Africa-US Journalism and Media Networking and Academic Forum

Concept Note
26-27 May 2021
Africa and the United States (US) have long and continuing engagements in the journalism, media, and communications fields. These engagements have included the training of African journalists in American universities and organizations, the presence of traditional and digital American media organizations in Africa, provision of funding by American organizations for journalism and media projects in Africa, scholarship on issues such as American media representation of Africa, among others. In the recent past, the engagements have broadened to include discussions and debates on the implications of media from new global powers such as China, Russia, and Qatar (Al Jazeera) for Africa-US relations. Yet, even as the engagements have continued and multiplied, a gap exists with regards to comprehensive understanding of Africa-US journalism and media dynamics. There seems to be no dedicated effort directed towards furnishing a wholesome picture of Africa-US journalism and media landscape.
With these issues in mind, the African Centre for the Study of the US at the University of the Witwatersrand is convening a two-day exploratory forum to serve as a networking platform and to build a body of knowledge and information on Africa-US journalism and media relations. Conceived as an open forum, the event is envisaged to feature speakers and participants from Africa and the US to network and share knowledge and information on the various aspects that comprise the Africa-US media landscape.
• Serve as a virtual networking forum bringing together professionals, practitioners, and academics with a mutual interest in Africa-US journalism and media engagements.
• Provide knowledge and information on past, current and potential areas of partnership.
• Explore means and ways of strengthening teaching and research.
The longer-term goal is to develop the initiative into an avenue for engagement, relationship building and partnership.
The forum is divided into an academic forum on day one (May 26th) and a networking forum on day two (May 27th).
The academic forum (May 26th) will discuss the following issues:
• What are some of the scholarly projects in the Africa-US journalism and media sphere?
• How applicable are journalism and media theories and concepts to Africa-US journalism and media engagements?
• What are some are some of the gaps in Africa-US journalism and media scholarship?
• Which opportunities for research does the CVID-19 pandemic portend?
The key issues of discussion during the networking forum (May 27th) are:
• What are the past and current Africa-US journalism and media projects?
• Who is partnering with whom?
• What are the current thematic changes and shifts in the engagements?
• What is the level of involvement of governments in the engagements?
• What are some of the initiatives with specific regards to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Expression of Interest to Participate
Organizations and individuals interested in making presentations during these events are encouraged to express interest on or before Tuesday 18 March 2021. The expression of interest should have the following details:
• Whether the presentation will be for the forum or the academic conference.
• Topic/title of presentation and a short summary of no more than 250 words.
• A short bio of no more than 120 words and a headshot (picture).
If you need any further clarifications, kindly do not hesitate to contact Ms Nono Ndlovu on