Show Less
Restricted access

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.

“This is a unique book that goes beyond any other in exploring how journalists and NGOs produce knowledge about Africa in today’s multimedia environment. With a sharp eye on the changing contexts and interactions of all relevant actors, it gives an illuminating account of the ‘moral economies’ of journalism about Africa, animating the complex struggles of media producers and reflecting on what these may mean for the ways we learn about and understand Africa today. A valuable read.” —Lilie Chouliaraki, Chair in Media and Communications, London School of Economics

“To understand the moral economies of solidifying power in media representations of Africa, read Kate Wright’s book. Who’s Reporting Africa Now? is a detailed analysis of the production of ‘Africa’ in our contemporary world of social media and the widespread casualization of media production. Wright provides a deep understanding of the structural factors that bring forth relationships between freelancers and international NGOs and charts their struggles to produce ‘good’ journalism within these constraints. The book benefits from insider knowledge and an engaged writing style attributable to the author’s own lived experience as a journalist. Scholars and practitioners eager to understand the realities of the new actors and alliances shaping development and humanitarianism today must read this book.” — Lisa Ann Richey, Professor of International Development, Roskilde University

Who’s Reporting Africa Now? is a fascinating journey behind the scenes of the production of contemporary representations of Africa. Thanks to Kate Wright’s unique access and understanding of the news industry, the book unravels a captivating media ecology where NGOs and journalists engage in complicated exchanges, not only with each other but also with freelancers, private foundations, and PR agencies and social media participants. In so doing, Wright offers compelling evidence to understand how NGOs have come to play such a central role in the production of visual images of Africa. With tremendous energy, the book successfully articulates and combines a wide range of debates and literature from African studies, international development, media studies, and cultural and creative industries. The book will be a terrific opportunity for African studies readers to reconsider the key debates over Africa’s image in an increasingly mediatized world.” —Toussaint Nothias, Lecturer in African Studies, Stanford University

“Kate Wright’s Who’s Reporting Africa Now? is a clear and thought-provoking work on the connections between NGOs, journalists, and news organizations. Using a case-studies approach, the book, the first of its kind, analyzes how multiple media producers within and outside of sub-Saharan African countries shape the production of international news about Africa. The book moves the study of NGO-journalist relations in a new theoretical direction using moral economy theory and contributes directly to our understanding of complicated international news production practices. I highly recommend this book, particularly for students and scholars interested in journalism, media studies, international politics, and sociology.” —Shakuntala Rao, Professor of Communication Studies, State University of New York

“This book has so many strengths. It is superbly written, as you might hope for from a former journalist. It significantly advances understanding of news and journalism, via excellent empirical case studies. Yet it also makes a major contribution to ethical thinking about the contemporary media via its skillful use of the concept of moral economy.” —David Hesmondhalgh, Professor of Media, Music and Culture, University of Leeds

“This book traces the increasingly influential role of NGOs in shaping the story about Africa in global media. Kate Wright draws on her own extensive experience as a journalist as well as empirical research into a range of media, from legacy platforms to online outlets, to provide a persuasive account of the interactions between journalists and NGOs and the moral and political economies underpinning these complex relationships. The book breaks new ground in exploring political and ethical questions at the heart of global journalism in a changing media landscape, and in so doing, it contributes to the building of theory about journalism in and about Africa.” —Herman Wasserman, Professor of Media Studies, University of Cape Town

“Journalism is a much more complex, mixed, and altogether messy form of media work than it is generally made out to be. Kate Wright offers a critical yet respectful view of what this means in both theory and practice. What a great read!” —Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam