Africa Through the Eyes of African Reporters

Nyarota, Geoffrey
September 2004
Nieman Reports;Fall2004, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p35
This article describes how much better coverage of Africa would be if more African reporters told the stories to Western audiences. Any suggestion that African journalists cannot, as a rule, cover Africa adequately or reliably has no merit. Jeff Koinange, bureau chief of CNN in Lagos, is a citizen of Kenya. He is responsible for covering events throughout Africa He routinely flies in to cover Africa's many crises--from the inglorious departure last year of Liberian strongman Charles Taylor from Monrovia to the 10-year anniversary commemoration in Kigali of the Rwandese genocide, from Zimbabwe's controversial presidential elections in 2002 and attendant dispossession of white farmers of fertile commercial farmland to the recent bloodbath in strife-torn Darfur. It is, however, with some bit of trepidation that Koinange approaches every new assignment, since as an African he surely feels a duty to be more knowledgeable than his Western counterparts about the many crises happening across this continent of 53 countries. Koinange has proven beyond doubt that an African journalist can cover Africa for the West. So did Elizabeth Ohini, now Ghana's Minister of Tertiary Education, when she covered Africa for many years as a correspondent for the BBC World Service. Koinange was educated in the United States, and this poses to some the question of whether this could have influenced his rise at CNN.


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