The News From Africa

Much of the history of the continent of Africa has been written by outsiders; Europeans, Americans, Arabs etc. Even Ibn Battuta with his wonderful descriptions of life in Africa was essentially an outsider telling the story of people who never got the chance to speak for themselves. This continued for many many years.

So about a year ago I was very interested to hear a radio program focused on a newspaper from the country of Liberia. This was in the middle of the Ebola epidemic in that country, but here was a newspaper committed to publishing the story of Liberians from their own perspective. In many ways the paper even criticized the government’s handling of the Ebola crisis. The editor-in-chief was a sort of local hero. Below is their webpage.

FrontPageAfrica

Front Page Africa

This one news organization got me interested in what the news is like in the rest of Africa, which led me to think up this assignment. I want you to search for other news organizations in other countries in Africa. Pick five countries in Africa and try to find 2-3 news organizations (newspapers, radio, TV, or online) from each.  Look at their websites to see what kind of stories they cover and create a chart or table to show each country, its news outlets, and the major headlines in each country. Create a separate sources page and on it include citations for all the news websites you visit (one citation per news site). If you didn’t grab a copy of Citing Sources: A Basic Guide there are a few left on to the scrap paper bin.

Lastly, evaluate your sources and write a paragraph explaining which country (in your opinion) has the best (fairest) news coverage. Which county has the most sources for news? Which news source seemed to be the best out of all those you looked at? What made it better than the rest?

Somethings to keep in mind. Some nations in Africa may have news organizations that are controlled by the government or may be in a state of civil war in which no news organizations can effectively operate. If you run into one of these find out as much as you can about the situation and make sure you include it in your assignment.

Oddly enough, Wikipedia is kind-of helpful in some of this kind of research as it can (sometimes) give you a list of newspapers, online news, or TV news stations in a certain country. Often there are links as well to the news organizations themselves.

This assignment will be due next Monday, Oct 19.

As always, you can create a hard copy of your chart and your answers to the questions or email both to me at zachary.wilson@pucs.org  

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