The Media Blog: CNN didn’t do anything wrong

Nigerians have been all over tne matter of CNN’s coverage of Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Nigeria.

The headline was innocuous enough: “Mark Zuckerberg makes first visit to Sub-Saharan Africa”.

Nigerians descended on them – the same CNN that drove #BrigngBackOurGirls so hard it won a Peabody Awards and the adoration of the same Twitter set – for hating Nigerians. Bottomline of the argument: if it were bad news, it would be ‘Nigeria’. Now that it’s good news, it’s ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’.

Linda CNNThat’s the popular line, sure.

Naija CNNThat’s not the most informed way of looking at this.

At least if you work in the media.

First, we saw the official Facebook release – it clearly said this was his first visit to Sub-Saharan Africa (oh, and at his event yesterday, Zuckerberg made the same point – but this time to rapturous applause). So, for what was essentially a puff story, CNN was following a global (if somewhat hackneyed) business coverage model – no need to stray far from the official line.

Second, the story was reported via CNN Money – the section of the global newsmaker that is decicated to covering global finance and economics.

When it comes to conflict and news coverage, countries usually stand alone – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, attack on Uber passenger in India, gun murder in Texas. But when it comes to finance, the reporters look at markets.

Europe is a market. To be more direct, Eastern and Western Europe are markets. The US of A is a market. China is a market. India is a market. The Middle East is a market. And whether you like it or not, no one is concerned about Togo or Cameroon as individual markets. Generally Sub-Saharan African – unexplored territory – is treated as a market. If at all, to be broken down, it would be ‘West Africa’.

Facebook sees Sub-Saharan Africa as a solid opportunity, and obviously views Kenya and Nigeria as linchpins. And that’s obviously the strategy that it revealed and that CNN amplified.

Twitter’s outrage machine is on overdrive these days – but on this one, CNN has no agenda against Nigeria (the same CNN that Twitter praised for firm reporting on the GEJ government and that has profiled many Nigerian young entrepreneurs to acclaim). It does as media does.


PS: See anything worth talking about on the ins and outs of the media business in Nigeria on TV, radio, print and online (could be news, tweets, photos, opeds etc) send us a mail on[email protected] titled TMB. Let’s share the insight together!


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