Fixers: The unsung heroes of journalism

The Listening Post on the role fixers - a foreign correspondent's eyes, ears and early warning system on the ground.

When a foreign news story gets published in the paper or you see a reporter in front of a camera at the scene of a story, you could be forgiven for thinking that that individual was the be all and end all of the journalistic process. 

But if asked, there are few journalists who would not give credit to their fixer - the man or woman on the ground who secured the critical interview, gained access to the all-important location, who read between the lines when the situation was rife with local complexity.

In short, a fixer knows how to navigate the news terrain and open doors the way few foreign correspondents will ever have enough local knowledge to be able to do themselves.

And that is not all - fixers are not only a foreign correspondent's eyes and ears but their early warning system too.

Being close to a story often means that danger is only one wrong turn away and fixers, while not always acknowledged in this role, have to become security specialists too - sometimes putting themselves in the firing line as a consequence. With all of these responsibilities, do they get the recognition they deserve?

The Listening Post's Will Yong reports on fixers, often the unsung heroes of journalism.