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Who's Reporting Africa Now?

Non-Governmental Organizations, Journalists, and Multimedia

Kate Wright

As news organizations cut correspondent posts and foreign bureaux, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have begun to expand into news reporting. Why and how do journalists use the photographs, video, and audio that NGOs produce? What effects does this have on the kinds of stories told about Africa? And how have these developments changed the nature of journalism and NGO-work?

Who’s Reporting Africa Now?: Non-Governmental Organizations, Journalists, and Multimedia is the first book to address these questions—using frank interviews and internal documents to shed light on the workings of major news organizations and NGOs, collaborating with one another in specific news production processes. These contrasting case studies are used to illuminate the complex moral and political economies underpinning such journalism, involving not only NGO press officers and journalists but also field workers, freelancers, private foundations, social media participants, businesspeople, and advertising executives.

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Chapter 4. Photojournalism, Professionalism, and Print Newspapers: The Independent on Sunday and Christian Aid




The Independent on Sunday and Christian Aid

Photojournalists are leaving mainstream news outlets in droves. Like many other specialists, they have been squeezed out by cost-cutting, and news cultures which privilege rapidity and multi-skilling over the exercise of time-consuming skills and seasoned judgement (Caple 2013; Wright 2016). But photojournalists also face specific challenges to do with the advent of rapidly-acquired and cost-free User Generated Content (UGC), which may be seen as more authentic and “truthful” by news audiences (Mortensen 2014; Mortensen and Keshelashvili 2013). In addition, new forms of mobile technology and digital software are often believed to make it easy for those without specialist training to produce technically competent and visually attractive images (Ritchin 2009; Solaroli 2015).

The combination of these factors has led to photojournalists being laid off far more frequently than their counterparts in written journalism. For example, the American Society of News Editors stated that whereas 32 per cent of reporters and writers had been sacked since 2000, the numbers of photographers had been cut by 43 per cent (Anderson 2013). Several cases of mass redundancies have also grabbed the headlines in the US, most notably at The Chicago Sun-Times, which fired all 28 of its photojournalists in one fell swoop in 2013 (Mortensen 2014). Similar patterns of redundancies have←93 | 94→ been reported in countries as far apart as Australia (Anderson 2014), Israel (Klein-Avraham and Reich 2016) and Romania (Bardan 2015)...

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