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[Interview] Africanews @ 2: Review of the year and prospects for the future

[Interview] Africanews @ 2: Review of the year and prospects for the future


As Africanews celebrates 2 years of broadcasting across the continent, the team celebrates several milestones and challenges overcome in the quest to tell the African story.

Over the past 12 months, the channel has grown by over 80% to amass 6.3million viewers across 37 countries, and impressive numbers on the digital platforms.

Our determination to serve you where you are has given birth to the release of our Android application, which has over 50,000 downloads.

We sat down with the deputy editor in chief and English Language head of Africanews, Raziah Athman, who shared with us the strategies that have delivered these milestones, the challenges that have been faced and overcome by our journalists and the expectations for the next 12 months and beyond.

What have been the key milestones and challenges faced in the last 12 months?

Africanews has been part of the changing trends in media, in content consumption and production. From new technologies that have taken us to the deepest corners of the continent, to dealing with journalists from diverse cultures, who have different styles of bringing the news to our audience.

I think our biggest achievement is the fact that we have been able to take advantage of these factors, blend that into our parent system developed by our sister channel Euronews and still be able to grow on the African continent.

We are new. We deliver the news as it happens. We broadcast in both French and English simultaneously. We cover close to 40 African countries with our network of correspondents. Because of this uniqueness, in the last year, our audience has grown by over four million viewers, which is a key milestone.

How has Africanews engaged its audiences through its digital platforms?

If you are on Twitter or Facebook and do follow Africanews, you are guaranteed a flow of updates on news happening around Africa, including those we package in our magazine programmes like This Is Culture and Sci Tech.

In the last 12 months, we have maintained consistency that is quite necessary for our audience online, especially those who might not be able to catch the news on TV.

Our numbers have grown into thousands and we are investing more into social media tools like the recently released Android application which has amassed over 50,000 downloads in a few months.

What were some of the biggest stories covered by the Africanews team this year?

We tend to cover political events that are shaping the history of this continent, the stories that will still be told generations and generations to come. Take the example of a court overturning an election in the case of the Kenya August 8 polls. That is unprecedented, even if constitutions allow for such rulings.

Certainly, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s ouster made headlines across the world, including at Africanews on November 21, 2017.

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma’s resignation on February 21, 2018 was a story we had been closely following throughout the president’s turbulent years in office.

We have also been keeping a keen eye on the conflicts tearing apart nations on the continent. And, the idea of peace is becoming even more complex. We have as well covered the conflicts in the Sahel region.

We are particularly sensitive about terror in Somalia, a country that is definitely intertwined in a much more complex web of conflict. From traditional influences, to modern politics, and the role of international actors, this unstable nation gives us the one of the accurate scenes to observe where Africa is going in terms of security.

You lead a diverse and multilingual newsroom at Africanews. How has your experience here informed your outlook on journalism in Africa?

The most important thing I have learned in this diverse Africanews newsroom is that audiences are diverse and so are stories. Our journalists represent this very diversity and so journalism is more diverse than what we may already know. I keep on learning to deliver the news for the entire continent. Stories that matter to everybody.

What can Africanews audiences expect going forward?

The Africanews audiences can expect unwavering principles in our style of delivering the news. This is made possible through the advantages we share with our sister channel Euronews. Together, we have been able to make partnerships for instance with award winning global media outlets like AJ + and NBC, as part of the efforts to bring the best to our audience.

Our audience can expect partnerships with local media platforms in their respective countries as we strive to reach everybody. The Africanews audience can always be sure we’ll move with the trends so they are not left behind. It’s why we are here, to give ‘your voice’.