On April 11, 2018 “The African Journal” was born. Its online version is Theafricanjournalonline.com. It is a bilingual ( English and French) news outlet. We have a mission to accomplish: “ The freedom to tell our stories, the African diaspora and African -Americans’ stories, to educate our people in America, and in the rest of the world as a community newspaper, and to support in Africa our ‘young’ democracies.” Our primary goal is to cover any event related to African diaspora and minority groups.
The news outlet has a story. The idea of running a community newspaper etched in my mind when I was still a student at a journalism school in New York city. I was also an intern as a journalist in one of the mainstream newspapers in New York. As an intern, I have had the opportunity to cover many events in the city. I was surprised that mainstream news outlets ignored or did not cover at all good news related to African diaspora and minority groups. They talk about us when tears streak down our cheeks and they are muted when we celebrate our success and prowess.
And we have decided to tell our own stories in a positive way. Yeah, telling our stories in a positive way, that is our ultimate goal and we are not going to derail no matter what as we seek truth and report it as the first guiding principle of journalism indicates. What is the truth in journalism? Kelly Mcbride & Tom Rosenstiel in “The News Ethics of Journalism,” put it in that way: “ Truth, at least as it relates to journalism, is not the same as meaning. We might, for instance know who won the election, or even what occurred in a tragic school shooting.” In other words, we have to provide community with accurate information, we need to be honest and fair.
We have quickly learned that our editorial standard, which is to serve a deeply – divided and diverse community by standing for the truth and being non – partisan or neutral, is the most challenging task and a difficult road trip. African diaspora in New York is at a crossroad. The community is marred by useless quarrels of leadership which tests the unity of the sons and daughters of the same continent. The aftermaths of that is that we have a small community with several groups that hate each other. That complicates our job as a journalist who has chosen to be neutral, to serve his community with love and commitment. We find ourselves trapping in the situation describes by Tim Harrower in his book “Inside Reporting”: “Others see the journalism as an inspiring quest for free speech, an endless power struggle between Authority trying to control information, and The People trying to learn the truth.”
The African Journal, let’s say it one more time, is totally independent. We do not have a group. We work for everyone regardless what you stand for. We want to make it clear: If you come to us to denigrate others, be aware that we are not going to listen to you and write against someone. Do not expect us to sit with you at the same table for any kind of conspiracy theory.
At the same time, we are free to opine on any kind of subject that concerns our community and endorse a political candidate as many news outlets usually do it. When we do so, we will say it with clarity to avoid any confusion. If you disagree with an article, you have the right to respond as we are open for a variety of viewpoints.
Do you hate us? We love you and we want to work for you and with you. We need your support.
Do you love us? We love you too. We want to work for you and with you. We need your support.
We will keep covering any event from any organization, any association, any community group or anyone who wants us to do so.
For anyone who already has our logo and who wants to utilize it, please talk to us first before you use it.
We wanted to end that editorial by paraphrasing Kelly Mcbride & Tom Rosenstiel saying that we want to engage our community by making an ongoing effort to understand the needs of our community we seek to serve and create robust mechanisms to allow members of our community to communicate with us and one another.
Bazona Barnabe Bado