From the "Heart of Darkness" to "Africa Rising" – analysing the changing role of reporting on Africa

This week’s African Media speaks to the editors of Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century, a book described as the single most important collection of analyses of African media and image in 25 years. The book, published in July, explores whether international reporting on Africa has gone beyond the old, tired clichés. It questions China’s emerging role in Africa in terms of investment in news reporting and discusses how the continent’s image has been framed by aid and development stories.


African Media

Mel Bunce, City University London

“Historically, the news coverage of Africa was very dark and pessimistic with stories focusing on conflict, famine, poverty, crises – these types of topics. The stories have become more positive overall and there’s also been a growth in stories about business, finance, technology and more about local culture, sports and everyday life.”

Chris Paterson, University of Leeds

“Chinese media’s having a big impact - it’s very visible throughout Africa and it’s doing a lot of coverage around Africa. But it’s also generating a good deal of controversy about what news should be about - by pushing some different ideas about what constitutes a proper role for journalism, particularly as it is often accused of doing a fluffier or protocol type of journalism.”

Suzanne Franks, City University London

“Humanitarian organisations have become very slick media operations in themselves and they’re often the focus of the way that reporting is done. It used to be that there were far more staff reporters all over Africa who might use NGOs sometimes as a source or potential interviewees, but now it’s a very different situation. It’s a much, much slicker, more professionalised media operation by all these humanitarian organisations trying to get their message out.”

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