back the way that it was. What other revenue streams are there? And if you look at the world, especially for foreign correspondents, and you ask, who's hiring foreign correspondents? Who do they work for? They work for companies like Bloomberg and Dow Jones and Reuters. They work for companies that have another business model other than advertising. They work for companies that are delivering very important, differentiated news for their audiences which tend to be more financial professionals than all of us as consumers.

But there's a lesson there, which is, if you have and are able to produce unique, differentiated information from anywhere in the world, including foreign correspondents, there will be an audience that will be willing to pay to get it.

So I'm optimistic about Charlie's group. I'm optimistic about startups that are focused on trying to generate new revenue streams. Technology empowers consumers to make a lot of choices. It also empowers publishers now to find new business models. So I'm optimistic in the long term.

HOCKENBERRY: Just one quick clarification. When you say Google is the largest media company in the world, what's your metric on that? Is it the capitalization? Is it audience?

CROVITZ: Advertising sales.

HOCKENBERRY: Advertising sales. Okay, great.

Christopher Isham.

CHRISTOPHER ISHAM: Well, speaking very much as representative of the old media, I guess I was thinking it wasn't that long ago, it was only 1983, when I covered my first war in Lebanon. And the difference between what we had to do in those days and how we operate today is really stunning, and it's worth just enumerating in a second.

We had no satellite up-link because the Syrians had bombed the TV station in Beirut. We had no Internet, obviously. No cell phones. We had a four-wire, a hard-lined connection between Beirut and New York, which allowed us basically to talk to New York over the telephone, which meant if a bomb went off we could tell New York about it and go on the radio.

HOCKENBERRY: A four-wire is a configuration of telephone lines.

ISHAM: Correct. So we had no -- and it was like open phone lines, essentially, which made the hotel very happy, because it meant that our phone lines, we had four open phone lines to New York, 24 hours a day. And it made, obviously, the local telecom happy.

HOCKENBERRY: You had to pay in local currency, right?

ISHAM: Yeah.

HOCKENBERRY: Yeah, okay.

ISHAM: Good rates. (Laughter.) When the bomb went off on April 18th, 1983, which ushered in the era of suicide bombings and what we know of as the modern cataclysmic terrorism, it took three hours to drive the video from Beirut to Damascus in order to feed it back to New York.

You know, the difference, obviously, today is now the news-gathering process moves at warp speed, and we can move anybody, anywhere on the planet with a single camera and a -- (inaudible) -- which is an up-link and a mobile satellite dish, which is no larger than an attache case. And he can transmit instantaneously from anywhere on the planet that he can get to. Obviously, they have to get there, which obviously still imposes some limitations on where we can go.

But that is a truly extraordinary and major change in the way the news is gathered and, I think, totally beneficial.

The other impact obviously is the way in which the news cycle has sped up. I mean, the proliferation of outlets, and this is not even including the Internet, but with cable TV, 24-hour news, the whole news cycle has sped up. We basically, in 1983, we had all day to think about what we were doing, because we didn't really need to go on the air until 6:30 at night, New York time.

Now we are either on the air or we are on the Web or we are somewhere 24/7. And that has had a huge impact on the way we do business and on everybody's daily lives in my business.

It has had, I think, there's been some good fallout of that and negative fallout. The positive fallout of that is that, I think, everybody knows that, you know, when our people in the field know that they are always on and you basically need to be transmitting information back, on the air, whatever platform you can find. I think that's extremely positive.

The negative side of that is that with the bites of information, if you will, have become so compressed that much of our news is now in very, very small, digestible pieces.

That said, it's remarkable, in a lot of ways, how the nuts and bolts of what we produce, pieces that go on the air, still involve reporting, they involve video, they involve writing stories that make sense to people. And that very much -- there hasn't been a huge change in that. We still do good pieces, and we do bad pieces. But on the whole, the nuts and bolts of what we do is actually stunningly similar.

And I think I'll leave it at that. We can talk about the business issues, because I think there are a lot of economic issues that we can get into. But I'd sort of defer that.

HOCKENBERRY: Just one clarifying question, though. If it is, if you'll forgive me, so much less of a pain in the butt to file from Beirut today versus what it was in 1983, how come CBS is doing significantly less international news today than it was in 1983?

ISHAM: Well, I think what you get into there -- and I'd want to see what the numbers are on that, because I think, in a lot of ways, we are broadcasting a great deal from Afghanistan, we are broadcasting a great deal still from Iraq, and certainly at the height of the Iraq war we were almost on the air with at least one if not two pieces a day.

"60 Minutes," if you look at the roster of "60 Minutes" stories coming up this fall, I think you'd be stunned at how many of those pieces are actually foreign. So I'd want to see the numbers. And I frankly haven't looked at them, but I'd want to see, you know, what the breakdown of that is.

But we are still doing a lot of international news. Is it enough? No. But it's a good deal. And I think that what you'll also see is that there are longer pieces and pieces where we'll send someone out for a week. The bureaus have been cut down, and there are a lot of reasons for that. But one of the net effects of that is that we'll now send a correspondent out to go into a place, like Afghanistan, and produce four or five pieces for, you know, three or four different broadcasts and try to maximize it that way.

So it's different. But still, the commitment is still very much there.

HOCKENBERRY: Thank you, Chris.

Charlie Sennott, tell us about GlobalPost and if you'll be working there in five years. (Laughter.)

CHARLES M. SENNOTT: I intend to be. Yeah, thanks, John. I mean, a lot has been said about GlobalPost. It's nice to be up here and be able to tell you a little bit about it.

It was said the other day that, you know, what we're able to pay foreign correspondents is so modest, it's hard to get out of bed in the morning for it. Every great correspondent I know, it wasn't the pay that got them out of bed. And if it was, they were insane, because most of the foreign correspondents I know don't make that much and never really have unless they were lucky enough to be at a network and really on a big contract.

So the great work of foreign reporting has always come from people, you know, who were paid fairly modestly. That said, great reporting has great value, and great correspondents need to make a living, and they need to work and operate safely.

And the one aspect of GlobalPost that I just really want to clarify is safety is hugely important to us. We have correspondents who are in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have very unique relationships with those correspondents where they have much more than our contract with them. They are surrounded by other resources that keep them working safely. We make very certain that is the case. We insist that all of our correspondents in the war zone have had hostile-environment training.

We are very careful. We had our correspondent apprehended in Iran and put in detention. We worked very hard, very diligently to get him out. And we did get him out.

We take these issues very seriously, but I do want to explain what GlobalPost is, because I don't think a lot of you know. So GlobalPost is an online news organization dedicated completely to international news. And it was launched about eight months ago. And we have 70 correspondents under contract as freelancers in more than 50 countries now.

What we believe in is the idea that you have to live in the country about which you write. That you need to have that language skill, preferably. You need to be there. You need to have what we call ground truth. So we're trying to create a new model for correspondents, who live in those places, to have an outlet to write for an American audience.

Those correspondents are a really interesting group. We're really lucky to have people like Carol Murphy, who is reporting for us in Saudi Arabia. She is a fantastic reporter. And I think of Carol as sort of the perfect example of the new foreign correspondent, because Carol had a great career as a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Washington Post. But now Carol is writing a book, freelancing for the Christian Science Monitor and the GlobalPost and, therefore, putting together a life where she can do really important reporting in a country that goes vastly under covered, and contribute to our site and to other places.

She's becoming her own entity. It's about her becoming an entrepreneur on her own, in a way. And that's what we try to promote. What we pay will not, you know, allow you to live. But what we will do is give you a core and a sort of base or a portfolio for you to build that up.

We've had more than 1,000 applications for jobs. We have correspondents who range from HDS Greenway, the legendary Boston Globe columnist, to Carol, to mid-career correspondents. We have people, like Mike Moran, who is here at the council, who is a columnist for us. We have a newly acquired Mohamad Bazzi, who is going to start writing a column, but I had to sort of convince him of that last night.

HOCKENBERRY: Did the not-enough-money-to-live argument really work for him? (Laughter.)

SENNOTT: Well, yeah. (Laughs.) Mohamad --

HOCKENBERRY: Great. I'd love to see a video of that on your website.

SENNOTT: It went late into the evening, absolutely. But you know, Mohamad is teaching. I should say that Mohamad was very young. I got to meet him when he was 18-years old and he walked in The New York Daily News where I was city editor, and he wanted to write. And I said, well, we don't have an internship program. He said, I just want to write something. I said, well, sit down and write. He sat down and wrote the lead, I grew up in two war zones, Beirut, Lebanon and the New York City public school system. And I said, we just started an internship. (Laughter.) I've never forgotten that lead, and I've followed Mohamad's career.

He's incredible. And I really need him to be part of GlobalPost. And a lot of what GlobalPost is about is about the passion for foreign reporting. It's about loving it. You know, I need we need differentiated information. But we also just need great storytellers in the world, and we need to have a place where those storytellers can write and not be over-edited and not be sort of encumbered by all of the commercial interests of what I call the Ancien Regime and the competition to get on air, when you just have a great story.

One of the beauties of GlobalPost is that we can cover the whole world, and we can combine all of this coverage from these correspondents. And if you go to GlobalPost, you'll see a really interesting mix of stories.

So yes, we give a fairly modest monthly base salary for freelancers, but it is exactly what superstringers have always been paid. It's really no different than what The New York Times still pays or the Christian Science Monitor still pays or NPR still pays. The difference is we're one of the last games in town that will give you a steady gig, because so many people are cutting back, even now on freelance.

So we're finding we can build an incredible team of veterans, mid-career folks and, interestingly, very young people who are out there reporting for us. So the team is really what it's all about for us. But in that new model of foreign correspondent, we're also trying to say that the correspondents themselves need to be entrepreneurial. So we pay them the stipend that we pay them for a set number of stories. But we also give them 10,000 shares in the company, and this is a part of the model that I'm always fascinated that correspondents forget about it, like Carol didn't mention it.

You know, it's a big deal. This is giving you a piece of the future of a company that, if we make it, will make you part of that success. And we're trying to sort of say, this is genuine, we want you to be part of it. These shares are not paper. They have a cash value. And those shares pay out over time.

So we need correspondents to start to think sort of with their own entrepreneurial spirit. Great journalists are always enterprising and entrepreneurial. We need them to think more about their careers that way, too. We try to encourage that.

At GlobalPost, the business model relies on three different revenue streams, so we are looking at advertising online, syndication with newspapers -- and there are so many newspapers now that have cut back on their foreign coverage that we really think there's a decent play there for us -- and also, people, you know, are looking for other places for content right now, not just AP or not just Reuters.

HOCKENBERRY: You mean subs? Or you mean --

SENNOTT: I mean, we have, for example, The Newark Star Ledger, when the Lockerbie, Megrahi, was freed, we had a really interesting story out of London, written by Michael Goldfarb, formerly of NPR. He's a fantastic writer. And that ran on the front of The Newark Star Ledger.

We did a big series in Afghanistan where we really invested in a special project called "Life, Death and the Taliban." That series was carried, pretty much in its entirety, in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, another affiliate of ours.

So syndication is a very, very important part of our future revenue. And so is advertising, of course. But I think the most exciting one is Passport, which really tries to create a community where globalpost.com is free, Passport is a subscription model, it's very reasonable, and it brings you into the community. And it speaks directly to what you were saying, John, about how people don't want to just listen to The Beatles, they want to be The Beatles.

We are trying to create, through Passport, an opportunity for the community that has a membership with Passport to be part of what we do. By paying, as a member, you become a more intimate part of our community, and you can actually vote for stories to be covered in the world. We will put them up to the community. They will be voted on. The best idea wins, and we will then go out and cover that story.

We will put you in touch with our correspondents in the field through conference calls so you can actually talk to them about what they do, how they do it, what it's like. It becomes more intimate because it's a smaller community, and it allows you that access.

So we are --

HOCKENBERRY: How much do you pay a freelancer for being on a conference call?

SENNOTT: I think we pay them $250 for the call.

HOCKENBERRY: For the call?

SENNOTT: Yeah.

HOCKENBERRY: All right. You've thought this through. Nice, nice. (Laughter.)

