Whatsapp has transformed foreign reporting, says Jennifer O'Mahony


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By Suchandrika Chakrabarti. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

British freelance journalist Jennifer O'Mahony (Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaomahony) is now based in West Africa - mostly in Dakar, Senegal - and her job would be much harder without Whatsapp. Technology leapt from the analogue age to smartphones in the area she covers, so contacts prefer Whatsapping, speaking on the phone, or meeting in person. Businesses have Facebook pages rather than websites, rely on mobile money rather than bank accounts and email isn't really the done thing.

Jennifer had to learn a whole new way of reporting, after working in Hong Kong for news agency Agence France Presse. There, she covered the Umbrella Movement protests in 2014 using her mobile. However, when cultivating sources for less urgent stories, she found that online messages were much preferred to phone calls, and in-person meetings weren't important.

On this episode, Jennifer talks us through the tech a foreign reporter needs these days to get the job done, and how this varies wildly from country to country.


How has your industry moved from analogue to digital? Each episode, creative guests tell host Suchandrika Chakrabarti how the internet has revolutionised work.

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