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Coverage of Sub-Saharan African Countries: A Content Analysis study Presented by Sara El-Khalili & Mai El-Nawawy The research was conducted under the supervision.

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Presentation on theme: "Coverage of Sub-Saharan African Countries: A Content Analysis study Presented by Sara El-Khalili & Mai El-Nawawy The research was conducted under the supervision."— Presentation transcript:

1 Coverage of Sub-Saharan African Countries: A Content Analysis study Presented by Sara El-Khalili & Mai El-Nawawy The research was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Ralph Berenger, Journalism and Mass Communication Department

2 Sub-Saharan Africa The region includes most of the African Continent excluding North Africa. It is divided into Central, East, West, and Southern. Numbers of Sub-Saharan African countries are reported inconsistently 42, 45 or 51.

3 Western Media Coverage Misery is the western medias favorite topic when covering Africa (Montrat, 1994). The Western media mainly cover news of corruption, civil wars, poverty, starvation and deaths of millions of people; disregarding development, history and the rich African culture (Montrat, 1994). Africans are portrayed as naked, black, diseased, starving, savages, ignorant, without any religion or culture, and no written language (Ogundimu, 1994).

4 Studies on the Coverage of Africa Domatob (1994) studied the coverage of Africa in Time and Newsweek over a period of two years. A total of 85 stories covering Africa were found in both magazines from August 1989 to 1991 Crisis news dominated coverage with 42.2% followed by Politics and government 32.9% South Africa was the mostly covered country, partly due to US business interests

5 Studies on the Coverage of Africa (contd) A study conducted by Shraeder & Endless (1998) examined the New York Times coverage and found that 73% of the stories portrayed Africa negatively. The researchers concluded that the American people have a national geographic image of Africa. The majority of Americans have never heard of Somalia before the United States launched its Operation Restore Hope.

6 Concerns The proliferation of negative news from Africa discourages foreign investment in the continent, hampers development efforts, marginalizes Africa, and excludes it from the world agenda (Domatob, 1994). Lack of understanding to the nature of African politics often leads to failure among reporters to present the news within the African context.

7 Reasons for the distorted coverage Western news definitions: unusual, rare and odd. When it bleeds, it leads. This explains the emphasis on the negative coverage by the West. Vulnerability of the African media.

8 News Organizations International news bureaus & low budgets: News agencies have limited staff in the region. For example, news organizations cover Sudan from their regional bureau in Cairo, which is often busy with Middle East news from Iraq and Palestine. Due to time and budget constraints news coverage is limited to what must be covered, like coups and wars. This kind of coverage only reinforces the perception that Africa is all about bad news (Knickmeyer, 2005)

9 Parachute Journalism Well-informed and experienced localized correspondents are being replaced by journalists who come from faraway places, landing to cover a distant breaking news event like a parachute. Many news organizations have turned to crisis- driven and episodic reporting, fast in and fast out, leaving little room for such important elements as context (Ricchiardi, 2006).

10 The Global Flow of News News flows in a disproportionate manner from the US to the rest of the world (Sawhney, 2002). Specific areas in the world get neglected on the world map of news coverage. The worlds leading news agencies are Western (AP, Reuters, AFP, DPA…etc). News agencies dont cover the continent effectively which adds to the distorted image (Hachten, 1971).

11 Hypothesis & Research Questions H1: Western Newspapers provide limited and pessimistic coverage for Sub-Saharan African countries. RQ1: Do Egyptian newspapers provide more coverage for Sub-Saharan African countries than Western newspapers? RQ2: Is the coverage of Egyptian newspapers more optimistic of Sub-Saharan African countries than the Western newspapers?