SENNOTT: I won't ask you how much you pay for correspondents who you talk to in the field, but I would just say, in the end, GlobalPost is this exciting enterprise. That, you know, my part of it is that I've been a foreign correspondent and always wanted to be one and feel really lucky to have been able to do it. And I don't want to see it die.

And the passion I bring to it is really the storytelling side. But I have a partner, Phil Balboni, who is the CEO, and who wrote the business model. And Phil is a very rare combination of a great journalist and a great businessman. And there are not many of those out there in the world.

And I think it's really important to say that it's that team of Phil thinking through the business side and I'm trying to build the team of writers in the field. And I think together, you know, the odds might be stacked up against us. But it is a lot of fun trying, and I think it's really important that we have more eyeballs in the world.

HOCKENBERRY: Charlie, thanks for that. You argue passionately. I really need to ask you, though, how is the Carol Murphy model, which you've so eloquently described, of not being able to pay a living wage, where you have to work for the Christian Science Monitor, different from the Walmart model where mom has to work at McDonald's at night after she goes home from Walmart and has no health care?

SENNOTT: Well, being a foreign correspondent is a hell of a lot better job than working at Walmart. Carol has tremendous skill. She's a great reporter. It's hard to find these jobs right now. I think the more accurate sort of description of what that's like is to be an artisan, to be someone who makes things. You're a craftsman. And if you can't, you know, sort of get the same kind of jobs you used to get in a big production mill, and you're going to start doing piecework because you love the craft, that's more what it's like.

And I think, you know, Carol is working on a book. She's got a lot of offers because she has a very distinguished career. For our younger correspondents, it's just a chance to get out there and do it. We become that base that they can rely on, so they can start a career.

HOCKENBERRY: So the other mechanism, as Nick was talking about, the cost of entry has lowered, you're providing that port of entry.

SENNOTT: Exactly.

HOCKENBERRY: All right. I want to give members a chance to question. Raise your hands, and I will call on you. And the microphone will come around.

For me personally, and you can think about this and talk amongst yourselves, for me, the chief question and concern, and we'll get a question from the audience, is whether this is a transitional period, because you referred to the Wanamaker era. And when the Hearst empire began, it was built on subs to begin with. It was built on the ability to project bylines and a certain kind of veracity and storytelling that attracted subscribers.

So the idea that advertising always wins out over a subscription model has been in flux for more than a century. So the question is, are we in a transitional moment? And you know, obviously, where are we going to land? But when do you think the transition will end? And how will it end is really a chief concern to me.

But let's get a question from the audience. Raise your hand -- right over here.

QUESTIONER: I'm Jerry Goodman from Adam Smith Global Television. And we have produced many international specials, all on PBS. And the problem we've found is that we had a highly edited essay forum, like "60 Minutes," without the budget of "60 Minutes." And the problem is always, how do we get the stations to carry them at a time that anybody would want?

And I had to spend my time cultivating stations. So my question to the whole panel is, you've talked about the different modes and the different delivery systems, and you're going to talk about where we might be going, how are you going to get the audience? How do you carve out an audience to pay attention, even if you do beautiful work?

LEMANN: Things are really different, Jerry, from what they used to be. Some of us journalists remember this thing called the news hole that we used to fight to get part of. You know, the idea was there's a very high barrier to entry and disseminating this kind of information. There's only a few people who can do it, and they have the ability to, as the economists would say, extract rents from people in exchange for that. And so you have, you know, a few providers.

And the precious thing, if you're on the production side, if you're a working journalist especially, is to get space. Once you've got the space or airtime, the audience came guaranteed.

Now, you know, anybody can start a website and broadcast to a worldwide market. So it's really a question of, you know, how big an audience you can build.

The finding that those of us who operate websites have is, first, you can develop quite a large Web audience, and that audience, despite a lot of fear and hand-wringing, seems to be able to know what's real news and what isn't. And a chief example is the 20 million or so audience of The New York Times online.

In other words, the big audiences are where most people in this room would want the big audiences to be, if you will, with the possible exception of the Drudge Report. And that itself is all aggregated from mainstream news sites, or almost all.

To keep an audience, it's like -- I don't know if any of you remember from your children these things called Tamagochis that they confiscated in schools, where you'd have to, quote-unquote, "feed" them every three hours or they would die.

HOCKENBERRY: Yeah. It's your secret friend -- (inaudible) -- yes.

LEMANN: Yeah. So that's the experience if you operate a website. It's very easy technologically to put up a fabulous piece of journalism. And sometimes, if it's a super-mega home run it will get a big audience. But you know, to really build an audience for a site, you have to just feed it all the time. People have to know every two hours when they go look at it there's going to be new content there. And if you do that, you can build a really significant community. That's the good news.

The bad news is almost nobody who has succeeded in doing that is making money doing it. And the few that are, to go back to the point raised earlier, are really people like Bloomberg News who are providing kind of actionable information that you can make money on in real time, which applies somewhat but much less than totally to overseas reporting.

HOCKENBERRY: But to take Jerry's point there, PBS has specific distribution problems in terms of reaching its audience that are unique and probably don't apply to Chris' situation, et cetera. And aside from Margaret and the NewsHour, there is no sort of lateral way to reach the PBS news audience, though it does exist, and numerically it does exist.

But Gordon, let me direct a follow up to you. And Nick raised this point. The Bloomberg create-your-own-audience-and-then-run-with-it kind of idea that you're basically dealing with aficionados who want a particular brand of information, actionable in the case of Bloomberg. But in the case of Politico, not necessarily actionable, it's news that you want about politics, about a specific domain. They've been very, very successful with that.

Does international news have a play here in the sense that you create aficionados who are really interested in what's going on, either in regions of the world or in the broad domain of international news? And can you monetize that?

CROVITZ: Absolutely. So I think Nick is absolutely right. There are news brands that have much larger audiences now online than they ever had in their old medium, print, broadcast, whatever it might have been. The opportunity to monetize, to bring brass tacks or platinum tacks, if we're lucky, the ability to monetize that audience has been, so far, a challenge.

I myself think that it's, in large part, from want of trying. That the GlobalPost approach, the Passport approach -- by the way, the NPR approach -- essentially is to say, we know that some modest percentage of our audience is deeply, deeply, deeply engaged. They associate themselves with GlobalPost, with NPR, with The Guardian, with The Times, with The Wall Street Journal, whatever it might be. That is part of themselves.

Those people are very, very likely, if offered something beyond what is otherwise available, to become a subscriber in some form, a sponsor, a donor, a supporter, a subscriber. And I think the Web is this enormous audience where virtually any news brand, if you can imagine 10 percent of the monthly online unique visitors to those brands paying $50 a year, $100 a year, would not solve all the problem, but it would certainly alleviate a large part of the problem.

HOCKENBERRY: Well, the (perennial ?) pitch for that is, feel better about yourself and give, you know, because it's not free. Now, in the real business world, that is like there are 10 percent who are suckers, and then there are 90 percent who get it free. (Laughter.)

CROVITZ: In defending the market and not treating consumers as suckers, there are models in the world, which are increasingly common, where websites, for example, will allow people to read 10 articles a month for free, and then after that, people are asked to pay more for them. In other words, people who are sort of a casual user of a website maybe forever will access it for free, but that 10 percent or so who really want everything from that brand -- it could be a Chinese-language newspaper based in Hong Kong that is free in Hong Kong, but they charge people in San Francisco and Sydney and London and Toronto where they live to read it. There are many models like that that are just beginning to get tried.

And I would predict, if we come back in a couple of years, that this will be, you know, one of the rare, bright spots of revenue generation which, as Charlie and his team, I think, are showing, one of the beauties of that approach is it's not just relying on advertising. The editors, the producers, the publishers can focus on the user and what the user really values.

And that is much more exciting, I think, for journalism than hoping that the advertising market comes around.

HOCKENBERRY: Christopher, you had something to say.

ISHAM: Well, I just wanted to -- this isn't responsive to the Web issue, but I think our experience has been that I don't think there's any question that there is an audience out there for international reporting and international news. And again, cite the "60 Minutes" example. I mean, "60 Minutes" maintained a very high level of reporting, continues to do serious reporting on everything from credit-default swaps to the war in Afghanistan. And they've remained in the top 10 week after week after week. It's a hugely successful show. And there are some things, the result of many, many years of building an audience, which is a huge advantage it has. Its address is a huge advantage coming after football. Clearly, it has advantages.

But with that said, they have maintained a very, very high level. And despite the fact they've lost a lot of their original cast, it continues to do incredibly well. So that, to me, tells us that there is an audience out there if you know how to reach them and you tell good stories, which a great, great part of this.

HOCKENBERRY: Quickly, and then we'll get another member.

SENNOTT: Okay, just quickly, I agree completely that it really is about the great stories. And to answer your question directly about audience building, I mean, one of the most exciting things we have at GlobalPost right now is our audience and watching it grow. So we are growing at a rate of 35 percent a month for every month we've been around, which is all of seven and a half months.

But we've reached 3 million visitors now to our site. I don't know how much you want to get into the metrics of the Web, but we could, at some point, if you want. The short story is that we have managed in seven months to build a community that's really interested in international news. And our metrics, and you can really study these with Google analytics, you can know exactly how many times people are coming back, how many page visits there are, time on site on every story.

And one of the most exciting metrics we see is a fully engaged community that keeps coming back. And when they come back, they engage deeply. And that says to me that the Web can also tell us that people do care about international reporting and they do care about great stories.

HOCKENBERRY: A question right here from a member.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Bob Lifton. This is more of an addition to Passport. There is a new technology now that just takes this whole thing one step further, and that is the ability to have unlimited numbers of people on a meeting, on video, on the Web, including hand-held devices, so that people can participate and watching news as it's taking place. And you guys can have people interviewed and talking to these people and charged for that specific group. And they can participate on their BlackBerrys. They can participate on their hand-held iPhones and all.

HOCKENBERRY: Certainly, we saw that in Iran on some level. That was a sort of journalistic component. There are also -- during the U.S. Open, you can see people reacting instantly to whether Melanie Oudin can come back or not, which has certainly news implications. Are these positive, monetizable things, Nick?

LEMANN: Again, I'm not seeing -- I mean, we have a really big, natural experiment going on here because the barriers to entry are so low. And we have at least two people on the panel with me are out there taking part in it in an up-close and personal way, which is great and all applause to them.

There's a pretty clear finding, I hate to say, so far from this very large, very distributed, natural experiment, which is almost nobody is making money on online Web journalism.

So I'll return to where I began and say, you know, there's a very rich set of options available to a society if something is a public good and isn't supported by the market. And those would include, you know, a whole bunch of things that sit in the not-for-profit sector, a whole bunch of things that sit in the public sector, not limited to direct subsidy. And we should be exploring those as vigorously as some of my fellow panelists are exploring the other options.

HOCKENBERRY: Specifically, do you think the issue, sort of from the Hoover era to today, would be a fee charged to all Internet service providers, that would cover this kind of phenomenon and pay people who provide news and information, like the BBC sort of forces people for (videos ?)?

LEMANN: I like that idea. Some of my colleagues and I are working on a big kind of report on the future of journalism, which will be out about six weeks from now, five weeks from now. The lead author is Lynn Downey, ex-editor of The Washington Post. And his colleague is Michael Schudson, a scholar on our faculty.

They'll be proposing a number of specific solutions, one of which is a variant on that. So I think that's a promising avenue.

But just to go back to an earlier and as chance to do a shout-out, I mean, there's all sorts of people doing great stuff. I mean, you guys are doing great stuff. The fact that it's not all making money is a concern and something we should talk about, but let's not get off the idea that there's a tremendous amount of wonderful international reporting and domestic reporting being done right now.

And the decline story, because of all the big metro papers cutting back bureaus, is not the only story. Shout-out time -- one of our recent grads, sitting back in the audience, Basharat Peer, has just published a wonderful book on his native Kashmir and is signed up to write a second one. One of his classmates, who some of you may have read about, Kelly Niknejad, is putting out a wonderful blog called Tehran Bureau which Fareed Zakaria recently called indispensable.

