Reporting Africa: Chinese University Creates Grants For Field Stories

Winners will spend time in Africa reporting the true continent in order to enhance ties with China.


The Department of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, from July 31-August 4, 2017, held a seminar on “African Reports In the Chinese Media.” The yearly event was attended by 43 Chinese journalists from 28 media outlets, with some having worked in Africa. Three African journalists from Nigeria, Kenya and Cameroon also presented lectures at the seminar.

Organisers said the objective of the training was to provide Chinese journalists more information and a sense of Africa’s real development situation in order to enhance China-Africa relations. “It is an effort to degeneralize and demystify Africa amongst Chinese journalists,” explained Lianxing Li, one of the conveners. “Earlier this year, a forum for senior Chinese international news correspondents discussed how to report Africa effectively. Now, the pioneer academic awards for the best report proposals on China-Africa relations have been created. We encourage journalists to submit proposals for trips to Africa funded by the project to do their stories. Africa’s story has long been neglected in international news,” Lianxing Li said.

It was understood that five to eight reporting proposals will be sponsored each year, and the time the journalists spend in Africa ranges from a week to a month, Lianxing pointed out. “Guest lecturers from various sectors showed seminar participants a comprehensive picture of the bilateral relationship between China and Africa, which was unfamiliar to them before,” he underlined. Diplomats, bankers, investors, journalists and academics with vast knowledge of Africa were invited to share their experience.  

“More vivid development stories need to be told; just like more real information is needed by potential partners and investors. Chinese journalists need to report the real Africa stories to improve our bilateral relationship,” Lianxing Li noted. “Myths about Chinese journalism might have been broken by your own experiences. The only challenge now is first-hand experience and knowledge on Africa. We hope more Chinese journalists will engage in covering Africa and consistently focus on related stories from a more diverse perspective,” Lianxing Li concluded.

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