Africa presents a host of formidable problems that limit quality coverage by Western -- and in particular, American -- news outlets. That means there's a gaping hole in the information needed to understand in significant depth Africa's huge role in global social changes and conflicts.
Some of the problems are physical; the continent's colossal size and relatively poor transportation and communications infrastructures, for example.
But some are attitudinal. Press freedoms overall are more limited in Africa in line with the continent's generally less than stellar political profile
Close to home, Americans also have been shown, repeatedly, to favor domestic over international news. And those of us who do pay closer attention to foreign stories tend to prefer those originating in nations with which we have greater historic, geographic and cultural affinity, or substantial national involvement -- which is to say, Europe, the Middle East and, increasingly, Latin America.
What coverage there is of Africa tends to concentrate on the catastrophic -- civil war, terrorism, Christian-Muslim religious conflict, poverty, disease, government corruption and African migrants desperately trying to flee their homelands for Europe.
Here's a sampling of journalistic, think tank and academic pieces that address why Africa coverage is below par. There's a lot here, so read them at your leisure. Click here, and here. And here or, finally, here.
Now, let's narrow our scope to just one region, Africa's sub-Saharan west.