You know, this is unbelievable stuff for people two years out of school. Kelly's, you know, doing this out of her parent's basement. So they're all going broke, but they're doing it. (Laughs.)

So another way to frame the problem is, if we look at the miraculous technological and production possibilities, they're so much better than what we had before. Let's think about, solve for that and find ways to pay for it, some of which may sit inside the market system, some of which may not.

HOCKENBERRY: But it's fair to say that the narrative that Nick is describing is consistent with what you were saying, Gordon, in that brands are being developed in parent's basements, and it's not really a basement where GlobalPost is, it's a fine office there in Boston, but as these brands develop, then the monetizable models get connected to them. And it's conceivable that some of these people later in their careers will be able to make a living wage.

CROVITZ: And I think, you know, the business side of journalism is, to some large degree, at fault. Which is to say, for years, have undervalued the journalism by not charging very much for a magazine, for a newspaper, for other forms. And that's only accelerated on the Web. And instead of communicating to people that there's no hope that the government's going to have to subsidize -- God help independent journalism if that ever happened -- instead, the message should be independent, authoritative, trustworthy journalism from around the world is valuable to people.

And they shouldn't feel like suckers if they end up contributing to their favorite sources. And I think that is a sharp shift, surprisingly, but one that, I think, is very much needed.

HOCKENBERRY: Another question -- Bill, and then here in the center.

QUESTIONER: Bill Blakemore, ABC News, a Murrow fellow in '84. A question for Charlie and Gordon, and really for all of us. It's called the worldwide Web, and English is something like the lingua franca of the planet at the moment. Increasingly, from scientists we hear this, of course.

And so that raises an interesting question about who the audience now is. Do you guys get any sense of you're beginning to build a global audience? Can you measure that? I mean, is that changing the way you work as editors and that your writers work as writers?

SENNOTT: Great question. So one of the things, you absolutely can monitor it. I mean, every day we can look on Google analytics and we can analyze exactly who's reading our stories and where they're reading them from. And another exciting aspect of the metrics for this very young GlobalPost is that we're being read in every country in the world except for two -- North Korea and, for some reason, Serbia. I have no idea why this is, but I've got a friend in Belgrade. I'm working on getting him online. (Laughter.)

HOCKENBERRY: Nobody told you, huh, Charlie?

SENNOTT: So we're really excited about sort of the reach you can have. But that said, we are very intentionally trying to write to an American audience that we think has really few options for international news. You know, Nick pointed out a truth which is really exciting. If you don't like The New York Times correspondent, you can go find The Guardian, or you can look at how Japan is covering this.

But for a country as large as we are with as many investments as we have in so many different ways overseas, we really have a pretty barren landscape for international news. It's really depressing. You know, I loved in London for five years. But you only have to be there one week on vacation and watch the BBC, and you come home seething with jealousy. And you ask, what the hell happened in America that we don't have that level of quality reporting on international stories every day of the week?

HOCKENBERRY: You're confusing two sets here, domains. One is the global audience where you don't really need to rely on the Americans, who would prefer to get their news at 6:30 every night on network television. You know, this American audience that is this huge beast, kind of like the consumers in China, who suddenly are going to awaken to international news and make all these business models work. You've got to know which one you're talking about. You can't confuse them.

SENNOTT: That is exactly right. But I think we are trying not to be confused on that front and say, we are very consciously trying to find foreign correspondents who really can write to an American audience and who can tell stories with an ear for the way an American audience would hear them. Because if we don't do that, we won't succeed.

HOCKENBERRY: Let me get to Chris. What is the pressure to take your American audience that tunes in to "60 Minutes" and find a global sort of follow on for that? Is that a difficult challenge for CBS? Is that something that they've given up on? Is that doable?

ISHAM: Well, it's a little bit out of my lane. But I think it's something that has been discussed. We have partnerships with Sky TV, for example, in which we package our material and provide it to them. And it does, it goes all over the world. I mean, we do have a global audience in that sense. It's not the CBS brand, however. So that, I think, is still a work in progress and something which we have been completely dependent on the Web.

We have a huge push on, as all the networks do and all mainstream news organizations do, to try to, you know, improve and upgrade and expand our presence on the Web.

HOCKENBERRY: Gordon, I want to hear your comment, but let me get another member question. You can feel free to refer to it.

We'll go here, here and then in the center. And I think that's probably all the time we'll have. Right there -- yes, please. Please stand.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Kira Kay. I run the Bureau for International Reporting which is a nonprofit. I was at ABC News for many years and decided to take the nontraditional route to fund what we're doing.

I did want to ask Chris as the network rep there, there are still the big three commercial networks. They still have airtime. They still have the audience. How do we get that time back for international news? Minute by minute, ratings -- for those of you who don't know -- bosses sitting there, seeing when their audience turns the dial, how do we get over that and bring this, as Mr. Lemann says, the public good back to the commercial airwaves?

ISHAM: That's a question for me? (Laughter.) Well, we're a business, by definition, and we're not a nonprofit, hopefully we will remain in business and we won't go into the nonprofit category. And that does have an influence on our programming. We want to produce programming that people will want to watch. And that is, you know, there is a constant tension within the newsroom -- and it's not just our newsroom, it's every newsroom -- between what we perhaps as journalists want to put on the air versus what our editors believe will sell, people will want to watch.

And it's an ongoing dialogue, there's an ongoing tension. I think the net effect of that actually is that we produce some excellent television along the way. Is it enough? Is there enough that would satisfy you? I doubt it. But we do produce a great deal of really outstanding programming.

HOCKENBERRY: A question right here -- yes.

QUESTIONER: Hi. I'm Evelyn Leopold. I'm freelancing now, U.N. based. Until recently, I was with Reuters in various parts of the world -- (inaudible) -- do the background, do the features and keep going. My question is, are you -- and I haven't read GlobalPost, I will do that immediately -- but are you forced to do foreign news when there's an American angle?

HOCKENBERRY: Gordon and then Charlie. There's an American angle drive for the coverage of international reporting and some of the brands that we've discussed.

CROVITZ: You know, I want to answer that question a little bit differently, which is to say that there are global brands that are read in the U.S. for international news that are not U.S. brands. The Guardian was mentioned, The Telegraph, both sides of the U.K., have got enormous online audiences, most of which are outside of the U.K., a lot of which are in the U.S.

And people are reading those brands, I think, for high definition on most foreign news and aren't reading The Guardian for coverage of -- (inaudible).

And they're reading those brands and The Economist and some other brands like that because they have a very distinctive point of view, a perspective that is not otherwise available. And there's no reason U.S. brands can't emulate that approach, as some U.S. brands, Newsweek in particular, are now trying to do to make their brands more distinctive, less like everybody else's reporting.

And I think that is part of this technological change. That in the old days, it was all right for a brand to not stand for all that much because it was serving a geographical audience or a mass audience. Brands, I think now, have to stand for much more and to become more different from one another.

HOCKENBERRY: But specifically to the question, does that mean jettisoning the American angle, as you project the information, so that it --

CROVITZ: This is a big -- I mean, one reason -- my own point of view -- I've spent about half my journalistic career outside the U.S. This is a big country. I mean, one reason we have to recall that people in the U.S. focus less on foreign news is this is a big country. The U.K. is a small country.

So I think it's understandable. But the world is now much more relevant to people here, no matter what the news is. I think it's really a question of the most familiar brands not yet having done as good a job as they'll have to do to make international news seem relevant and essential to Americans.

HOCKENBERRY: Okay, Charlie.

SENNOTT: I mean, the answer is no. We don't let the American angle drive the story. We have fantastic correspondents, you know, like, we have Mort Rosenblum in Paris, who wouldn't write a story from his boat there in Paris that only because it's an American angle. He'd tell us something about France that we think an American audience would be interested in.

But that said, you know, I was a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe. And one of the greatest things about being a foreign correspondent for a regional paper was you were constantly looking for this local story. You know, I once covered a guy who was feeding -- all the young Palestinians were throwing rocks at the Israeli soldiers. And I swore I heard a Boston accent in his Arabic. And he was a shwarma, you know, guy.

And I said, where are you from? And he said in perfect Boston accent, Somerville, where are you from? (Laughter.) And I said, oh, my God! So there you have this great local angle, that you can get people who are Boston Globe readers into understanding what he's saying to these young kids and why he moved from Somerville to the West Bank and the hope he had for peace and how it dissolved.

You know, the local angle is a great way to invite people in. But we don't want to be so driven by American interests that we don't open our eyes to the world.

HOCKENBERRY: A question right there. I think that's probably the last. Actually, behind you, sir. But if you already have the mike, go ahead. We'll cram two questions in. Go ahead.

QUESTIONER: I thought you had pointed to me. I'm Claude Erbsen, I'm retired AP vice president, and I was a foreign correspondent for many years.

When we were talking outside, Charlie, you said, the old model of a foreign correspondent with a salary, benefits, moving expenses and what have you and a reasonable living -- nobody ever got rich in journalism -- is finished.

SENNOTT: Some did, actually.

QUESTIONER: Pardon?

SENNOTT: Some have in recent years.

QUESTIONER: I would like to ask if the rest of the panel agrees that foreign correspondents are going to essentially have to become a monastic order and develop into a sort of an octopus approach of having to scramble around, working for this operation, for that operation, for the other? Or is there still a future for somebody who gets sent out by somebody who pays them a living wage and expects a certain level of coverage, whether it's six stories a day, my days at the AP, or whether you can sit back for three, four days and write a lengthier piece? Is there a future for the old approach, or is it definitely monastic octopus lines?

SENNOTT: God forbid we become monastic. But the high church of the idea that a newspaper like The Globe or The Chicago Tribune or, increasingly, the networks are going to give you that package that some of us were really lucky to have -- I feel really fortunate to have been able to do foreign reporting that way -- but the economics will not sustain that now, unless it's AP, Washington Post or New York Times.

But that said, what I call the Ancien Regime of profligate waste -- I mean, you have to see a network cover John Paul II's funeral to see. I mean, it is absurd what they are spending on some of this coverage when they neglect to cover huge parts of the world. And that was an important funeral. He was important historic figure. And it deserved great treatment, and it was beautifully covered. But the networks, I just watched them because I was there, and I couldn't believe the waste.

And I think there is a new era that's going to be more stealth. It's going to be different, and we're going to have to find that right balance.

HOCKENBERRY: A final question right here in the back. Sorry, sir, I've overlooked you twice. A member question -- you're it, you go. Yes.

QUESTIONER: My name is Abdou Simones (ph), I'm a former fellow. My latest piece of work is a book that will be out at the end of this month on Islamic fundamentalism rising in Southeast Asia. And there will be a piece in Foreign Affairs as well.

HOCKENBERRY: One more, and it's a plug. It's an actual plug. (Laughter.)

QUESTIONER: It is a plug, but it's for myself. I'll start with a quick little anecdote about my former boss at The Washington Post, Kay Graham, who was making a grand tour of Post bureaus and had met at her hotel suite with a young woman who, at that time, was a correspondent, a stringer in Hong Kong. And Mrs. Graham said to her, surely, my dear, you don't live on what we pay you.

And this brings me to the GlobalPost, I'm afraid, and the notion that either you've got a rich aunt somewhere or that you are burning the fire at 23 and ready to risk your life for anything. This goes on. I mean, I started my career in Vietnam and with people who turned out the gutsiest, craziest photographs and news stories were the freelancers who were willing to risk their lives because they were young and hungry.

But the assumption that you can build a solid reporting base from overseas of young kids and mid-career people who are out of work and trying to cobble together a few strings or semi-retired or fully retired people who are anxious to keep a finger in the game, I think, is a nonstarter.

Yet I know from Nick Lemann --

HOCKENBERRY: Question, question.

QUESTIONER: I'm sorry. I'm going to ask my question right now.

I know from Nick Lemann that they have no problems getting top-class students at Columbia. And I'd like to know from Nick or anybody else who wants to toss it in, what is it that attracts young people into journalism today and into foreign correspondency, in particular?

LEMANN: Well, try to tie all these strings together. So there's a lot of journalists in the audience, right? Among the journalists in the audience, raise your hand if your mom begged you to go into journalism because it was a nice, secure living. (Laughter.)

