Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century is the first book in over twenty years to examine the international media’s coverage of sub-Saharan Africa. It brings together leading researchers and prominent journalists to explore representation of the continent, and the production of that image, especially by international news media. The book highlights factors that have transformed the global media system, changing whose perspectives are told and the forms of media that empower new voices.
Case studies consider questions such as: how has new media changed whose views are represented? Does Chinese or diaspora media offer alternative perspectives for viewing the continent? How do foreign correspondents interact with their audiences in a social media age? What is the contemporary role of charity groups and PR firms in shaping news content? They also examine how recent high profile events and issues been covered by the international media, from the Ebola crisis, and Boko Haram to debates surrounding the "Africa Rising" narrative and neo-imperialism.
The book makes a substantial contribution by moving the academic discussion beyond the traditional critiques of journalistic stereotyping, Afro-pessimism, and ‘darkest Africa’ news coverage. It explores the news outlets, international power dynamics, and technologies that shape and reshape the contemporary image of Africa and Africans in journalism and global culture.
Table of Contents
Introduction: a new Africa’s Media Image?
Mel Bunce, Suzanne Franks and Chris Paterson
PART I: Framing Africa
1. The international news coverage of Africa: beyond the "single story"
2. Media perspectives: in defence of Western journalists in Africa
3. Reporting and writing Africa in a world of unequal encounters
Francis B. Nyamnjoh
4. Media perspectives: how does Africa get reported? A letter of concern to 60 Minutes
Howard W. French
5. How not to write about writing about Africa
6 Bringing Africa home. reflections on discursive practices of domestication in international news reporting on Africa by Belgian television
7. The image of Africa from the perspectives of the African diasporic press in the UK.
PART II: The image makers
8. Mediating the distant Other for the distant audience: how do Western correspondents in East and Southern Africa perceive their audience?
9. Media perspectives: television reporting of Africa: 30 years on
10. Foreign correspondents in sub-Saharan Africa: their socio-demographics and professional culture
Paulo Nuno Vicente
11. Media perspectives: reflecting on my father’s legacy in reporting Africa
12. Media perspectives: we’re missing the story: the media’s retreat from foreign reporting
13. Instagram as a potential platform for alternative Visual Culture in South Africa
14. Media perspectives: social media and new narratives: Kenyans tweet back
H. Nanjala Nyabola
15. A "New Ghana" in "Rising Africa"?
PART III: Development and humanitarian stories
16. Media perspectives: is Africa’s development story still stuck on aid?
17. AIDS in Africa and the British media: shifting images of a pandemic
18. Media perspectives: a means to an end? Creating a market for humanitarian news from Africa
19. It was a "simple", "positive" story of African self-help (manufactured for a Kenyan NGO by advertising multinationals)
20. Media perspectives: Africa for Norway: challenging stereotypes using humour
Nicklas Poulsen Viki
21. Bloggers, celebrities, and economists: news coverage of the Millennium Villages Project
Audrey Ariss, Anya Schiffrin and Michelle Chahine
PART IV: Politics in the representation of Africa
22. Africa through Chinese eyes: new frames or the same old lens? African news in English from China Central Television, compared with the BBC
23. Media perspectives: new media and African engagement with the global public sphere
24. Shifting power relations, shifting images
25. Communicating violence: the media strategies of Boko Haram
Abdullahi Tasiu Abubakar
26. Perceptions of Chinese media's Africa coverage
27. New imperialisms, old stereotypes
28. Nollywood news: African screen media at the intersections of the global and the local
Mel Bunce is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at City University London, where she researches and teaches in the areas of global media, news production, and ethics. A former journalist from New Zealand, Mel has researched the work of foreign correspondents in Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, and Nigeria.
Suzanne Franks is Professor of Journalism at City University London, where she is Head of Department and convenes a module on Humanitarian Communication. A former BBC TV current affairs journalist, she has made several films about Africa. Her publications include Reporting Disasters: Famine, Aid, Politics and the Media (2013).
Chris Paterson researches and teaches at the University of Leeds, UK. He wrote in the original Africa’s Media Image (1992), has co-edited five books, and has authored The International Television News Agencies (2011) and War Reporters under Threat: The United States and Media Freedom (2014).
"Mel Bunce, Suzanne Franks and Chris Paterson have assembled the single most important collection of analyses of African media and image in at least a quarter of a century. In practically all respects this volume goes beyond previous, mainly 20th century, northern-centered ways of framing and thinking about Africa's media image and, in their place, carries us well into the 21st century. This is a post-'Africa pessimism' century of African and international narratives of Africa. These are told through an astonishing variety of perspectives, technologies and media platforms. Their audience includes a robust, continent-wide and technology-empowered middle-class. Processes of imperialism and neo-imperialism have not disappeared. But the agents, trajectories and meanings of imperialism are opened to re-assessment."
Oliver Boyd-Barrett, Professor Emeritus, Bowling Green State University, Ohio and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
"This is an excellent book which fills a crucial gap in existing literature. It has a wide range of contributors offering key insights and analysis - a must read for students and academics in development studies as well as those in media and international journalism."
Gregory Philo, Professor of Communications and Social Change, University of Glasgow