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Recommendations for working with local journalists/fixers

Published November 20, 2023

Mainstream media organizations rely heavily on local journalists when producing works of global reporting. The practice often involves sending foreign reporters and correspondents into the field with the support of these local journalists, often in a role referred to as fixers. While this relationship is often fruitful and results in excellent journalism, it can also be problematic.

In nearly a decade of work studying the foreign correspondent-fixer dynamic, the Global Reporting Centre has identified several key areas of concern for local journalists: respect, editorial agency, pay, safety, and credit.

Working together with a diverse group of journalists — editors, reporters, and “fixers”1 — we compiled a list of suggested best practices for global newsrooms when hiring local journalists. It is our hope that this document will create a standard for working practices.

To explore this guide, use the sidebar or buttons at the bottom of each section. You can also download the guide as a printable PDF.

A group photo, people standing in front of trees
Photo provided by Khalid Waseem
A group photo, people standing in front of trees
Photo by Maria Jose Athie
A group photo, people standing in front of trees

This guide is produced by the Global Reporting Centre, an editorially independent and not-for-profit newsroom based at the University of British Columbia’s School of Journalism, Writing, and Media. We were founded in 2016 with the goal of challenging the way global journalism is done. Learn more about how we work.

  1. Fixer is a common term used in the practice of global journalism, but some recent research has questioned the accuracy and continued use of the term. According to Shayna Plaut and Peter Klein, “because of changes in news business models as well as an increased concern regarding security, the fixer has taken on many of the duties and responsibilities of a journalist. The roles have become blurred…sometimes the same person will be a journalist one day and a fixer the next.” For guidance on credited roles and terminology, please review our recommendations.