So what I'm saying is people go into it out of love. People go to our school or to NYU out of love. They are entranced by the ability to perform the function. And our students are particularly entranced these days by the lure of being a foreign correspondent. Our student body gets more international every year. And you know, our frustration, there is either a true or urban legend. It's that -- excuse my language -- that the students one year had a T-shirt printed up that said "Fuck Topeka." This is in response to the advice from me and the Career Services Office that you have to go to a small town and make your bones as a journalist. (Laughter.)

HOCKENBERRY: Anyone from Topeka here?

LEMANN: So there's an enormous interest in being a journalist. All this talk about the crisis in journalism, I think, drives interest in young people, because they figure, and they may not be wrong, that we're in a moment when everything has been thrown up in the air. And by the time they're 35, it will have fallen down somewhere, and it won't be quite as chaotic as today.

Going back to Claude's question for a minute. It's pretty clear to me what the landscape may look like, and that is there will be a global, small group of global news brands that will maintain, you know, foreign-reporting staffs. Those staffs will be kind of lighter on the ground, the old days of, you know, the ABC bureau with the chef and the chauffeur for the bureau chief in Paris.

ISHAM: Those days are gone. (Laughter.)

(Cross talk.)

HOCKENBERRY: The chef has to do a report now. The chef has to file.

LEMANN: But they'll have reporters. So that's one category. And there will be however many, 10 players in the world, or something like that. Then there will be a bunch of more specialty brands that do, you know, more like newsletter publishing, very specific business journalism, but subcategories of business journalism.

And then, you know, yes, there will be this big world. But Lou (sp), that's how the book industry works, for example. You know, I remember when I was young, I had that exact same conversation with Mrs. Graham, who I then worked for as a full-time employee, by the way. And then I signed my first book contract, and I had the same conversation with the book publisher.

So you know, a lot of these businesses don't work in any rational way. So I think that you'll see this giant, shaggy, unorganized world of freelancers and super stringers and book writers who sort of piece it together and find ways to do foreign correspondence. Then the specialty tranche. Then this sort of mainstream media tranche.

HOCKENBERRY: Some final thoughts. Chris -- we'll just go down the panel.

ISHAM: Well, I just want to say one thing. I want to echo what Nick has said. I'm consistently impressed with the quality of young people coming into the business. And they really are stunning.

And it's also very right that a lot of them are coming out of journalism schools and much more international in flavor and very, very strong. And my chief foreign affairs correspondent, by the way, to the questioner in the back, is Lara Logan, who works, she's fearless and is a tireless correspondent. And I do not see her heading for the monastery any time soon.

HOCKENBERRY: Gordon.

CROVITZ: I want to balance my otherwise optimistic point of view in one regard, which is that the one thing we do have to keep in mind -- to Claude, your question -- foreign correspondents especially require strong institutional backing from time to time. Many of us have had experiences of foreign correspondents having, you know, one difficulty or another around the world, in countries that don't appreciate their presence or their reporting.

If there are 10 such institutions left -- Nick, to your estimate -- that would be great. If it turns out there are many fewer than that, then I would be much more concerned.

And for the GlobalPosts of the world, of which I hope there are many, that institutional power to support journalism in countries around the world, that we can't lose sight of, and that's not something the government support can handle, that's not something that a nonprofit status, I don't think, can handle. It requires a robust business where the business is protecting the reputation of the brand and the journalist to defend people in those circumstances.

SENNOTT: So you know, I think, basically, freelance is a great tradition. I mean, Michael Kelly was a freelancer for The Boston Globe. Samantha Power was a freelancer. Some of the really great journalists have worked on that model of getting out there on a huge story and cobbling it together and telling the story. Not all of the correspondents out there were lucky enough to have benefited from the full package.

There is middle ground here, and that's what we're looking for. And we're going to be looking for those correspondents who live in the places about which they write, who really want to tell the great stories. But we're also going to have to be creative about our business model. We're going to have to think about partnerships.

We just did a great partnership with Public Radio International, GlobalPost and, sort of in a tertiary way, the NewsHour where we did a fantastic group of reports -- video, audio, photography and print -- called "Life, Death and the Taliban." And I urge you to go on globalpost.com and look at that project.

And I really want to invite you to go to the site because, you know, I am from Boston. And Tip O'Neill did say, if you don't ask people to vote for you, you'll never win an election. (Laughter.) And I want to really ask you to go to GlobalPost and check it out and look for Passport and look to become a member of what we're trying to do. Because if we get membership, if we get institutional support, we're going to have full-time positions, and we're going to be a success. And that's our great goal. So I really invite you to check it out. And please, stay in touch with me, let me know what you think.

HOCKENBERRY: All right. I'd like to thank the panel. Please give them a round of applause. (Applause.)

A discussion of old regimes, new regimes, new and old partnerships -- perhaps if we're discussing the future of journalism a year or two from now, it won't --

(END OF AVAILABLE AUDIO.)


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

KEN AULETTA: Hi, my name is Ken Auletta and I'm going to be moderating this discussion. Probably the only people less -- more popular than members of Congress -- (laughter) -- are the five of us up here, because we're members of the press.

We're here today to talk about foreign policy and meeting industry challenges, which is, really I'm going to focus much more on talking about how the networks -- the four networks represented here treat foreign policy, and what some of the future challenges are in the television world.

I'm not going to give you a long introduction, just by name: David Westin, president of ABC News; Sean McManus, the president of CBS News; Steve Capus, the president of NBC News; and Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/USA.

A word about format: We're going to have a conversation here for 30 or 40 minutes, then we're going to go out to the audience for questions from members. This is on the website of the Council. It's on the record. And please, if you would, turn off your cell phones or any electronic device.

At Walter Cronkite's service yesterday former President Clinton made a statement. He said, "I once went sailing with Walter Cronkite, and he said to me, 'I learned -- one of the things I learned in television news business is that you can't just be a well-educated citizen by watching television news. You have to read newspapers.'"

Do you agree with that?

MR. : Sure. (Laughter.) Sure. Absolutely.

AULETTA: And more than just newspapers. I mean, there's so much more that can keep you up to speed and well-educated.

MR. : I don't think television news ever set out to be the only source of people's information.

AULETTA: What if it were?

MR. : Well -- (laughter) --

(Cross talk.)

MR. : I mean, I think (what ?) would happen, television news would have to change if it played that role, necessarily, and people would have a different set of information, and more limited.

MR. : And there's not enough hours in the day to learn what you can learn from newspapers and magazines, to watch that much television to figure out what's going on in the world.

I think, you know, one of the things we're facing is a lot of our kids probably will never read newspapers, which does not mean they'll be less informed. They'll get their information from different sources. But, I think reading and getting the perspective you get from some kind of print source is absolutely vital. And I think, as good a job as we do in producing news coverage, we can't duplicate what the written word can often do -- often give you. I think it's very --

AULETTA: Jon, but you've got 24 hours on CNN. Do you have a slightly different answer?

JONATHAN KLEIN: No, because people don't sit and watch for 24 hours straight. So, you're still getting people for brief moments in time and hoping to keep them longer and pull them through.

The interesting thing is that the 24 hours does give you time to challenge some of the preconceived notions about what works and what doesn't in television news. It's one thing to be putting on a 22-minute broadcast.

That does require a different way of thinking than, say, you know what, can we attract viewers with Fareed Zakaria interviewing global thought leaders for an hour every Sunday? And the answer turns out to be yes, right. He usually wins his time period that way. That's not something that these guys could, or would do on their networks, it's just a different business, really.

AULETTA: Steve, let me start with you, with the next question, which is that if you go back to 9/11, after 9/11 the American people said, how come we didn't know more about Islam and al Qaeda? And then there was a tremendous growth of international news coverage in all media. And then it seems to have slipped.

And let me cite -- the previous panel talked about statistics on international news coverage, and actually the Pew Center Project for Excellence in Journalism, has come up with some. And they said that in 2007 NBC News, the nightly newscast, 19.8 percent of their coverage that year was international news; this year, so far, it's down to 13 percent. They said that CBS was 10.4 percent in '07; this year, so far, 13.7 percent. ABC News was 19.6 percent, they said; and now it's down to 12.9. CNN was 26.2 percent; and now it's down to 14.8 percent.

So, why?

STEPHEN A. CAPUS: I think you can look at statistics and you can come up with it any number of different ways. You know, I tend to look at the quality of the journalism. And I think there is some great work being done by all of the organizations right now that, in my -- what I would hope to see is that we celebrate some of the fine work that's being done. People are putting their lives at risk covering international news these days, and doing a great job.

You know, we haven't had a panel like this before in the time that I've had this job, but we talk to -- we tend to talk to each other when something awful has happen to somebody who works for us, and that has primarily been in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. But, you know, I think there's some great work being done there. "By the numbers" is not necessarily the way I view it. You know, I look at reporting that comes out of Washington that may not get classified as international.

And I think you also have to consider that, as Jon was saying, you've got -- if you're doing a nightly newscast, you've got to look at what's happened in the world. You've got a precious amount of time -- small amount of time that you're trying to put an awful lot of information and context to the events that have happened in a single day. And whether that's happening domestically or internationally, it's a tall order to try to figure out how to get it all in.

AULETTA: And probably Iraq has something to do with that -- (inaudible) --

MR. : Falling off the radar?

MR. : Yeah. But if you go back through history, this has always been the case. I mean, if you go back to the 1920s, there wasn't nearly as much foreign coverage in The New York Times. And then it went up with World War II; and it went back down in the '50s; and then it went back up with the war in Vietnam.

This has always been the case. This is not a new phenomenon. And I don't know what the right number is, by the way -- I don't know whether 14 is too little, too much; I don't know whether it's 50 percent. I'm not sure you can program news according to a quota.

MR. : Yeah, and I think the point also is -- that Steve made, is that it's the quality, not the quantity, of what you're doing. And I think, on a given day -- and Steve made the point very well, with 22 minutes, you've got to make a subjective decision on what is the most important news story to lead with, and what are the most important stories to do later in the broadcast.

And, you know, if I look at some of the work that Richard Engel did this past week; Lara Logan is embedded right now with some troops on Afghanistan; or Martha Raddatz in Iraq; or what Anderson's done this week -- I think for anybody to say that the networks and the cable networks are not committed to international news, and are not doing a good job of covering the news, I think is really, is ludicrous I think.

And I go back to 2006, when the war broke out in the summertime, when we were all planning on having nice summer vacations, and all of a sudden, in 26 hours we had nine correspondents in the Middle East -- and I'm sure these guys had the same amount. You know, the response, when something is important to cover, I think, is remarkable.

And I think, with a limited amount of time at the networks, I think we do a pretty darn good job in doing that. And I think if -- in the editorial decisions, if we thought that more international news was needed on a certain day, you'll do -- you'll do three or four stories on -- (inaudible) --

AULETTA: Let me pick up on that point, if I can, Sean. Let's assume that the dirty little secret is that the public really is not as interested in international news as they are domestic and other news -- which I don't expect any of you to admit that, but it happens to be the truth. (Laughs.)

But, having said that, do you feel any obligation, as news presidents, to, at some time, say to your viewers, eat your spinach and watch this story?

MR. : Yeah.

MR. : Of course.

MR. : Absolutely. Every day.

MR. : We all do it every night.

MR. : Every single day.

AULETTA: And do you do it every day? What are examples of that?

MR. : You know, I think all of us have done series -- you know, last night the president of the United States asked for an hour of air time, in prime time setting, full Congress meeting, to talk about the ABCs of health care and make his case. All of us have been doing a tremendous amount of reporting of what's really behind all of this -- where are the priorities; what does this mean; what is this definition; what is the implication of a move like this?

And I do think that there is an obligation, that goes along with running a news division, to make sure that we are putting context and real information out there on a daily, nightly basis. There's no question that that's part of our job.

MR. : All of us run businesses too that exist in multiple dimensions -- on-line, on mobile devices, and those audiences actually tell you more about the state of mind of the audience. And, for us, international news is the number four category, so it's right behind crime and entertainment. (Laughter.) But, it's ahead of a lot of other categories that you, you know, would think might be much.

