“I’m Eliza Anyangwe. I’m a Cameroon-born, now Amsterdam-based writer and editor. After a short spell in international development organisations, I pivoted to journalism, starting at The Guardian in 2009. By the time I was moving to Amsterdam in June 2019, I had also worked for CNN International and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
As managing editor at The Correspondent my job was to set up the new platform: recruiting our team and experimenting with ways for our journalism to both live up to the promises of the crowdfunding campaign and reflect the principles and aspirations shared by our sister site De Correspondent.
At time of writing, we’ve just celebrated our first birthday and I’m thinking about what year 2 holds for us. There are many opportunities that will come from working closer with De Correspondent and there is still much untapped potential with engaging members, experimenting with storytelling styles - developing more audio content for the gorgeous app! - and finding new voices to help all our audiences get a better understanding of the world around them.”
“There are a few, but here are just two: The focus of news media - and specifically 24-hour news media - on the exceptional (usually the bad news, then sweetened at the end with a cat saved from a tree or a poor African child, from [insert slum or refugee camp], who found a clarinet in the sack of food aid and now is moving to New York despite pandemic and poverty to pursue orchestral dream) distorts our sense of various problems, provides us with little if any meaning; tends to flatten people and places to stereotypical representations; and often also fosters cynicism and dread.
Then within newsrooms, the role of editors in determining the editorial line everyday disempowers journalists who often know more about their subject than their editor who determines what the story should be. This diminishes the ability of journalists to better connect the dots and, in turn, of audiences to really learn what’s happening and why it matters.”
“First it’s always important to start by saying that there are facts and particularly with news media, the job of the journalist is to convey the facts. But facts like statistics are interpreted by people who have conscious and unconscious biases, who have their own particular fascinations and interests, whose stories are nor just shaped by said facts but also by their mood and the amount of time they had to report, and the kind of access they had, and who their sources are etc. All of this should first be acknowledged by people telling stories. Doing so opens up space to say: ‘this piece of journalism isn’t the absolute, objective truth on X issue. If you have experience of or expertise in this subject, help me gain a fuller picture of it; I may well change my mind about the implication of these facts and will tell you if I do; In the meantime, be an active consumer of media and add your own inquiry to my reporting’.”
“The limits of good intentions! Journalism has experienced multiple crises over the last decade. Like a person in crises, our ‘flight or fight’ responses kicked in as we grasped for idea after idea that would enable us to continue with business as usual - from native advertising to ‘instant articles’ and ‘accelerated mobile pages’; artificial intelligence and subscription models. But when we consider the inadequacy of our responses to Black Lives Matter, for example, or the unequal impacts of Covid-19 on our communities, we see that in the panic to keep the lights on and as we’ve chased the allure of tech solutions, we haven’t really stopped to fundamentally rethink what journalism is and how it can keep pace with the world around us. Change is often slow and I’ll share some of the things I’ve tried over the past 10 years including here at The Correspondent. “