15 June 1995
A big salaam aleikum to all the AFRIK-IT posse out there.
Interesting and gratifying to see the initiative of the man
Mukiri w Githendu re-posting Reuters copy to us all. Thanks man.
However ... has anyone ever considered that Reuters copy is
written for a Northern audience, with raw material from Africans
edited into standard Reuters style?
Have we thought about the fact African media outlets are having
to buy news about Africa produced by Northern-dominated
organisations whose frontline correspondents in the region are
from other regions?
This is where Inter Press Service (IPS) is different. In every
region we put the people from that region in the frontline. We
also do not conform to the disaster reporting stereotype whereby
news events are reported as simply events which bcome significant
when there's a body count and disappear once the sensational
impact has abated.
The IPS credo is to predict events, get behind the news, offer
more informed, contextualised analysis, and consider the fallout.
IPS, for example, is the first media organisation to post a black
African journalist full-time to Washington to cover the White
House, State Department, Bretton Woods institutions, US NGO
community and U.S. at large.
In a capital where decisions are made daily that directly or
indirecty affect the mass of us Africans, no one was asking
Africa-relevant questions at State, Capitol Hill or anywhere
else. Now -- in addition to a global environment editor who is
scooping all the major agencies (including Reuters) -- we have
Rose Umoren, formerly editor of the Nigerian Business Concord,
rattling cages in Washington.
By the way, IPS distinguished itself over the Oklahoma bombing by
beating the U.S. and world media to the link between Oklahoma and
Waco by a full 48 hours (as acknowledged by the Washngton Post
media column, Guardian media page etc). While the mainstream
media was accusing foreigners of Middle Eastern extraction for
the bombing (and as a result of the hysteria and witch-hunting an
Arab woman ended up aborting her baby), our staffers Jim Lobe and
Yvette Collymore put the whole home-grown militia thing firmly in
context. Our story was out on databases in the U.S. while Reuter,
AP and others were still pursuing the Arab connection. And all
this for a Third World News Agency with a tiny budget, a
'virtual' network and no pretensions to beating the big guns to
Anyway... for those who don't know much about IPS:
Inter Press Service (IPS) is the world's leading alternative news
agency. Unlike Reuter, AP and others we are grassroots and
development-oriented. IPS was set up in 1964 by a cooperative of
journalists who saw the need for an alternative to the Western-
led news agenda that was dominating the global media.
IPS believes in following the processes that affect development,
specialises in reporting global issues (Environment, Human
Rights, Culture, Arts, Migration, Economy, etc), and produces
analytic, contextualised and in-depth reports.
In Africa, our regional headquarters is in Harare, Zimbabwe, and
we cover political, socio-cultural and economic developments
consistently, accurately and innovatively. We run a 'virtual'
network with collaborators in the najority of African countries.
Our central management is based in Rome, Italy, and our editorial
World Desk in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
We're not just a news agency. We train a large number of African
journalists in process-oriented reporting and coverage of global
issues. And we helped computerise some five national news
agencies in the 1980s. We are currently among the leading media
users of telematics in Africa.
And for those of you who managed to get to the Rio Earth Summit,
Vienna Human Rights Conference, Cairo Population conference or
Copenhagen Social Summit, the daily conference newspaper 'Terra
Viva' is an IPS production by a team of Third World journalists
from all over.
IPS disseminates its daily global wire via a number of electronic
BBS and e-mail systems. If you are a member of an APC
(Association for Progressive Communications) network such as
PeaceNet, GreenNet, GeoNet, AlterNex or Pegasus, you can access
IPS's global cast, with a three-day time delay, in selected
conferences. For information about this send a message to
<[log in to unmask]>.
The Africa service (an average of 12 pieces of 800 words in
length each consisting of material written by correspondents in
the region as well as Africa-related material from Washington,
New York, Geneva, Paris, Amsterdam etc) is disseminated via the MISANET. For subscription details you can send a message to
Bruce Cohen in Jo'Burg, South Africa on <[log in to unmask]>
or David Lush in Windhoek, Namibia <[log in to unmask]>.
In North America IPS material is made available by the Global
Information Network (GIN) via the following databases: Mead Data
Nexis, NewsNet, COMTEX. In Canada GIN feeds the INFORMAT
Peter da Costa, Regional Director for Africa
Inter Press Service (IPS) Third World News Agency
Regional Headquarters for Africa
P.O. Box 6050, 127 Union Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: (263-4) 790104/5 Fax: (263-4) 728415
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]