So, it actually tells you that there is a big appetite out there, the more niche oriented you get. These guys have to exist in a more generalized environment, at least on television. For us, in a news niche on cable, we can deliver more. I think we're expected to deliver more.

And our audience, I think, probably regards it as, you know, not so much "spinach" as just a part of a -- you know, the well-balanced diet that they're looking forward to every day. And you run the risk of under-delivering if you don't really offer a lot of it.

AULETTA: You want to talk about spinach, or should I --

MR. : I mean, I don't think of it as spinach, but, I mean, I regard our job as reporting as much of the truth as we can find about things that matter to people. And some of those things are things that people just care about. And I don't think it's my job to judge that they shouldn't care -- (inaudible) --

But things that matter to people are also things that they don't know they should care about. And it has to be a balance of the two. I mean, we all took the president's address last night. We didn't do that because we thought it would have the highest ratings -- we'd make money off of it.

The health care -- I agree with the health-care reform issue, I have no information at all that the American people is craving a lot more coverage about Congressional back-and-forth on health care.

Iraq, I think people have been off the Iraq story since about two or three months into the war, basically, and yet we've all committed amazing resources -- not just in terms of people and money, but, as Steve said, danger to our people over there -- consistently throughout that. And that's because that's an important story; we have troops there; it's important to the country, and we cover it.

So, we all make these decisions every single day.

AULETTA: Sean, let me ask another question, and start with you, if I could.

Technology has made tremendous changes in the news business, in the news gathering business, particularly for television. One of the complaints that people raise about the networks is the reduced number of bureaus overseas. And yet those bureaus have been replaced by, in many cases, one-person offices as -- (inaudible) -- Could you tell us why that works and why it's not a diminishment of international reporting?

SEAN MCMANUS: Well, I think it works because there is a different way to gather news now, which you just mentioned. You know, we also have to take a step back and realize that, whether we like it or not, we are part of corporations and we do have some financial responsibility to our corporations.

Having said that, many of the decisions -- and David just mentioned the one about carrying speech last night, many, if not most, of the decisions we make are not based on the financial realities. They're based on what we think a news division has to do.

And the fact of the matter is -- with technology, with travel, and with the cameras that the smaller reporters have, there are ways to cover the news with less people. You don't need a, you know, a camera crew with, you know, camera, lighting, an associate producer and a writer.

And some of the kids that now are coming out of college, who like to be -- like to be referred to as "video journalists," I mean, really are qualified to go into a situation, like the riots in Iran a few months ago, and report some of the best stories, in the best background, that you can ever see on television.

So, I think the way that we're all trained now to cover news, especially -- and it's not just the, I don't want to just generalize and say "the young kids," because there are some correspondents we have who are older, who are passionate about trying to redo the way they cover the news.

I think it's just a different format. And it's necessity. I mean, it's -- in order to cover as many stories as we want to cover, you can't do it the way you used to, with the infrastructure that used to be in place, you've got to do it more efficiently. And I think we're doing that.

And I think, again, if you look at most of the stories that we've tried to cover in depth, I don't think the quality of the coverage is less than it was when Walter Cronkite was doing it in a very different way.

And I'm a -- I sound like cheerleader for what we're all doing, but I think -- I just would like examples of stories that we haven't done as good a job on as we should have. And I'm happy to debate that, but I'm pretty proud of the job that we've all done, those of us sitting up here.

AULETTA: Steve --

CAPUS: Ken, I think there's a couple things: We've all faced the economic pressures and the realities of what's gone on in our industry. Where I think most of us have decided to invest is in actual coverage, and things that are going to be either written about on-line, show up on our broadcasts, show up on cable.

The infrastructures, as Sean mentions, have been reduced. There's no question about it. The NBC London Bureau is now housed within ITN headquarters in central London. It's not a stand-alone facility. I would much rather write a check to someone who is out covering stories for NBC News, than to a landlord of a building where we have -- in a tremendous amount of square footage.

And it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense these days, when there is set amount of resources and you've got to be smart about what you're investing in. And that's what we're trying to invest in now. Yes, it's smaller, the gear is smaller.

The ability to go to places is actually enabled by decisions like that. Ann Curry has been able to go into Africa six times in the last -- in recent years, simply because there isn't an entourage that has to go in and do it. And I think, as a result, we've been able to put the spotlight on parts of the world that have not been covered as extensively in the past.

MR. : Look at the picture next to you -- all that new-fangled technology that we're using to cover. You know, the business has always embraced the latest, greatest stuff to allow more people to penetrate more deeply in.

Cinema verite documentary making was enabled by the technological advance of making film cameras lighter. So, suddenly you didn't have to just stand outside on a tripod, you could actually pick the thing up and get in there. So, this is just taking (that to them ?).

AULETTA: David, last year ABC had 17 offices overseas --

DAVID WESTIN: How do you count offices? You mean with -- including stringers, and things?

AULETTA: Yeah. I'm counting offices -- (inaudible) --

(Cross talk.)

AULETTA: -- 17 countries.

WESTIN: We have a lot more than 17.

AULETTA: -- 17 countries.

WESTIN: No, we have a lot more than 17, if you count the stringers.

AULETTA: Those are the figures that you -- your office has supplied.

WESTIN: Well, it's a problem with my office. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: They're overseas working on a story. (Laughter.)

But, let me -- forget the number. Can a one-person office, can that person, if he or she calls the producer in New York, can they get stories on the air with the same clout and leverage that --

WESTIN: Well, they can get stories on the air. The same "clout and leverage," I mean, anyone who's worked in a news division would know there's a variety of clout and leverage. Let's be practical about that --

AULETTA: How loud you scream -- (inaudible) --

WESTIN: Well, you know, anchors have a tendency to have a little bit more clout and leverage than correspondents, you know, and --

MR. : I've not noticed that, actually. (Laughter.)

WESTIN: (Steve ?) is much more egalitarian than -- (inaudible) --

(Cross talk)

MR. : -- (inaudible) -- have that experience.

WESTIN: But, the point is, the more important point is we, a couple years ago, sent out these digital reporters -- which we have in a variety of locations around the world, who operate largely by themselves, often in a BBC facility or a AP facility. And we did it, frankly, to support our digital operations, our on-line operations and our streaming broad-band operation, and to have somebody there in case something happened in the area, to get us on the air for the first 24 hours until we get a full team in.

And that's worked beautifully. The thing we did not -- I did not anticipate was the number of times when the people, because they were living there and really familiar with what was going on in the place, would call up and say, "there is a very big story here," that would make it on the air, that otherwise never would have made it on the air, because we just (weren't planning to. ?)

And, frankly, to go back to your question, Ken, I think one of the things that happened within television news -- I'll talk for us, not CNN so much, because I'm not sure about the cable, but for the broadcast people, is, as the money was coming in, the cost structure built up. And that included, let's be honest, the compensation paid to correspondents and producers.

As those people got more and more expensive, it was more difficult to send them for a week, or two weeks, out to cover a story. Often we'd be parachuting them in, and they'd do the standup, but they were there for 24 hours. They were not reporting the way it used to happen. And that was a -- that was a cost issue. No question about it.

Having somebody there, that can live there in that environment, and really know what's going on, and call back in and say there's a story, has allowed those people to get on the air much more than I ever anticipated.

AULETTA: You know, another angle on the technology thing, when we watched what happened in Iran, and people in Iran Twittering, and Facebook, et cetera, and one of the -- how do you, how does this -- it obviously gives you lots more information, and particularly in a closed society; on the other hand, how do you verify it's accurate? So, what are the coming challenges you face, Jon?

KLEIN: It takes a lot of effort, often a lot of money, a lot of manpower to verify all of the stuff that comes from the fact that, basically -- we now have a bureau that is six billion strong. That's everybody in the world can contribute news to CNN, or any of these guys. But, you do have to run it down.

We created, in the specific case of Iran, the "Iran Desk." We have a number of Farsi speakers who work at CNN anyway, not -- we didn't build it up in, you know, in anticipation of this, they just happened to work there, including our head of international news gathering. And they worked literally around the clock, staffed -- eight people per shift, comparing notes on what we were hearing over the transom; making phone calls, often under dangerous circumstances; checking with exiled communities, who they were in touch with anyway.

And often, you know, temptation was there -- you'd hear some dramatic piece of information -- "they're killing somebody on the bridge," and "quick, we have to get a" -- and you had to resist that until you could run it down and verify. And some of the stuff turned out to be true and some did not. But, it was a massive effort.

MR. : Ken, we opened a bureau in Tehran a couple years ago. We've got a full-time producer/correspondent, who happened to have been detained during the demonstrations; was beaten --

AULETTA: Is he still incarcerated?

MR. : No, no, he is out, and has just gone back in. He came out of Iran for awhile and he's gone back in -- Ali Aruzi (sp), who did some great work during this time, and I think is an incredibly talented reporter with a very bright future, operating in incredibly difficult circumstances in a very dangerous place.

But, that's a bureau that was opened in recent years. And we've -- you know, we've opened in places like Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and other places now where there were bureaus, where there were not before. They're not enormous facilities. They may have a handful of people, but there's a presence there.

And I think that that sort of investment is what people -- what we have, and will continue to do.

MCMANUS: I think if you look at our Paris bureau, which used to be one of the better assignments in CBS News -- (laughter) -- before my time, unfortunately, but I think, in our height, the Paris bureau probably had 16 or 17 people in it full-time. And you ask yourself, if I had 16 or 17 very qualified journalists, would I have them sitting in Paris, or would I maybe take three of them and put them in Tehran, and three of them, put them in Pakistan?

I think any intelligent operator would say that's not a good way to run a business. And I think if -- you know, I like to look at some of the mistakes that, you know, the car companies have made, and I look at, you know, the news business. And what happened is that the automobile industry changed dramatically, and the U.S. companies probably weren't fast enough in adjusting.

But, we're adjusting every day. And I think if the news build doesn't figure out, and continue to figure out new ways to do business, we're going to be like the automobile industry, except the government will not bail us out. We'll go out of business. And we can't afford to do that.

And I think -- I would like to spend 95 percent of my time worrying about editorial decisions, and figuring out better ways of structuring our broadcasts. However, I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out, taking the budget that we have and spending it in the most intelligent way, and -- as Steve said, putting the money that you have on the air, and not in offices.

And I think the more money you spend on people, or technology or elements that directly get on television at 6:30, that's --

AULETTA: Let me ask you -- let me pick up on that point. So, if Katie Couric came to you tomorrow -- and the same question could be -- (inaudible) -- for all you other folks, and said, "You know, I'm making roughly $15 million a year and I want to give back $4 million of that" -- I'm not getting to you, Brian (sp) (laughter), I know you make less (laughter) -- "but, I want to, I want to give back $4 million of that, on condition that you apply it to news coverage." Would you make -- could you make that deal?

MCMANUS: (Laughs.) I would find it difficult to say no to that.

AULETTA (?): "McManus calls on Couric." (Laughter.)

MCMANUS: Of course, I would. I mean, if -- you know, if a group of employees got together and said, "Cumulatively, we're making a million dollars a year. We think we aren't -- not doing a good enough job covering the news, we'll give you back $100,000," of course I would say yes to it.

But, I don't think -- I mean, that's not the issue we're dealing with. I think we're dealing with, as I said, the declining audience, which is a -- you know better than I do, is a fact of life on all network television, not just news, and we're in an environment where we're trying to spend the money most efficiently. And I don't expect to get any money back from people who are committed to get it, but I do expect to spend a lot more time trying to figure out a better way to cover the news, if we can.

MR. : He should maybe put it into marketing her show instead. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: No, no, but she made a condition -- it has to go into news gathering. I haven't asked whether Les Moonves would agree to that.

But, let me just move on to --

MCMANUS: I can speak for Leslie and say, yes. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: But, you know, you picked up on --

MCMANUS (?): This can only be trouble. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: Say that again?

MCMANUS (?): I said this can only lead to trouble. (Laughter.) Now, let's talk about --

AULETTA: Don't let me stop you. It's okay.

