There was a nice piece in the Monkey Cage about what did the Ebola outbreak teach us about West Africa, with specifics from Liberia, by journalist and researcher Ashoka Mukpo.
He starts by noting that the rule of thumb for journalism is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” This is why when so many Americans think about Africa, they think that all that is happening is civil wars and disease outbreaks, if they aren't just thinking about safari animals and primitive tribesmen. I remember when I was leaving for the Peace Corps in Benin, and people were telling me to watch out for Ebola. That was in 1995, when the Ebola outbreak was in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which you can see from this map is even further from Benin that the current outbreak. Benin is over 1500 miles from the DRC. Telling me to look out for Ebola in the DRC when I'm going to Benin would be like telling someone in Africa to look out for a snowstorm in Los Angeles when they tell you they're going to Chicago. Hey, they're both cities in the United States, right?
When I look at the Reuters Africa page for stories for this blog, most of the stories are usually about violence, disease, or poor governance.
- 12 stories about terrorist attacks, pirate attacks, genocide, or civil war (recent attack in Mali, deadly attack by a Rwandan peacekeeper in the CAR, Rwandan spy chief released in the UK, pirate attacks in Nigeria)
- 2 stories about corruption (Buhari's anti-graft moves in Nigeria, French investigation into bribery by a Gabonese official)
- 2 stories about wildlife (Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe)
- 1 story about business or economics (Ford to start assembly in Nigeria)
- 1 story about immigration (UK foreign secretary warns African migrants threatens the EU's living standards
- 1 story about election politics (candidate in Cote d'Ivoire from the party of Gbagbo, who is on trial for crimes against humanity)