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Centre of African Studies: Events


Who’s Reporting Africa Now? Journalists, NGOs and Multimedia

Who’s Reporting Africa Now? Journalists, NGOs and Multimedia
Speaker: Kate Wright # University of Edinburgh; Introduced by: Richard Dowden # Royal African Society
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Date and Time
5th Oct 2016 16:00 - 5th Oct 2016 17:30
Seminar rooms 1 & 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building

International NGOs increasingly produce and place multimedia in mainstream news about the Global South: stepping in to compensate for the cuts which news organizations have made to international bureaus, foreign correspondent posts and travel budgets. But this shift in media practice is enormously controversial. Some critics argue that it enhances the ability of NGOs to engage in mediated advocacy, as well as improving the diversity, dynamism and social engagement of mainstream news. Meanwhile, others assert that it undermines the critical independence and integrity of both journalism and NGO-work.
The passionate and frequently polarized debates about this subject tend to keep coming back to questions about the effects of such practices on news about “Africa”, defined primarily as poor, sub-Saharan and black. But curiously, this focus has never been critically interrogated, nor has anyone ever conducted empirical research to ascertain why and how NGO content is used to construct news representations of “Africa”.
This paper discusses data from six contrasting production case studies about Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Mali and South Sudan to argue for greater differentiation. I highlight three distinct, but inter-related sets of synergies between different kinds of NGOs and news outlets, which lead to the transformation of both through the creation of new moral economies which have decidedly mixed effects.

Edinburgh Students