(Cross talk.)

AULETTA: You what?

WESTIN: I had an anchor offer something close to that.

AULETTA: And?

WESTIN: This anchor is no longer with us. Was not making $15 million, but not far off of it. Actually, my recollection of the proposal was a matching plan, where for every dollar this person gave up -- I'm trying not to reveal gender, the company would match with a dollar. And I said, no.

AULETTA: Because?

WESTIN: Because my job is figuring out what resources we need, and allocating it correctly. And if I'm not doing that job, they should get a new Westin.

But, if I believed that a million dollars, or $4 million into news coverage would genuinely improve ABC News, then should be fighting for that anyway -- I should get that anyway. And if I don't, then I shouldn't be giving it up to an anchor to decide how we should be allocating our money. And so I said, thanks very much, I appreciate it, but no.

MR. : But, what it does speak to, Ken, is within all of our organizations are people who feel passionate about journalism, and about our industry, and about where it's headed. And we've all had conversations with people who have said, listen, if I can do something that helps keep people employed, if I can do things that help keep the quality of coverage high, sign me up.

And people have those conversations. They're below-the-radar conversations, but they go on every day because people are passionate about what they do.

MR. : Yeah, and --

MR. : I'm sorry, go ahead.

MR. : Well, the truth about all journalists, I think, is that journalism is an obsession. It's not a profession. Most of the people in this business would do it for a hell of a lot less money.

The money has sprung up around us, it's turned out to be a good business in many cases, but most of the -- most of the people I can think of, some in this room, and some elsewhere, would do it for the love of it. And, yes, they have to put food on the table, but they're not doing it in order to make $15 million a year.

MR. : Look at the people -- just one other point, look at the people who go overseas into these war zones for us. Every single one of them is a volunteer for those assignments.

MR. : Not for the money, and not thinking it's going to land them their own show in prime time.

MR. : And if they think that's why -- if we think that's why they're doing it, chances are we're going to say, don't go, because that's the wrong reason to sign up for an assignment like that.

AULETTA: You've all touched on the issue of a future, and shrinking audiences, and how you cope with that world. When you look at what technology allows, I can get my information any time I want, on my schedule rather than on yours. And your audience (is ?) necessarily shrinking, as are newspapers and many magazines, et cetera.

So, what do you have to do? What is the new -- what are the new things you have to do to keep your networks relevant, and maybe even increase your audience or shore it up?

MR. : Well, unfortunately, I don't think there are any tricks. I think it all comes down to the content. And I think people are going to judge whether it's worth devoting a half an hour of their time to watching a evening news broadcast, or a "60 Minutes," or a "20/20," or a "Dateline," or all the broadcasts we put on the air.

I don't know of a -- if I knew of secret, if we did, I think we would be employing it now. And it's not fancy on-air promotion, because that can drive some viewers, on a temporary basis, and then they'll make their decision on a -- you know, permanently, whether they're going to stay or not.

But, it's the quality of what you're putting on the air. I think, you know, we sit down and we look at the numbers for all of our broadcasts, and say, what can we do to improve them? And you come up with, you know, a nice promotional campaign; and you come up with some marketing ideas; or you change the pieces around. In the end, it's the quality of what you do.

And I really believe that's, in the end -- especially news viewers, the decisions that they make are based on what they think of the quality of your content.

MR. : Look at the success --

MR. : Otherwise, why would they --

AULETTA: -- "60 Minutes" is --

MR. : -- why would they be watching? I mean, it's -- they're not watching it because, you know, someone is, you know, better looking, or not as good looking at someone else. They're watching because they think they're getting informed. And eventually they will go to place where they believe they're getting the best information, I think. I mean, if not, then I don't think any of us should probably be in our jobs.

AULETTA: "60 Minutes" has had some of its most successful seasons ever in the last couple of years.

MCMANUS: Yeah, with stories on credit default swaps. Two of our highest rated -- (inaudible) --

AULETTA: Yeah, international stories.

MCMANUS: -- credit default swaps. And I think that's a, you know, really good example of, if you stick to your knitting and decide what your broadcast is going to be, and you don't sacrifice the quality or your standards at all, and you resist temptations -- which Jeff Fagar does. Every week he probably has opportunities to put on a story that, short-term, might spike his numbers. And he just doesn't do it because, over time, all you have is your reputation, and that's based on the quality of your content.

CAPUS: You asked the -- you used the key word here, which is "relevance." I mean, if we become irrelevant to the audience, then shame on us, and we'll never get that back.

And so Sean's absolutely right, you can do some things that might get you a short burst, or a short pop, but, in the long-run we have to stay relevant to the audience. And that means place your reporting in the places where it can be consumed by as many people as possible. If that means it's MSNBC.com on-line, great. If that means it's on MSNBC on cable, fine. If that's on "Today," "Nightly," "Meet the Press," "Dateline," great.

AULETTA: What if the --

CAPUS: Our best scenario is having it on all of those places, (by the way ?).

AULETTA: But, what if it means that appointment television -- 6:30 at night, when many people are not even home from work yet, including women who work, who were more devoted watchers 20 years ago -- what if it means that that kind of appointment television is a relic, and, therefore, the notion of an evening newscast is a relic. Can you imagine that happening one day?

MR. : Someone wrote a book predicting that, I think.

AULETTA: Really? (Laughter.) I'm getting old. I forget (these things ?).

WESTIN: I came to Capital City's ABC in February of 1991 when the Gulf War was on. And I remember the first day I was in the office, we were talking about the death of the evening news.

Now, that that was over 18 years ago. It's alive and kicking, and getting -- reaching millions and millions of people. So, my experience, at least, is that people have overpredicted the death of the evening news for a long time now.

Now, you had an -- (inaudible) -- in what you said, which is, if appointment television is no longer the case, or a relic, doesn't that mean that evening news will die? Those two things are not necessarily tied up together. I mean, there could be --

AULETTA: No, no --

WESTIN: -- reporting on the evening news, that's brought together, that's made available on dot-com, and on streaming video, and broad-band, and things that people do want, and need and value, that will keep the evening news alive for a very long time to come, even if they don't have the time to tune in at 6:30 at night. So, the two are not necessarily tied.

AULETTA: No, no, but I'm actually asking -- I actually, I could -- could you imagine a time when you no longer have that 6:30 slot, you've given it back to someone else, but you still have -- you're producing news on all these different platforms?

WESTIN: I could imagine anything. I could imagine playing in the U.S. Open, but -- (laughter) -- I don't think it's probably going to -- (inaudible) --

MR. : No, I've watched you play tennis -- (inaudible) -- (Laughter.)

WESTIN: Exactly. Well, if I could -- that's my point. I could still imagine that have seen me play tennis.

MCMANUS: The other thing, I think, Ken, you have to remember, is that we don't do newscasts at 6:30 to make a lot of money for the network. And, fortunately, the people who are now running the companies, that decide what we do, believe that there is -- part of the obligation of having a network is supplying a full-service news organization.

And I think -- I know my boss doesn't believe that the CBS television network would be what it is without a strong and vibrant CBS News. And he could cancel the evening news tomorrow and make probably a lot more money for our corporation. And I guess you could say, well, that's good for the stockholders and the investors. He doesn't make decision based on that.

And it's hard for me to imagine that there is going to be someone who's going to run one of our parent companies, who's going to say, "You know something, CBS News is not important, we don't need to do that." Because it's part of an obligation. It's part of what -- you know, with all due respect to, you know, USA Network and Lifetime, it's one of the things that makes a network different and important. And I think that's going to continue for a long time.

And you talk about the ratings. Listen, the ratings have been going down steadily for a long time, but there are still about 25 million people a night that watch one of our three broadcasts. And, despite all the great work that Jonathan does -- and you do some of the best work on television, I mean, the cable audience, compared to what we generate at 6:30, is minuscule. And I think that's something to remember.

I mean, there are a lot of people -- and yes, they're older, and yes they are declining, in terms of numbers, but an awful lot of people rely on us as a very important, if not the primary, source of news. And I think that's an obligation of the network, and I think it's an obligation of a news division also.

KLEIN (?): The interesting thing is that they -- the broadcast networks attract, (in aggregate ?) that 20 million some-odd number. We attract, on the big events, more viewers now than we've ever generated. Such that, on some of those big nights, we're beating the broadcast networks on coverage like election night, and the primary coverage, and things like that. It's an interesting phenomenon that takes place.

And it may have something to do with, in this very fragmented media environment, being able, as a cable network, to be in touch with viewers all the time, right -- just constantly letting them be aware, hey, if there's a speech, if there's a primary, if there's a Michael Jackson funeral coverage, Ted Kennedy funeral -- you know, you're just able to be in touch more often.

But, I think the public may place too much emphasis on the evening newscasts as a barometer of the health, or importance, or vitality of the broadcast network news organizations. They each have programs. I mean, look at -- "Nightline" came out of nowhere to revive itself with, you know, programming that is watchable, and fun and interesting every single night, and nobody thought that that would happen. The "Today Show" sets the agenda every morning in those first 20-25 minutes.

So, they have a lot of tricks up their sleeve, beyond the evening newscast.

WESTIN: And that leads to a point that I think, at least, is important, because, listening to us, it sounds like we're a bit defensive of the status quo.

AULETTA: Really? (Laughter.)

(Cross talk)

AULETTA: Sorry, I couldn't resist.

WESTIN: You couldn't resist that.

I think everything that's been said is absolutely true, but I think there is another point. I think there is one fundamental change that we are only beginning to come to terms with, and we have not -- I'll speak for ABC News, I won't speak for my colleagues who have not come to terms with -- (inaudible) -- we need to provide people with information that's valuable to them, and that's relevant to them. We also, in this new world, have to provide them with information they're not getting anywhere else. It has to be distinctive.

That didn't used to be the case. When there were -- in the "good old days," when we weren't there, when there were three broadcast networks, you know, you could basically do the same news everybody else was doing, and they'd tune in because they really trusted Walter Cronkite, or they loved Huntley-Brinkley, or whatever. Those days, I think, are gone, and I'm not sure we've caught up with that yet.

And, actually, it goes back to some of the international coverage we were talking about earlier, because often some of the most distinctive, unusual, different coverage that you can to happens to come from overseas stories. At least that's been our experience.

Now, it could also be a Brian Ross investigation, or something like that, but those sort of really exclusive reports, where you own it, on enterprise journalism, I think become much, much more valuable, because it gives people a reason to tune in. Because if it's just information that's accurate, and reliable, and relevant and valuable, they can get that from a lot of different sources now.

CAPUS: But, every time we've taken these steps, the first thing that happens is this chorus of, "Well, look what they're doing, they didn't cover such-and-such today." You're going to make -- you're going to have to make some tough decisions when you go down that path. And I would argue that we've been doing that for quite some time, especially in the evening.

But, every time that, you know, we do that, then it's, "Oh, you're too featury," or "you're too soft," or, "how dare you to say -- to provide context, as opposed to reporting on what happened today?" We take it on the chin on those days. That's fine. Everybody can, and should have a view on what we're doing.

But, I think these evening newscasts are incredibly important to the overall health of, not just the news divisions but also the networks. I mean, the image -- one of the best images, frankly, of NBC is going to come from the news division -- the strength of Brian's broadcast, the strength of "Today," "Meet the Press," and so forth.

I mean, I think that, I don't see -- to your question about, "do we envision it going away," I don't see it going away.

AULETTA: But, pick up on trust, and Brian, and the thing you were just playing on. One rarely encounters someone in public life who doesn't complain about -- not just you guys but everyone in the press, being preoccupied by conflict. And if you listened to President Obama's speech yesterday at the Cronkite memorial service, he was talking as well about the weaknesses of the press, and how the speed to get things published sometimes contradicts the need to get it right, which he said Cronkite stood for.

So, what do you say to a person in public life who says, "You guys, I'm not worried about your Liberal bias, I'm worried about your bias for conflict, and there's too much of that in the press?"

KLEIN: Bias for what -- of?

AULETTA: Conflict.

