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.
Nothing there about the mobile money transformation taking place in rapidly digitizing economy (now that we've got research proving mobile money helps with formalization)? Not a peep about East Africa the fastest growing region on the continent? What about innovation? Marathons?
— The Prepaid Economic Ecosystem (@prepaid_africa) July 3, 2019
As a lifelong African, I’m overjoyed that a benevolent New York Times correspondent will soon patrol our pirate seas & deserts, occasionally telling our unexpected stories of hope. I live for the white gaze https://t.co/7t6IJjyf3C
As I've said before, I don't think the paper should base a correspondent in Nairobi, precisely because foreign journalism there for too long has been steeped in paradigms like these, and they are self reinforcing, given the dense presence of fellow Western journos and NGOs. https://t.co/9R1Jd1Zkmu