BBC vs. NPR – Sudan

Here are my comparisons of coverage on Sudan by BBC.com and NPR.org.

If you’re interested in what will soon become the world’s newest country, I’d suggest you stay away from NPR.

The progressive American radio giant offers great coverage on a wide range of issues, but Sudan doesn’t quite make the list. As I twist the dagger in the heart of a company to which I’ve applied for an internship, I’ll clarify some things later in this post.

This post deals strictly with comparing BBC and NPR on Sudan coverage, and in such the British counterpart has proven superior.

This BBC story includes interactive maps giving information on: Geography, Ethnic Groups, Infant Mortality, Water Sanitation, Oil, Food Insecurity and Education. The graphics show a clear divide between the two nations.

One thing I dislike about most of the coverage I’ve seen regarding South Sudan by the BBC is that the stories don’t delve into the overlying issues that may devastate the world’s newest country come independence from the north in July.

Most of the stories on the BBC have dealt with recent news issues as they happen, such as a new rebel uprising in Upper Nile State, but they don’t talk about the significance of that region (that it possesses most of the country’s oil reserves). The linked story above states that rebel leader George Athor poses the biggest threat to the new country, while others would argue the biggest threat to be economic insecurity throughout the south.

That said, I do enjoy the coverage provided on the BBC\’s website. The relevant links on the Sudan page let readers easily and quickly catch up on what they’ve missed about the world’s most under-reported continent.

As for NPR –

Coverage of Sudan is not so hot for NPR.

To read up on the region, news-fiends must do some significant sleuthing, and some may be deterred and move to another site for information.

That said, when big events happen NPR is all over it. My critique comes from a very critical standpoint, and I’ll acknowledge here that the basis of my tone comes from a want for this company to succeed (even if Republicans wish otherwise).

Unlike the BBC’s and the Guardian’s websites, NPR’s site isn’t set up to sort news by continent AND country. When a visitor clicks “Worldnews”, then filters to “Africa“, the stories are listed in a blog type format, listing stories chronologically in descending order.

The top news as of late has been in Libya, and readers will find Sudan news is buried. Needless to say, if the top news hasn’t been in South Sudan, the country won’t be in the first page (and probably won’t be in the second or third).

Users can again filter the quest for Sudan news on the right-hand side of the page, where they can search for the news they want from Africa. The only problem is that many stories include the word “Sudan”, and the search results will list each of these stories.

Lastly the problems with NPR’s coverage of Sudan comes down to just that, coverage.

The last article I found on the website was from Feb. 11, when 105 died in rebel fighting in the northern part of South Sudan. That’s not so good when trying to keep readers updated with news from the country. The article was the last coverage on Sudan following a flood of coverage on the elections and future split of Africa’s largest country.

I’d like to see the news giant put forth effort informing its readership about the problems about establishing a new country, as this one will likely have some of the harshest triumphs of any in recent history.

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