KLEIN: They're probably talking about a lot of outlets that we don't have anything to do with. You know, blogs can really range from the super-relevant and important, to just pure noise and gossip. And there's so much of that. There's so much tabloid Press out there -- print press out there. And the direction that "Web news," quote, unquote, is going is so gossip-oriented --

AULETTA: No, but --

KLEIN: -- that it adds to that.

AULETTA: -- but, Jon.

KLEIN: The complaints are probably less about the NBC Nightly News doing that --

AULETTA: No, but to be specific, Robert Gibbs, the press secretary to the president of the United States, has said in his briefings, regularly, "I'm tired of watching these food fights on cable." (Laughter.)

KLEIN: Well, a lot of -- we bend over backwards to avoid that, and to focus on substance. There's a lot of it on cable, but of course that's their beef. I mean, they're an interested party. They're not above the fray, you know, like the Supreme Court --

AULETTA: So, is that part of the answer, though, to the politician or public official who complains, that "that's your beef;" you have a vested interest, or?

KLEIN: Well, they do have a vested interest, and they are not nonpartisan in it, and they tend to complain when they don't have people agreeing with them. They don't complain -- you know, they don't complain about Keith Olbermann being over the top and opinionated when Keith Olbermann agrees with them, or Rachel Maddow. They do complain when O'Reilly or Glenn Beck, you know, weigh in against them. And it was the opposite during the previous administration.

MR. : I'm not sure there's necessarily that much more dissatisfaction. It's just that there are so many more venues to express that dissatisfaction, whether it's talk radio, or the blogs, or cable television. I mean, I'm not sure if you went back 20 years and actually asked, as many people who are blogging or making comments on, you know, community websites, what they thought, whether they would be any less critical. It's just now that there's a much better vehicle to express your outrage.

And I think that, obviously, didn't exist 10 years ago, much less 20 years ago. So, there's a lot more noise around television news. We're under a lot more scrutiny. The politicians are much more vocal about what's being done, primarily because in the last three or four years obviously cable news is unbelievably opinionated.

And that gets politicians' attention, obviously. And they talk about. And it feeds upon itself. But, I'm not sure that people are more or less dissatisfied now, it's just that -- (inaudible) --

AULETTA: Why then does survey research suggest that no one approaches in the press the numbers that Walter Cronkite once had for being trusted?

MR. : Fragmentation.

MR. : That would be true of pretty much any institution in the United States of America.

KLEIN (?): But, we have -- we have a daily opinion poll, which is the -- in the form of the ratings. I mean, people -- again, if we're not relevant, if we're not trusted, if we're not respected, people are going to tune out.

I mean, it is in our best interests to make sure that these news divisions are as appealing and as respected as possible, and doing work that -- it stays relevant for the audience. Because, if not, we're doomed to extinction given the fragmented world in which we're operating.

KLEIN (?): But Ken, in my experience one of the really difficult parts of being a journalist -- you must feel this way, is if you're going your job you will always be criticized. And, on the one hand, you can't simply disregard the criticism, because often there's a point to it that you have to -- (inaudible) -- At the same time, you can't be so defensive about it that you change what you're doing -- you change your reporting, you back off. And trying to do those two things that are (inconsistent ?) -- (inaudible) -- is very difficult to do.

In my view, when you talk about covering conflict, the thing that resonates with me, and that I am concerned about, and I've spoken internally and externally about this within the network context, is some of the cable back-and-forth that we see -- which is fine, it's what they do, they do it well, they're successful with it, I'm not criticizing that -- can infiltrate what we do, and it can turn into reporting which is, "on the one hand/on the other hand."

And you can find people to express just about any point of view in this society at this point. Part of our job is, when there are things that we can know, rather than simply -- (inaudible) -- who knows what's going on, we have a responsibility to step up and say, this is what we know.

That can be true with medical studies; it can be true with what's going on with the health-care debate. I mean, some of the things you can prove: is it right or is it wrong? We have an obligation to step to the fore.

It can be true with polls. Polls get reported -- like, "oh, there's a poll that says this, a poll that." Some polls are very valuable and accurate, some are not worth the paper they're written on.

And I do become concerned that sometimes, as we watch our brothers and sisters in cable, that we can fall into a pattern, even on the evening news, of doing pieces which are easy to do -- get a person on this side, and a person on this side; you put them both up; "okay, I've done my job; you decide" to the audience, which is not a service.

So, I think there is a point I would take in that criticism that we need to really guard against that.

CAPUS: I'm also going to speak up here for cable news a little bit, in that, you know, I run both NBC Network News and MSNBC. And clearly, as the cable news environment has become more politicized, there was concern within NBC News, is that going to portray -- is NBC News going to be painted with the same brush? And we've had these conversations extensively, as you can well imagine.

But, I think that cable news -- you know, CNN learned it with "Crossfire," when everybody kind of got into it, that -- we certainly learned it through years and years of experimentation with the one side, and the other side, and the hot argument. And, you know, there was an awful lot of time spent doing that sort of programming.

And, in the end, the audience said they wanted something else. Because, I think what we found is that the old food fight that used to be thing that drew a lot of attention on cable news, has kind of -- that time had passed with cable news. I think there's a lot more of substance going on there.

I think, to your point, David, about trying to hold people's feet to fire, and do some real reporting, and state what's fact and what's fiction, is what, at its best, cable news is doing these days.

And I think, you know, we look at, from NBC -- and to answer the question about, does the audience understand the difference between the two, and the mandates of the two divisions of NBC News, I think the answer is yes. I mean, you can't have the success that we've had on the broadcast side if you think that you're going to be painted with the same brush as MSNBC.

MR. : And what Steve says is a critical point. I mean, there's a place for opinion in journalism. Newspapers have always had an editorial page. They have had op-ed pages. It's perfectly legitimate. But, you know when your on the editorial page you're getting opinion; you know when you're out in the op-ed section what you're getting. When it gets dangerous is where the two start to spill over into one another and the audience isn't sure --

MR. : Well, that's the argument that happens, arguably, on Lou Dobbs, on his network --

(Cross talk.)

MR. : I think we have to be very careful --

MR. : Not any more --

MR. : -- Keith Olbermann --

KLEIN: -- actually, Lou doesn't offer his opinions on his show anymore. He doesn't do it. We stepped in and we made him understand this very thing, that you -- he's got a radio talk show where he does all sorts of things. That's radio. We don't oversee his radio talk show.

But, the interesting and the optimistic piece of news here is that, as our cable competitors have become more overtly partisan on the Left or the Right, and we have really tried to focus on being a deliverer of news and analysis that is down the middle -- even as they rise, and they are rising in the ratings, both Fox and MSNBC, prime time -- our numbers are higher than they've been in six years.

So, there is an audience for what we do. There is an audience for what they do. There's all kinds of audiences these days. That's why my answer to your question was "fragmentation." There's no one person you can trust.

People trust the person whose point of view they believe. So, some people adore Glenn Beck and trust everything he says. Think of your favorite columnists in the Wall Street Journal, or the Financial Times. You trust the ones you believe. You read their column and you say, "That guy gets it. How come they don't all get it that way?" And that's what everybody does. That's where -- that's the root of trust.

AULETTA: But, that's a fundamental change from the days of Walter Cronkite, and the days where --

MR. : There weren't as many options.

AULETTA: Pardon?

MR. : There weren't as many options. There -- (inaudible) --

AULETTA: No, no, but --

MR. : -- people you could choose to trust.

AULETTA: Understood. But, it begs the question -- my last question before we go out to the audience, which is, do we pay a price as citizens in America? The fact that you don't -- that people seek the news from their favorite sites, be it Beck, or Olbermann, or ABC, wherever it is, because they don't trust this universal --

WESTIN: You said, "Beck, Olbermann and ABC." (Laughter.)

AULETTA: No, no. I didn't mean that -- (inaudible) -- I just meant various news. That's it.

But, is there a point where no one -- there is no commonly accepted set of facts that people accept? Walter Cronkite talks about Vietnam. That's common accepted fact in The New York Times -- commonly accepted. And we've moved to an era where that's -- there is not a commonly accepted set of facts?

MR. : I think there's a little bit of a disconnect here, in that we're talking about the overall news business, and we're talking about cable, and Olbermann, and Beck, and ABC News, and CBS News, I don't think -- and maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think what we're doing, and what my counterparts are doing at ABC and NBC at 6:30 is all that much different than what Walter was trying to do. You can argue whether we're doing a better or a worse job, but our charge is still the same, and --

AULETTA: I'm talking about the audience, not you.

MR. : Right.

AULETTA: I'm not suggesting you're doing something different. I'm saying they perceive, because of variety, and the polarization of society, the audience receives information differently than they did 10, or 15 or 20 years ago.

MR. : But Ken, I would have three responses. One is, that's what's happened. Get over it. I mean, that's just, that's just true, that's right.

And, more important than that, it's a terrible mistake for any of us to try to put ourselves between what technology makes possible and what our audience wants. And our audience wants that, and it's their right to want it. Who are we to say no?

Number two, why don't we trust the American people, ultimately, to really come to the right conclusions? We always have, through the history of this country. I mean, if you go back to the broadsheets in, you know, the late 18th century, there were some pretty remarkable newspapers out there saying some pretty scurrilous things -- about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. But, somehow we trusted the American people to figure out what's really going on and come to sensible decisions -- over time, on average, not that we haven't made some mistake.

But three, we can't let the "best" be the enemy of the "good." The fact that we will not reestablish Walter Cronkite, because of technology -- (inaudible) -- does not mean we can't have people who are trusted. Brian Williams is sitting here, Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, who are not Glenn Beck or Olbermann.

I mean, I don't -- we shouldn't just give up the game and say we won't get to Walter Cronkite, so let's throw in the towel, it's impossible. I don't think that's true. I think that we can have relatively more trusted people and that there's a great value in that.

AULETTA: On that eloquent note, let's turn to the audience which has some questions.

Steve, would you stand up and identify yourself -- wait for the microphone, yes.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Thanks, Ken. I'm Steve Shepherd (sp), City University Graduate School of Journalism.

There are many reasons for the decline in audience of the nightly news shows. But, surely one of them is the secular change towards digital delivery and people spending time on the Internet to get their news.

What are you doing about that? How will you address this increasingly large audience, a younger audience who gets their news in other ways than watching your shows? How will you reach them? And what is a business model that might work to reach them?

CAPUS: MSNBC.com is our on-line home, and it's an enormously successful, not just journalistic enterprise, I would argue, but also business. And, you know, every week I'll get -- we get tons of research.

Every week one of the things that I get that's most interesting is the Total Audience Measurement Index, the "Tamios" (sp) they call it, which not only looks at the traditional ratings, but also includes, you know: "Meet the Press" is seen on broadcast, it's seen a couple times on MSNBC on cable; and there's a big section on MSNBC.com with the program in its entirety, segments, things that are done exclusively for the MSNBC.com audience; Brian, you know, begins his day every day by writing his daily/nightly blog, and is on that thing throughout the day.

I think it's about -- I'll say it again, it's about being relevant to your audience. And if people are consuming their news via the Internet, then you need to be in that space. And you need to be there with, again, unique content and a trusted source, and be a trusted source for that information.

So, I mean, that's where we've placed our biggest bets, in terms of trying to attract a young -- attract a younger audience and stay relevant in their lives.

AULETTA: Next question?

Yes?

QUESTIONER: Yes, I'm -- (inaudible) -- Al-Haya (sp).

And I just want (you to touch on ?) which stories have not been covered by you. I'd like to mention just a couple -- for example, what's going on in Yemen now. It's a fundamental, big crisis that even affects the United States in the final analysis because it is about the reverse of al Qaeda. Lebanon is another example. These are big stories that have been missed by, I believe, all networks, or have been visited occasionally.

So, not that you need my support, as a great (moderator ?), but to the point that has been made quite often, I feel that somehow you have not done international news unless there (is) American news. And that's a problem, that's -- And so the question is, could we do the example of (Fareed Zakaria ?), for example, anywhere to replace some of the egocentric shows that are focused about one person? Or can this sort of thing make its way to a network -- ABC, CBS, NBC proper? Thank you.

