Common currency emerging in Africa, the title says. Any comments?
I was quite disturbed by the picture this well-known Finnish business paper had chosen to put on its frontpage, and as I’ve been feeling very well-versed lately (as you can see from increased blog-posting), I decided to take matters into my own hands and send an e-mail to the editor.
This is what I wrote:
After having seen yesterday’s (7.7.2011) frontpage for Kauppalehti, I was both pleased and annoyed.
Pleased, that you also report news from Sub-Saharan Africa, where economies and investments are growing fast in many areas and will certainly also interest Finnish companies looking for growth markets.
I was however very disappointed in your choice for frontpage picture. How do stunted, plastic bucket-carrying kids in raggedy clothes reflect the article ‘Common currency emerging in Africa’? It’s very regrettable that a respectable newspaper such as Kauppalehti has decided to settle for stereotypes. The picture-article link would’ve been a bit more understandable if the topic would’ve for example been on recent food price rises, but not if it’s about positive economic development. Having recently worked in Tanzania I can say that Africa isn’t only a continent of starving children, development occurs even if the Western media this for some reason doesn’t want to convey. Furthermore, East Africa is probably already having a common currency next year, 2012, which could’ve been mentioned in passing in your (2-page) article regarding a possible common currency in West Africa by 2015.
Your choice of picture, particularly on the frontpage, affects people’s perceptions of Africa. I do not think it’s in Kauppalehti’s publisher’s/ readers’ interest to uphold certain prejudices, and hope that next time you will think a bit more carefully which kind of image you want to convey of both an important topic and the credibility of your newspaper.
A bit on the dramatic side maybe, but I got my reply less than half an hour later:
Thanks for your comment, you are right.
Have a good continuation of the summer, regards,
Short but sweet. Success!