Book Review: New News Out of Africa

Veteran journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault hits the nail on journalism's head with her latest book, New News Out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance. Hunter-Gault, who up until recently was the Johannesburg Bureau Chief for CNN, gives her take on media coverage of Africa. Half of the book is dedicated to her work experience in both pre- and post-apartheid South Africa, while the other half examines what she calls the renaissance occurring in postcolonial Africa with the help of enterprising African journalists. If one only depended on Western media for news about the continent, they would conclude that the only things happening in Africa are war, famine and HIV/AIDS. This Afro-pessimism is further compounded by patronizing celebrities and Live 8 concerts that claim to be "saving" Africa. While she agrees that atrocities, such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the Darfur genocide should be covered, Hunter-Gault feels that this should be balanced out with the new news about the politicians, activists and ordinary people making a positive impact on the atrocities against the odds. "Recalling the old/bad news and putting it in context must also be a part of our new news mission if there is to be any hope of the past instructing the future," she says. Hunter-Gault cites the rise in democratic elections, and, thus, more democratic leaders around the continent as part of the new news. The reporter also recognizes being an African American and a woman has also helped her to "come in right" or fairly report news about Africa. A must read for all journalism students and those who care about Africa's future.



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