Professional journalists can broaden their scope from local to international news if they are aware of the similarities and differences between the two, says the US editor of Apple News.
Maggie Brito, who joined Apple News in August 2018, also says that newsworthiness has universal principles that can be applied no matter the region, but journalists must be conscious of the audience and their particular needs and culture.
Brito graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2012 and moved to London where she worked for Bloomberg as an associate producer of television. She joined Apple News in London, where she is afforded a five-hour jump on the east coast and can curate news for early morning commuters.
“Generally speaking, a lot of the types of interest you think apply locally can apply globally. They just need to be catered for different audiences,” Brito says. “The standard principles of newsworthiness really apply everywhere.”
The topics she has seen be most relevant to international audiences include politics, sports, health, technology and science, specifically climate change and space exploration.
“The strategy for anything whether it’s local, national, international or a specific beat are all pretty similar,” Brito says. “It’s about understanding your audience or the audience you aspire to have and what’s newsworthy for them. A lot of it is about relevance, proximity and understanding cultural nuances.”
There are noteworthy differences between local and international news, however. One example is the unique extent of American polarization.
“The American media landscape is so fractured and partisan,” Brito says. “That’s not seen in the rest of the world. You’ll find in the UK, some publishers are known for being slightly more conservative or liberal, but there’s not a sense of distrust just because of that.”
American news consumers might rely solely on one or a handful of publishers with a certain slant, which only reinforce their point of views rather than expand them. Abroad, it is more common for news consumers to perceive various publishers and organizations as legitimate.
With an awareness of the distinct characteristics of foreign territories, journalists can equip themselves for becoming strong potential job candidates.
If an international position is of interest, Brito says that employers are most excited to see candidates who have relevant experience, particularly if they can speak another language. Brito cites her studies in Arabic as her ticket to foreign opportunities.
She suggests taking language courses and says many are offered online if access to a course in a university setting is not possible. Other ways to reach beyond the local news business: investing in travel abroad, studying other cultures and applying to programs with a group that can offer social support.
When working in other countries, Brito says, it is important to remember that not all workplaces are going to reflect the American model.
“Journalism requires a thick skin and that’s especially true when you’re working in other countries,” she says. “I encourage getting out and pushing your personal and professional boundaries.”
Jacqueline Schlick is an Orlando native who found her voice in the deep south. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a creative writing degree and will complete her master’s in journalism in 2019. She serves as the public relations director for Ole Miss Bands and as the Communications Manager for the university’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Upon graduation, she plans to attend law school and work within the intersection of journalism and the law.