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World, meet Africa! A new way of reporting the continent

It's frequently depressing reading accounts of Africa in the mainstream media. Doubly so, in fact. Firstly because what is defined as worthy of reporting is, well, depressing. And secondly because it so seldom engages with the complex and vibrant reality of the continent in all its massive diversity, preferring instead to deal in simplistic stereotypes.

That's why today's launch of a new website from global news organisation Reuters devoted exclusively to the continent – Reuters Africa – is so exciting. And most exciting of all is the inclusion of blogs on every individual country page on the site.

In the screenshot below of the site's page for Uganda you can see, to the right of the map, a section headed “BLOGS”. Below it are links to the most recent entries on Uganda from Global Voices. There is a similar feed for each of the more than 50 countries on the continent.

Screenshot of Reuters Africa page on Uganda

Reuters is a major funder of Global Voices and it is great that they are able to use our content in this way. It also demonstrates the increasing value placed by news organisations on the ability of authentic voices to provide perspective, background and context to the events they cover. Reuters puts it like this:

The launch of Reuters Africa supports Reuters commitment to cover Africa in detail and from all angles, to give a wider sense of the issues and their contexts, and to explore the individual countries and cultures. Reuters Africa will target both those living on the continent, and anyone globally who follows African development, investment and news…

As part of Reuters continuing efforts to incorporate a wider set of voices and commentary into its news content, the site will incorporate country-specific blogs via Global Voices, the international network of bloggers.

This is a great step forward, but there's still a long way to go. There are large and exciting blogging communities in several countries, such as Nigeria and Kenya but there are other areas where coverage is very sparse and still others, such as Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, where online expression is severely curtailed by the government.

We hope that the involvement of bloggers in projects such as this not only gives a platform to those whose voices have long been left unheard but also encourages others to join the conversation and brings pressure to bear on behalf of those who want to speak but cannot.

12 comments

  • This is great. I’m a sucker for clickable maps. But I’m surprised to find no associated RSS feeds.

  • […] 原文: World, meet Africa! A new way of reporting the continent作者: Rachel Rawlins译者: Leonard校对: Portnoy […]

  • Any news service can benefit from blogging input for on the ground reporting.
    Many bloggers will welcome the increased exposure.
    We applaud those who would expand our horizons.
    However, how will Reuters re-act to the blogger who runs afoul of the authorities?

  • The news revolution will be customised…

    Reuters, the trusty, 156-year-old peddler of breaking news, has launched Reuters Africa: global news (’Liverpool sink Barcelona!’) with greater prominence for Africa-related stories (’Sudan, Chad again pledge to avoid hostilities&#82…

  • […] In internal conversations at GVO, one of the subjects has been making sure that we’ve got great Africa content to feature, now that Reuters readers have a more direct route to our content. This is a huge challenge for Ndesanjo Macha, our wonderful sub-Saharan Africa editor, as well as Amira Al Hussiani, who edits the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Jen Bréa and Alice Backer, who cover the french-speaking corners of the continent. The challenge is that, in many countries on the continent, there just aren’t very many bloggers yet. And, as Rachel Rawlins (half of our superheroine duo of managing editors) points out, writers in countries like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Egypt have to overcome government constraints on speech and well as technical challenges to write online. […]

  • Rachel, hello! This sounds great, but I don’t understand why Reuters’ conventional agency reporting is still so stuck on largely business and macro-economic development only. Why doesn’t Reuters incorporate a more rounded approach to news and information into its general coverage? Or am I missing something? From Lara, currently in Angola.

  • […] Becky also gets into the discussion of how difficult it is to report out of Africa, and fears that reporters might have of media outlets seeking to have blogs replace journalism.  Time will tell – but in the meantime I’m very pleased to see the contribution Global Voices is making to encouraging Africans to speak out to the world and make their presence known. Rachel Rawlins, managing editor of the Global Voices project, believes the Reuters move “demonstrates the increasing value placed by news organisations on the ability of authentic voices to provide perspective, background and context to the events they cover.” But she recognises that the value this provides is only nascent. Announcing the Reuters project to her community, Rawlins ended with a hope that “the involvement of bloggers in projects such as this not only gives a platform to those whose voices have long been left unheard, but also encourages others to join the conversation and brings pressure to bear on behalf of those who want to speak but cannot.” digg_url=’http://www.saidia.org/2007/03/01/reporting-africa-blog-by-blog-becky-hogge-article-on-opendemocracy/’; digg_skin = ”; digg_bgcolor = ‘#FFFFFF’; digg_title = ‘Reporting+Africa%2C+blog+by+blog+-+Becky+Hogge+article+on+openDemocracy’; digg_bodytext = ”; digg_topic = ”; Powered by Gregarious (21)Share This […]

  • […] * World, meet Africa! A new way of reporting the continent: That’s why today’s launch of a new website from global news organisation Reuters devoted exclusively to the continent – Reuters Africa – is so exciting. And most exciting of all is the inclusion of blogs on every individual country page on the site. […]

  • Hi Lara! so great to hear from you and find your blog.

    I think it’s a good thing that Reuters is treating the African continent as the viable economic entity it is rather than the basket case we’re so used to seeing portrayed in the mainstream media. However if you look at the individual country pages you’ll see the usual broad reporting amongst the stories.

    And of course Reuters AlertNet covers Africa in great detail.

  • […] with the idea of incorporating our RSS feeds into their new project. As Rachel Rawlins wrote in an article announcing the Africa site launch back in February 2007,  “it. . . . demonstrates the […]

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