Africa doesn’t feature much on our media landscape, except for Ebola and Pistorius

Katie Silver, ABC journalist; ex-CNN ex reporter/producer with Sky News Business.

You lived and worked in many different places. What is the impact of this on your work?

I have been lucky enough to have lived in a few different countries. Really, really lucky. I think it helps provide some context to the stories I later tell as well as making me more aware of stories. For instance, my interest in Latin America means I follow local blogs and see stories I wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Also it gives me contacts should a story of international import occur.

What are some common myths about the journalism profession?

One is that you are always out and about.  I think sadly too much time is spent behind a desk nowadays.  You’re fortunate as a journalist if you work in an organisation with the resources to allow you to pursue original, resource-heavy stories. Also something people are often surprised by are the hours – overnights, weekends, early mornings etc. 24 hour news has changed things.

The news can have a big impact on people and the decisions it takes. How important is this knowledge in your work? 

Hugely, this is what my postgrad studies are in.  I think it’s a privilege that one has to continually remember. As journalists, we have the power to change what people think- but there’s a big responsibility in that as well.  Objectivity is the goal.

In what way journalism does it contribute to the understanding and promotion of African culture? 

In Australia, I wish it did more.  Sadly Africa doesn’t feature much on our media landscape, except for Ebola and Pistorius.   I love when I see stories on African music and culture.  There was a beautiful documentary recently about the resurgence of Soweto through choir.  I think stories like this are great for breaking down stereotypes.

Do you think that the perception that common people have of Africa is correct or do they need to be made more aware of it? 

I personally don’t know as much as I would like, in order to even answer this question.  I am yet to go to Africa and so my view is informed by what I see in Australia and the people I meet.  All I know is I have much to learn!

Our mission is to promote the development of Africa counteracting the lack of information about the high quality of its art and culture: what do you think about this? 

I LOVE IT!   As I said, there is so much more I want to know about Africa.  I’m really excited to have found your organisation and look forward to following what you do.


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