Foreign correspondents in the multidimensional network

The socio-demographics, professional culture and news work of foreign correspondents working across Sub-Saharan Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A sizable portion of our everyday knowledge about Sub-Saharan Africa comes from the work of international news reporters stationed in the continent. Even though these news actors play a critical role in the communication of the distant Other, scholar empirical research on the work of foreign correspondents has been considerably neglected: it is now decades old, it lacks a systematic examination of the on the ground realities of journalism in Africa and of the evolving work of professionals, Pro-Ams and citizen media organizations supported by networked digital media.
This study inspects long-term trajectories in international journalism combined with short-term developments based on transformations on microelectronics and digitization. Three main lines of inquiry are outlined: who is actually reporting across the continent, what are the main characteristics of the occupational cultures in place and the impending constraints over newsworkers’ production routines.
We conduct an updated Pan-African online survey on the work of international news reporters, collecting answers from 124 participants in 41 countries. These findings are complemented by in loco semi-structured interviews with 43 professionals based in Nairobi, Dakar and Johannesburg.
Our findings challenge the narrative of international news reporting as a dying breed. Instead, they support a nuanced view towards localized continuities and localized ruptures in contemporary post-industrial mediascape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages8
JournalMedien & Zeit
Volume2
Issue numberSpecial issue
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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foreign correspondent
news
reporter
journalism
overproduction
microelectronics
digital media
online survey
dying
empirical research
continuity
citizen
narrative
examination
communication
lack
interview

Keywords

  • Digital journalism, International reporting, Africa

Cite this

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title = "Foreign correspondents in the multidimensional network: The socio-demographics, professional culture and news work of foreign correspondents working across Sub-Saharan Africa",
abstract = "A sizable portion of our everyday knowledge about Sub-Saharan Africa comes from the work of international news reporters stationed in the continent. Even though these news actors play a critical role in the communication of the distant Other, scholar empirical research on the work of foreign correspondents has been considerably neglected: it is now decades old, it lacks a systematic examination of the on the ground realities of journalism in Africa and of the evolving work of professionals, Pro-Ams and citizen media organizations supported by networked digital media.This study inspects long-term trajectories in international journalism combined with short-term developments based on transformations on microelectronics and digitization. Three main lines of inquiry are outlined: who is actually reporting across the continent, what are the main characteristics of the occupational cultures in place and the impending constraints over newsworkers’ production routines.We conduct an updated Pan-African online survey on the work of international news reporters, collecting answers from 124 participants in 41 countries. These findings are complemented by in loco semi-structured interviews with 43 professionals based in Nairobi, Dakar and Johannesburg.Our findings challenge the narrative of international news reporting as a dying breed. Instead, they support a nuanced view towards localized continuities and localized ruptures in contemporary post-industrial mediascape.",
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N2 - A sizable portion of our everyday knowledge about Sub-Saharan Africa comes from the work of international news reporters stationed in the continent. Even though these news actors play a critical role in the communication of the distant Other, scholar empirical research on the work of foreign correspondents has been considerably neglected: it is now decades old, it lacks a systematic examination of the on the ground realities of journalism in Africa and of the evolving work of professionals, Pro-Ams and citizen media organizations supported by networked digital media.This study inspects long-term trajectories in international journalism combined with short-term developments based on transformations on microelectronics and digitization. Three main lines of inquiry are outlined: who is actually reporting across the continent, what are the main characteristics of the occupational cultures in place and the impending constraints over newsworkers’ production routines.We conduct an updated Pan-African online survey on the work of international news reporters, collecting answers from 124 participants in 41 countries. These findings are complemented by in loco semi-structured interviews with 43 professionals based in Nairobi, Dakar and Johannesburg.Our findings challenge the narrative of international news reporting as a dying breed. Instead, they support a nuanced view towards localized continuities and localized ruptures in contemporary post-industrial mediascape.

AB - A sizable portion of our everyday knowledge about Sub-Saharan Africa comes from the work of international news reporters stationed in the continent. Even though these news actors play a critical role in the communication of the distant Other, scholar empirical research on the work of foreign correspondents has been considerably neglected: it is now decades old, it lacks a systematic examination of the on the ground realities of journalism in Africa and of the evolving work of professionals, Pro-Ams and citizen media organizations supported by networked digital media.This study inspects long-term trajectories in international journalism combined with short-term developments based on transformations on microelectronics and digitization. Three main lines of inquiry are outlined: who is actually reporting across the continent, what are the main characteristics of the occupational cultures in place and the impending constraints over newsworkers’ production routines.We conduct an updated Pan-African online survey on the work of international news reporters, collecting answers from 124 participants in 41 countries. These findings are complemented by in loco semi-structured interviews with 43 professionals based in Nairobi, Dakar and Johannesburg.Our findings challenge the narrative of international news reporting as a dying breed. Instead, they support a nuanced view towards localized continuities and localized ruptures in contemporary post-industrial mediascape.

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