Monitor the news about one African country on the allAfrica website (www.allAfrica.com) for one week (seven days). For the same seven-day period (it does not need to be Sunday through Saturday, just seven consecutive days), monitor the news about Africa (all of it, or sub-Saharan Africa, or your country if there is enough) on the website of a major American newspaper or broadcasting station (e.g. the New York Times or CNN).
Pay attention to:
• Topics and events covered during that time (are the “big” news stories from allAfrica mentioned in the American news source?)
• Major personalities (who are the main people mentioned? Who are the main people quoted?)
• Overall approaches or frames of news stories (is Africa depicted as a disaster area? A “backwards” place? A place that needs to be saved? A place of hope and promise? Or just a place where people live? Or…?)
For the stories you see on allAfrica, pay attention to whether they are from a national (e.g. local newspaper) or international (e.g. IRIN – United Nations) source. Does this seem to make a difference in what stories are covered and how?
Next, write an analysis of what you have found, no more than 5 pages, comparing the African-origin news and the US news. Please be sure to mention what country you are monitoring, and which 7-day period you gathered news from. Discuss the following questions:
• Were there differences in the stories covered? What differences did you find?
• When the same stories were covered, were there any differences or similarities in the coverage?
• Was there anything striking about the similarities and differences? What kinds of topics/approaches/sources are included on one site and not on the other, and what difference does this make for readers’ understandings of the news?
Make your argument clear in your introduction, body, and conclusion. What did this exercise teach you about understanding events, politics, and society in Africa from different news sources?
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