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The White Correspondent’s Burden by Jina Moore

In Africa, culture, ethics, media, politics, society on August 14, 2012 at 02:04

 

From: The White Correspondent’s Burden by Jina Moore, Boston Review, http://www.bostonreview.net

Journalists in Africa talk often about misrepresentations of the continent we cover. But this isn’t an easy conversation: we’re all far from home, working for pennies, because we care about what we do. Broad criticism of our profession can feel personal. Often, even though we’re ostensibly in charge of the story, we feel disempowered. The best journalism takes time and money, and often, we complain, we have neither. Travel budgets have shrunk, and the Internet demands ever more content.

But this doesn’t explain why journalism from Africa looks and sounds as it does. For this, we blame our editors, who (we like to say) oversimplify our copy and cut out context. They also introduce clichéd shorthand, such as “Arab north versus Christian and animist south” (Sudan), or boilerplate background, such as “the 1994 genocide, in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed” (Rwanda). Virtually any story can be sold more easily if set in a “war-torn country.”

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: Boston Review

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