MCMANUS: Well, I can't argue -- and I'm sure there are other good examples, I can't argue with you that there are stories out there that we aren't covering. We have, unlike Jonathan, to a large extent, we have a lot of limitations in what we can cover. And we try to do a lot of those stories on "60 Minutes," The mix of stories on "60 Minutes" is much more international now than it used to be.

But, to be honest with you, with a 22-minute broadcast every night, there are always going to be stories that we probably should be covering and don't have time to cover. You know, it's a finite universe that we're existing in.

Having said that, you know, I'm sure that there are stories that should be on the evening news that we're not covering, and we maybe need to do a better job doing that. But, it's a really, really good point. And sometimes we tend to -- more often than we should, perhaps follow the news, instead of get ahead of the news.

And there was obviously criticism, which we won't go into now, about, you know, the war in Iraq, and how much was done before that. And I think we all learned a lot of lessons now. And I think one of the things that we've talked about, editorially, is trying not to make some of those same mistakes with what's going on in Afghanistan.

I think if you're looking at the reporting that's being done by all the news organizations on Afghanistan, I think the approach is very, very different. And I think the questions that we're asking, both there and in the States, are much more pointed. And I think we're much more analytical, in terms of what's happening in Afghanistan right now, and what is going to happen there in the future.

But, I take your point, and it's a good one.

QUESTIONER: Yes, I thank you. Rory O'Connor (sp) from Media Channel.

Sean I think you -- I thought you made a great point when you compared the network news divisions to General Motors. But, from my perspective, instead of embracing a change, as you seem to be saying, you all seem to be still manufacturing Hummers.

Now, a case in point is the comments on the anchors. You know, $15 million for a news reader seems like a lot to me in a day when bureaus are being shut down. So, I guess my question is really to David, because you just had an opportunity to address this by replacing Charlie Gibson, and yet you went with Diane Sawyer. I don't know how much she makes, but it's probably in excess of $7 million, $10 million, you tell us.

Also, I must, just for the record --

WESTIN: Well, I'd be eager to do that, actually. (Laughter.) I've been hoping someone would ask that question.

QUESTIONER: Okay, I'd like to hear that.

And also, just for the record, I wonder if you could amplify on, what I found, your shocking admission that you had refused a dollar-for-dollar offer from a previous anchor to improve news coverage.

WESTIN: Well, let me go back to that. I tried to make this clear, but maybe I should be even more forceful in it.

As long as I have this job, it's my job to figure out how we allocate our resources. And if I'm going to give that up to the anchors -- so that we all get together, so they get to decide where we open bureaus and where we don't open bureaus, and when we send people out on reporting missions, and when we don't -- then I shouldn't have my job.

That's just not the way, in my opinion -- it's not a collective. We don't take a plebiscite, you know, to decide when we cover the hurricane or whether we cover our story in the Sudan, or something. And that's just the way I perceive my job. And I think that that's what that inevitably would have meant.

And I also should say, I have little doubt that if I went to my bosses and said, we need four more million dollars, and it's really going to make a big difference in news coverage, that I could get that. The problem I have is a different problem.

We're spending that $4 million in places where it doesn't affect news coverage and it doesn't help us. And until I've taken care of those issues -- and it goes back to some of the infrastructure in the bureaus, and things. I mean, Garrick's here, and so maybe he can tell me whether it's actually true or not, but I'm told that there was a wine cellar and a chef in the Paris bureau, at one point, for ABC News.

Now, I don't know what that did to help our coverage in Paris. (Laughter.)

AULETTA: Maybe Garrick could tell us --

MR. : Oh, I could think of something. (Laughter.)

GARRICK UTLEY: (Off mike.) It was Pierre Salinger.

WESTIN: It was Pierre Salinger. That's exactly right.

So, my response was to allocate those resources, and I'm not done allocating results properly.

And let me just take issue with one of the things you said "for a news reader." I think that betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of an anchor. People tend to see only the part of the iceberg that's above the surface, that you see on the air, and you say, well, they get on and they read the news.

A really successful, good news anchor represents the entire institution in who they are. Charlie Gibson's a good example. Charlie Gibson was a beat reporter for years in Washington. He paid his dues. He has covered every major story. It's not because he can just, quote "read the news," it's because of what he brings to the organization, brings to the reporting, brings the editorial judgment of what goes on the evening news and how it's done.

So, it's a misnomer. If it were a "news reader," you're absolutely right. We'd just get the pretties one, and, you know, the one that reads the prompter the best. That's not the way it works. I can understand where someone who doesn't understand it from the outside would see it that way. It's actually not the way it works at all.

And, to the last one, it's not just Diane, I've had the burden of several decisions about the evening news anchor. It's more than one. I've had several of those, unfortunately -- not through choices of my own.

AULETTA: Garrick? Wait for the microphone.

QUESTIONER: Garrick Utley, the Levin Institute, State University of New York.

Jonathan, CNN -- because you're in a slightly different category, you're CNN-USA, but CNN obviously has CNN International, a vast organization, news gathering, covering the news, and that hasn't come into the conversation.

I recall that when the Iraq invasion incurred, I believe CNN had all its people in place, all editorial material coming in. But, there were two anchor studios -- one for CNN-USA, with the American flag; and separate anchors across the hall for CNN International, more or less without the American flag, which is a very interesting -- I think it's the first time in history that an organization, for understandable reasons, had the same editorial content but a certain tone or delivery system because of that. But, that aside, that it shows the importance of CNN International.

My question for this country, and our viewers here, is to what extent do you see a possibility, and would it be a desirable in CNN's eyes, to have CNN International as a separate channel on cable -- it exists, I know, in certain tiers, if you pay for it, but really, as a real presence, would the cable carriers want that? Would CNN want that, as competition to CNN-USA? Because that would be the real test of what Americans want to watch, in terms of international news. So, tell us about the strategy.

KLEIN: The cable operators really are the ones who decide which of our suite of networks -- including HLN, Turner Sports, TNT, TBS, which ones they want to carry. And they choose to carry CNN-US, the network we all know and love is CNN here.

It is available on certain systems. Certain systems have chosen to make it available to their viewers. But, that's their decision. We don't put it -- you know, shove it down their throats or anything like that.

We have, as you know, in these negotiations, the programmers have limited leverage, and so that's how that comes about.

AULETTA: Let's get that woman in the back there with her hand up -- yes.

QUESTIONER: Yeah, Eva Schweitz (sp). I'm a journalist.

James Murdoch said recently he is not satisfied with the way the BBC is a competition, because the BBC is getting, in effect, tax money from the British taxpayer. He considers that an unfair advantage. So, what is your take on that? Are you seeing the BBC as unfair competition because it's on American TV as well -- there's BBC-America, and I think they do have a following.

MR. : Well, they have a following, but they've had a tough time getting traction. To Garrick's question about, would the audience go with it, they've had -- they have had a tough time, with an incredibly strong offering, from a programming and production and journalistic point of view, but it is having a tough time getting an audience and traction in the United States. I don't -- you know, I don't draw any conclusions from that, I just point that out.

Do I think that we're disadvantaged by that? No. I think that 'good for the BBC,' and that's wonderful. I would note that Mr. Murdoch's network didn't carry the president's speech last night, which I think is an interesting editorial call, but there you go. I'll leave it at that.

AULETTA: Yes, sir? Just wait for the microphone, please. In the front row here -- no, in the front row. This gentleman. Thank you.

QUESTIONER: I'm Eugene Staples (sp).

What happens if we continue to see the collapse of newspapers, let's say 10 years from now? Maybe 10 percent of what's left now, which is sort of a ridiculously small number that remain out of what used to be a great written media. How much of that load are you going to be able to pick up, or how much do you want to pick up; or who's going to pick it up? Anybody? Nobody?

MR. : Well, loss of newspapers would be a tragic loss for the country. I agree with you, it's something that we have to seriously contemplate as a possibility. But, it would be a great loss.

I mean, I've said to one of the senior people at Google, when I do Google searches a lot of what I get, as a practical matter, comes from newspaper reporters across the country. And if you, with a magic wand, wiped out all of those local reporters, it's going to even hurt what we get on the Internet, in terms of information. So, I hope that it doesn't happen. It won't be good for the country and it won't be good for journalism in general.

Now, if it were to happen I think we would all have to take a hard look at whether it makes sense for us to move in and try to cover some of the local things in more detail than we have been. Now, that's for the local stations, it would be. I don't think the networks would go in as a network, but through our own stations and affiliates.

AULETTA: And there will be some people who will want to step in and fill that void, as there always have been in the history of newspapers. But, often it's a philanthropical undertaking, that is not meant to generate the kind of profits a billionaire could generate investing in other businesses.

So, you see David Geffen panting to take a stake, or take over The New York Times. There will be those, sort of, socially-minded folks, probably, who would step in for key newspapers, I would guess.

AULETTA: Questions?

Yes, the gentleman there, please.

QUESTIONER: Yeah, I'm Crocker Snow, the director of the Edward R. Murrow Center at the Fletcher School.

And I find it notable you've all noted the diminishing audience for the network news, obviously, and you've all implied that a lot of younger viewers are not with you that were 15, 20 years ago. I find it really notable that nobody here has mentioned Jon Stewart, and the role -- not only Stewart as an individual, but that way to get across important news issues and points of view.

MCMANUS: Well, I think there's a great place for Jon Stewart. I think he -- a lot of people enjoy watching him. I think he's in a very different business than we're in right now. And I don't think -- at least in the foreseeable future what he is doing is something that applies to what we're doing.

I think, you know, a lot of young people -- and you can debate this, a lot of young people think that they are getting their news from Jon Stewart. And I would just question how you define news at that point. I watch the show four nights a week, if I can. I love the show.

But, I think it's a, it's a little bit like comparing, I think -- and I don't mean this in a derogatory sense at all, because I think he's one of the most creative entertaining gentleman on television, but I think, to try to mix up what he's doing with what we're doing, I think is kind of like comparing what, you know, we're doing on the CBS Evening News to something else on the CBS Television Network, like an entertainment show.

I mean, I'm not saying he's not providing a lot of good information, giving his perspective and his insight, but I think it's a very different form and a very different program than what we're trying to produce.

AULETTA: And he's the first to admit that.

MCMANUS: Yeah.

AULETTA: We have time for one last question.

Yes, sir?

QUESTIONER: Morey Hellitrize (sp), a 1960-61 fellow.

The attention span of young people seems to be contracting. How does the network plan on addressing that, since the attention span is contracting -- "quick, quick, quick, get me the news, never mind the depth, never mind the breadth?"

MR. : That's been happening for some years. It's funny, if you go back and look at World News from 20 years ago, it seems so slow now. I mean, it takes forever, and there's so much. And it's -- so, that's a pattern that's been happening.

But, the real answer is, the way to reach younger people is through going to them in the ways they're coming to the news -- it's the Internet, it's cell phones, it's things like that. And giving them material that they can access, and just see the part that they want, and get in and out. And if you do that, our experience at least, is you can be pretty successful with that.

AULETTA: Last word, Steve?

CAPUS: I think, you know, we all attended Walter Cronkite's memorial yesterday, and it was a beautiful, fitting tribute to a great man and journalist. I do think, though, it is very tempting to look in the rear-view mirror and always proclaim what has gone before us as the golden era of whatever profession you're looking at.

I do think that there is some great work being done these days, and it deserves to be celebrated as much as it deserves to be picked apart. And I'm not asking for a free pass. I think we're all open to scrutiny, and welcome it, but beware of scrutiny from people who are politicos, and let's get behind the people who have devoted theirselves (sic) to this craft, and recognize that there is still great work being done. And the work that we do does play an important role. It should not be the only source of news for people, but it is an incredibly important time.

And the other thing I would just say is, I don't apologize for -- as a news person, and somebody who grew up at NBC News, I don't apologize for running my organization as a business, because if I don't do that, someone who comes in -- without a journalism background, is going to step in and say, you had your chance, you can't do it. And so it behooves us to get it right.

AULETTA: I did have a question I was going to ask, which is what happened to the wine cellar in Paris? (Laughter.) You don't have to answer that.

I just want to thank you gentlemen, and thank the audience. (Applause.)

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