When the western journalist pictures Kenya: A minor field study about colonial heritage and cultural meetings

University essay from Luleå/Department of Arts, Communication and Education

Abstract: This thesis examines how Western foreign reporters think and reflect on how the post‐colonial heritage affect them in their journalistic portrayal and what journalistic fields they cover in Kenya. The aim is also about to find what difficulties Western foreign reporters face in relation to culture and how they can handle post‐colonial thoughts and culture clashes in the best way.
The investigation consists of a qualitative interview study. The results are based on interview answers from five Western foreign reporters covering Kenya, two Kenyan journalists and the media researcher Anna Roosvall.
The essay also contains an interpretation part, where the authors themselves have act Western foreign reporters in Kenya and have collected journalistic experiences. By writing reportages and then analyze the experiences and the finished texts, they have tried to show how they are affected by and experience the existence of colonial thoughts and cultural differences. The material was analyzed using the Post‐colonial theory, Cultural theory and the theory of news values. The study concludes that there is no much concern over the portrayal among Western journalists; that they think it they have a good view of humanity and that they also have a great responsibility in terms of the image they create of Kenya. They cover both positive and negative fields. Some of the Western journalist’s employers wish for stereotype and familiar reports from Kenya, while other employers of the Western journalists demand positive news and want their reporters to show the "new Africa". The study shows that the Western journalists do not "want” to see the cultural differences that complicate their job. However, they give examples of things (which depending on how you see it can be linked to culture) that complicate their professional practice; that things take
longer; that they more often than in their home country face bureaucracy, suspicion for being interviewed and pressure for money in exchange for information. In order to handle cultural difficulties can one for example learn the Kenyan language Swahili, obtain local contacts and prepare oneself for corruption and different kinds of pressure. The portrayal of Kenya can be fairer if one stop to compare Kenya with the Western home country, if one look for more positive news, and include Kenya in a community rather than an outsider.