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.