New York Times faces online backlash over Nairobi bureau chief job ad


The New York Times is back in the Kenyans online radar after publishing a job ad for their Nairobi Bureau Chief advertisement on LinkedIn.

The job ad includes sentences such as “the deserts of Sudan and the pirate seas of the Horn of Africa, down through the forests of Congo and the shores of Tanzania” which are reminiscent of colonial ads for settlers. It is clear from the ad what New York Times thinks of the region and the stories they intend for the holder of the post to cover.

The job ad reads;

“Our Nairobi bureau chief has a tremendous opportunity to dive into news and enterprise across a wide range of countries, from the deserts of Sudan and the pirate seas of the Horn of Africa, down through the forests of Congo and the shores of Tanzania. It is an enormous patch of vibrant, intense and strategically important territory with many vital story lines, including terrorism, the scramble for resources, the global contest with China and the constant push-and-pull of democracy versus authoritarianism. The ideal candidate should enjoy jumping on news, be willing to cover conflict, and also be drawn to investigative stories. There is also the chance to delight our readers with unexpected stories of hope and the changing rhythms of life in a rapidly evolving region.”

The New York Times has historically covered Kenya with a racist lens and they seem intent in upholding that legacy. Former New York Times bureau chief Jeffrey Gettleman led this focus with stories of war and nostalgic stories of what Africa used to be.

Thereafter Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura was appointed to the position and her first story featured dead bodies from the tragic Dusit terrorist attack. After online uproar, she claimed that it was a New York Times policy to show dead bodies of victims of terror attacks. The New York Times editorial board backed her despite there being evidence that it wasn’t true based of their previous coverage of terror attacks in the US and Europe. She later withdrew from the her position after a petition was launched online and later filed with the Media Council of Kenya.

Here are some of the reactions online to the New York Times job ad


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