Thursday, March 05, 2009

CNN launches two new programmes in aggressive ongoing expansion of Africa coverage

CNN Pressroom - More airtime on Africa stories than ever before as CNN’s expanded news base yields wealth of stories for its international audience

CNN International demonstrates its continuing commitment to Africa with the launch in March of brand-new weekly programming dedicated to showcasing the continent’s cultural, sporting, and business highlights. ‘African Voices’ and ‘Africa Inc’ will respectively focus on engaging African personalities and vibrant business stories and will serve together with the popular ‘Inside Africa’ strand to give increased prominence to Africa in all its diversity.

The new programming complements the existing news, economic, political and social output which itself has increased notably since the network expanded its newsgathering presence in Johannesburg, Kenya and Lagos a year ago. Further expansion and investment is planned to support existing Johannesburg bureau staff in the coming months.

“The stories coming out of Africa across the political, economic, sporting and cultural spectrum are of increasing interest to an international audience as the world becomes ever more inter-connected,” said Katherine Green, CNN International SVP Programming. “We are truly excited to be able to dedicate extra resources, enabling us to go beyond the headlines and explore this diverse continent in all its facets.”

In addition to new programming and additional staffing, CNN is investing in local partnerships with key industry events as a signal of its commitment to local integration, such as IMF Tanzania, and Indaba, South Africa. It also continues its longstanding commitment to African journalism in the form of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year awards.

“CNN has never been more strongly represented within Africa, nor Africa more strongly represented on our air,” added Green. “Our goal is for our programming to engage with audiences both inside and outside of the continent and to help bring this continent to life for our viewers.”

CNN has been particularly dedicated to reporting important stories as diverse as the continuing struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe; preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2010; Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations (Robyn Curnow’s ‘Mandela at 90’ report won first place for international reporting at the New York Association of Black Journalists in February 2009); Brent Sadler reporting from Victoria Island, Lagos where a sea defence system is battling against coastal erosion, and David McKenzie travelling on a homecoming with Kenya’s Olympic gold medal winner, Nancy Lagat. CNN also continues to cover the ongoing developments in Sudan and Chad.

The new programming commitment builds on the hugely successful long-running Inside Africa strand, and sits alongside topical initiatives such as the year-long ‘World Cup 2010 Ready to Play’ programming.

CNN’s programming on Africa is presented by a diverse line-up of expert Africa commentators, including Nkepile Mabuse, Isha Sesay, Robyn Curnow, David McKenzie and Christian Purefoy.

About CNN’s programming

NEW ‘African Voices’, a half-hour weekly programme, showcases engaging African personalities, across all areas from business and politics, to music, the arts and sport. Utilising CNN’s resources, the programme offers viewers a uniquely personal viewpoint; an intimate, candid, up-close discussion. Viewers of ‘African Voices’ will find a different perspective on Africa from that often seen in the mainstream media – thoughtful insights and observations of the energies and confidence driving the success of the continent’s nations, people and individuals.

NEW ‘Africa Inc’, a unique weekly segment contained in CNN’s new flagship business programme, ‘Quest Means Business’, highlights stories that would otherwise go untold, stories that spotlight a region that is roaring onto the world financial stage with the promise of a bright future. Viewers will discover the forces that allow such regions to flourish and succeed, when so much of the planet is suffering financially. The programme highlights key industries breaking new ground; meet first-hand innovative leadership figures who are willing to think and reveal landmark management styles that are behind this new era of business success.

In addition to these two new programming strands, the weekly programme ‘Inside Africa’ remains a cornerstone of CNN’s Africa programming, and is its longest running feature programme. Now in its 10th year, the programme’s host Isha Sesay takes viewers on a weekly journey across the continent, savouring the rich flavour and culture that is distinct to Africa.

As well as these weekly programmes, throughout 2009 CNN International continues to examine the progress of preparations for the world’s biggest sporting event, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, through a series of regular updates and progress reports, ‘World Cup 2010: Ready to Play?’.

About CNN’s newsgathering

In February 2008, CNN broadened its newsgathering presence in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa as part of a robust editorial investment in bringing all facets of Africa’s story to the network’s international audiences.

Correspondents Robyn Curnow and Nkepile Mabuse were appointed to the Johannesburg bureau; David McKenzie in Nairobi and Christian Purefoy in Lagos.

Recent stories in the last 12 months include: Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations; ongoing coverage of Zimbabwe despite being banned from region; continuing coverage of the preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; reporting of Somali pirates plus special coverage of the Kenyan violence and uprising one year on.

About CNN’s support for African journalism

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards are the premier accolade for excellent journalism across the continent. Last year’s awards attracted entrants from 44 African countries with 23 finalists from all four corners of the continent. Now in their 14th year, the African Journalist Awards are the oldest and most diverse competition of their kind in Africa, and demonstrate CNN’s commitment to the development of media in Africa.

About CNN’s support for local industry events

CNN is active on the ground in Africa not just though its strong editorial coverage but also through the support it lends to local industry events.

In 2009, CNN’s on-air talent will be present at local events, forums and trade fairs, including ‘Inside Africa’ host Isha Sesay at IMF Tanzania focusing on sustaining and building Africa’s recent economic success; and Richard Quest at INDABA South Africa.

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