Multilingualism and Journalism: What it Means for our Global Society

The emphasis on learning a second or third language is being noticed in many different aspects of the business world. The world of journalism is no exception. With reporters in far off locations, it is a necessity for them to be fluent in another language and be able to write well in English.  Maintaining fluency in a second language gives journalists an advantage on their peers who have not studied another language.

Examples of newspapers from around the globe

Two key languages for journalists to master are Chinese and Arabic.   Journalists fluent in these languages are often more marketable than journalists who are monolingual. While the majority of Americans’ second language is Spanish or French, just having a proficient level in another language opens up many new career opportunities.

This video explains more in depth the reasons and need for further language education for Americans:
http://www.youtube.com/v/GpI1fNSk8m0?fs=1&hl=en_US&border=1

An Italian movie director once said, “A different language is a different vision of life.”  For journalists, this quote demonstrates how using a different language can add to the understanding and comprehension of a story. Learning and using a different language makes one view the world in a diverse way and consider new perspectives. Imagine telling a story from another culture or country from firsthand experience, demonstrating the feelings of a culture and experiencing and understanding an event with them.  Then, being able to capture it all in a news article.

The ability to capture a story in one language and write in another is one that Angel Gonzalez possesses.  If a journalist’s fluency level is high enough, writing in a second or third language proves to be even more beneficial to their publications and personal careers. Gonzalez is an excellent example of what foreign language can do for a career. He is trilingual and has published works in Le Monde , El Pais, Buenos Aires Herald, and the Oakland Tribune.

So if you are considering a career in journalism, also consider picking up a second or third language. It might pay off in more than one way.

~Britta Marquand

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This entry was posted in International Press, Media Credibility, Reporting. Bookmark the permalink.

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