Coverage of the African continent constitutes only 5.6 percent of international news produced by US news media. This 5.6 percent offers for its intended audience little depth in the portrayal of an entire continent. Asya A. Besova, and Skye Chance Cooley, Foreign News and Public Opinion, 2010
Africa Agenda’s U.S.-Africa News Exchange is an initiative to provide training resources, opportunities and tools to assist U.S. and African journalists in reporting African news in-depth.
While we often question the rationale for increased negativity in the reporting of African news by global media its apparent this issue cannot be resolved through criticism alone.
As a part of this we envision better reporting of African news that can be accomplished not just because journalists work for reputable organizations but more importantly because they undertake on-site or on-the-ground visits and take the time to interviews their subjects and participate in discussions that provide context and perspective about the communities they write about. Our model of a news exchange plans to build on our shared experiences to further in-depth reporting of African news.
The idea of a news exchange came about following a 2014 visit to the Africa Agenda headquarters by 15 Investigative Journalists from West Africa. The trip to Denver was sponsored by World Denver organization and the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
The visit included a discussion about innovative ways for delivering news today, freedom of the press in Africa, how do you report both negative and positive African news, coverage of Ebola in West Africa, and a question and answer session. The visitors also had a chance to learn about Africa Agenda’s mission as well as the challenges involved with building an online news portal.
Read more about the 2014 visit here.