Use CIA World Factbook for backgrounding news

When you need to know basics about a country for breaking news or interviewing a refugee check the CIA World Fact Book.

Yes, it really is done by the CIA!  It includes an overview of history, the government, geography and economy for 267 countries or entities.

An example of the CIA World Factbook's first screen on Yemen

How might you use it?  Let’s say you are localizing a story about the latest uprising in the Arab Spring movement and need background on that country before a local interview. Or you go to interview an immigrant family for a feature story.  Or perhaps it’s the weekend and you’re covering an international or cultural festival of a nationality that you don’t know much about.

Take 10  minutes to brief yourself at this website.  I bet you’ll ask better questions and likely have a better rapport with your interviewees.  That means faster, smarter and better reporting!

Leave  a comment  below of other tips or good sites for backgrounding.

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