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Tea Leaves

In the wake of COVID-19, reporting on Asia isn't what it used to be

Amid rising authoritarianism in Hong Kong and elsewhere, correspondents seek next regional hub

Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club serves an important role for journalists based in the city. (All photos by Tommy Walker)

COVID-19 has changed the media in unprecedented ways -- for better and for worse. Social media, which blurs the lines between citizen and professional journalism, has become the new public space for news. Beyond the impact of Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, mainstream media have come under unprecedented official scrutiny.

For freelance journalists covering Asia, it can be a lonely job. The challenges of reporting in a foreign country amid ever-changing restrictions, a persistent pandemic and, sometimes, harsh security crackdowns, are hard enough even for mainstream organizations. For solo correspondents, it is sometimes nearly impossible, particularly since the pandemic has reshaped the regional map for international reporters.

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