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Panelists for News vs. Snooze
Panelists l to r: Joyce Davis, Scott Peterson,
Frank Smyth, Daniel Benjamin.

A Virtual Diplomacy Workshop


A panel of current and former journalists examined the challenges of selecting which international crises and conflicts merit coverage and why. Led by former Institute Senior Fellow and Deputy Foreign Affairs Editor for Knight Ridder Newspapers Joyce Davis, the panel discussed:

  • What makes an international humanitarian crisis or international conflict newsworthy?
  • Do field reporters and editors use the same criteria to make these judgments?
  • How have financially forced cutbacks in the number of foreign bureaus and correspondents affected the quality of foreign affairs coverage in the U.S. mainstream media?
  • What are the impacts of today's information technology on the media's ability to cover distant international conflicts?

The presentation was followed by questions from the floor and the Internet.


  • Joyce Davis
    Joyce Davis is the deputy foreign editor for Knight Ridder Newspapers -- the nation's second-largest newspaper publisher, with 31 daily newspapers in 28 U.S. markets and a readership of 8.7 million daily. Before joining Knight Ridder, Davis was a correspondent and foreign editor with National Public Radio and is an alumnus of the Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship Program at the Institute.


  • Daniel Benjamin
    Daniel Benjamin is a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and recently completed five years as a member of the National Security Council staff, where he last served as director for transnational threats. Benjamin spent five years as a foreign correspondent in Europe, first as Germany correspondent for TIME magazine and then as Berlin bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Scott Peterson
    Scott Peterson is currently the Middle East Correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and the author of the recent book, Me Against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda. Peterson was formerly the Africa correspondent for the Daily Telegraph of London.

  • Frank Smyth
    Frank Smyth is the Washington DC representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists and a freelance journalist. Smyth began his career reporting from El Salvador in the mid-1980s. He has covered Guatemala, Rwanda, Colombia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. In 1991 he was captured and imprisoned by Iraqi authorities while reporting on the Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq.
    Media Inquiries should be directed to the Office of Communications by phone at 202.429.3828 or e-mail at

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