Jim Goodsell, the longtime Latin American correspondent from the Christian Science Monitor had that great quality of being both a good reporter and a first-rate human being. I first met Jim in 1966 in the Dominican Republic in advance of that country's first post-civil war elections. I last saw Jim in mid-January 1996 when we had lunch to kick around some agenda ideas for the Fourteenth Annual Journalists and Editors Workshop. He will be missed.
Jim, as many of us dinosaurs, had grown increasingly concerned about the state of Journalism and particularly foreign reporting in the modern age. Despite the tremendous technological advances, in some ways, matters were much less complex and more straightforward 30 years or so ago. In that light, it might be more instructive attempting to predict the shape of foreign coverage into the 21st century by taking a look backwards to see how far we have come in the past three decades.
Communications were horrible 30 years ago. The main source of news into the newsroom was the teletype machine, roaring along at 60 words a minute. The same day New York Times was unavailable except for stories that moved on its wire service. Once the Sunday Times showed up in the newsroom on Tuesday. The one advantage was that you could write the same story a week after the Times had it, and no Herald reader would know the difference. United Press International was still fighting the good fight with the Associated Press. Editing was literally a cut and paste job.
The Herald did not even have a telex machine in the newsroom …