12 Methodology Content Analysis Research Methodology Variables: Health, Natural Disaster, Economy, Politics, Society, Media, and General Subjects Composite Week over three months of the following: Americas The Wall Street Journal Americas The International Herald Tribune Britains The Times Egypts Al-Ahram

13 Results Results were calculated on the (SPSS) Program

14 Coverage of Sub Saharan African countries Al-Ahram 47.8% International Herald Tribune 21.1% The Times 23.3% The Wall Street Journal 7.8% Total Newspaper Coverage

15 Newspaper sections where stories on Africas Sub-Sahara appeared Arab Affairs 24.4% (Al Ahram Only) Health & Science 1.1% Sports 8.9% Business 4.4% Culture 2.2% Feature 2.2% Op-Ed 13.3% International 28.9% Front page 8.9% News pages 5.6% Newspaper Sections

16 Regions of Sub-Saharan Africa Covered in the newspapers West Africa 11.1% Southern Africa 16% Central Africa 12.2% East Africa 60% Regions

17 Sub-Saharan African Countries Covered Sudan 35.6% Botswana 1.1% Malawi 2.2% Namibia 1.1% South Africa 7.8% Zambia 1.1% Zimbabwe 3.3% Cameroon 2.2% Equatorial Guinea 1.1% Gambia 2.2% Guinea 1.1% Nigeria 5.6% Reunion 1.1% Democratic Republic of Congo 3.3% Congo 4.4% Burundi 3.3 % Kenya 2.2% Uganda 1.1% Eritrea 2.2% Ethiopia 2.2% Somalia 16.7% Countries Coverage

18 Subjects Covered by Newspapers PovertySportsSocial Disorder Civil Wars International Affairs ViolenceUnstable Political System WSJ The Times IHT Al Ahram Total

19 Discussion & Conclusion

20 The Western Newspapers Coverage Findings of the study support the research hypothesis. The three Western newspapers provided minimal coverage of the region. The three Western newspapers also provided a pessimistic image of Sub-Saharan Africa focusing on issues such as violence 24.4%, unstable political systems 14.4%, civil wars 11.1%, poverty 7.7%, and social disorder 5.5%. The three newspapers provided minimal coverage to culture 4.4% and totally ignored African sports.

21 Al-Ahrams Coverage Al Ahram provided more than half the coverage of the Sub-Saharan African region. But 24.4% of the coverage appeared in the Arab affairs section of the newspaper and not the international or news section. In other words, Al Ahram provided more coverage to the Arab Sub-Saharan African countries such as Sudan and Somalia. The other countries were covered in the sports section.

22 Al-Ahrams Coverage (Continued) Al Ahram covered the region from a different viewpoint which could be allocated to issues of proximity. Throughout its coverage of the Sub-Saharan African countries, Al-Ahram emphasized the diplomatic and trade ties with other African countries.

23 Final Remarks Although UNDP (2006) statistics show that of the 30 million HIV positive people worldwide, 21 million are in Sub Saharan Africa, only 4.4% of the stories mentioned AIDS in the content. This contradicts the previous studies and the reason could simply be attributed to previous AIDS overexposure. The image of the war-torn, violent, and unstable region is clearly dominant in the media's coverage of Africa's Sub-Sahara. In addition to providing minimal coverage to one of the world's most populated continents, newspapers in the West focus on subjects that portray the backwardness of the this large African region.

24 References Domatob, Jerry. (1994). "Coverage of Africa in American Popular Magazines." A Journal of Opinion, Vol.22, No.1. (Winter-Spring), pp Hachten, William A (1971a). Muffled Drums. Iowa State University Press. Ames:Iowa. Knickmeyer, Ellen (2005). "Darfur Fits Into a Pattern of Reporting Neglect." Nieman Reports (Summer), pp Montrat, Myriam (1994). "From the Heart of An African." Journal of Public Opinion. Vol. 22, No.1 (winter), pp.5-6. Ogundimu, Folu (1994), "Images of Africa on U.S. Television: Do You Have Problems with That?" A Journal of Opinion, Vol.22, No.1. (Winter-Spring), pp Ricchiardi, Sherry (2006). "The Limits of the Parachute." American Journalism Review, Oct/Nov, Vol.28, Issue 5.p Sawhney, Harmeet (2002) "Global Economy and International Telecommunications Networks" in Global Communication edited by Yahya R.Kamalipour. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Schraeder, Peter J. & Brian Endless (1998). "The Media and Africa: The Portrayal of Africa in the New York Times ( ). A Journal of Opinion, Vol.26, No.2, The Clinton Administration and Africa ( ), pp

25 Thank You Questions?

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