News / Africa

Mainstream US Media Criticized for Ignoring Positive Developments in Africa

Africa Society president Bernadette Paolo says many Africa-related events continue to feature less prominently in mainstream US media

President Obama and the African Youth Forum
President Obama and the African Youth Forum

Multimedia

Audio
  • Africa Society President and CEO Bernadette Paolo spoke to Butty

James Butty

The president and CEO of the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa says that important stories about Africa continue to feature less prominently in mainstream American media outlets.

The Africa Society is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that strives to educate Americans about the richness and diversity of Africa, as well as the economic opportunities that the continent offers.

Bernadette Paolo said, despite the fact that the month of August featured many Africa-related events in Washington, those events did not make the mainstream American media.

She said there is a need to demand positive coverage of Africa by providing the media with information that contrasts with the usual negative stories.

“When you ask students throughout the United States, the first four images that come to mind when they hear the word “Africa” is war, disease, starving children and animals. And, I think that the reporting in the media is primarily negative,” she said.

Paolo said, although there are challenges facing African countries, Americans need to know the contributions the continent is making and the potential it holds.

“When you think about it, many of the mineral resources in the entire world are from the continent of Africa, never mind the fact that the African diaspora in the United States is the highest educated among all immigrant populations. These are facts that never come to the fore through the media,” Paolo said.

She said changes in U.S. foreign policy toward Africa over the years suggest that Africa is getting the attention it warrants from the U.S. government.

But, Paolo said much more needs to be done to improve the negative coverage of the continent in the mainstream U.S. media.

“I think that, with journalists, you have to feed them with information and make them aware of these changes, of the economic development, of a country such as Botswana and others that are making great strides economically, of the number of democracies that are on the continent now, as opposed to 20 years ago,” Paolo said.

Paolo said the responsibility of disseminating positive information about Africa is not solely that of the media, but also the duty of all Africanists through the use of modern technology.

“I think it’s a combined effort of getting more information out there using social media, people who are Africanists, people from the African diaspora, putting things in newspapers, writing letters to the editors. So, the responsibility isn’t solely journalists. It’s all of ours,” she said.

Paolo said she lamented the fact that millions of Americans did not get the chance to meet and see the young people from Africa who attended President Obama’s Forum with African Youth Leaders.

“We had heads of state. We had foreign ministers. In Africa, in August, we had the AGOA Forum. We had these youth leaders that President Obama had here, 115 extraordinary young people with contributions already in their lives that were just mind-boggling. All these things are missed opportunities to have a different picture of African leaders. And so, I think, we seldom have reporting on positive developments such as these,” Paolo said.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid