What we can learn from Kenyan journalist Larry Madowo who covers North America for the BBC

Larry Madowo in the BBC Newsroom.

The recent elections in the United States and the transition of power between the old and new president probably go into the history books as one of the most bizarre episodes of American history. We all know because global media have given the events lots of attention in the last six to seven months. One could ask if the attention by journalists on what is happening in the world’s most powerful country isn’t slightly exaggerated. The feeling of disproportionate coverage only comes up when the quality of the news is lacking. The work of Kenyan journalist Larry Madowo, North America correspondent for the BBC News and BBC World is a breath of fresh air in that regard.

It’s worth analyzing what exactly makes his contribution to the coverage interesting, so journalists can learn from his approach instead of just pointing out the fact that he is Black and coming from the global South.

This is how it started

Madowo announced on his Instagram at the end of July last year that he was back to reporting after a career break and was going to be covering ‘this pivotal moment in America’. He is aware of the amazing career path he walked so far, saying: ‘We didn’t have a TV when I was growing up. It is surreal that I get to anchor a BBC World news cast watched in every corner of the planet from DC. Don’t say dreams don’t come true!’. The 33-year-old journalist anchored his first show on Kenyan Television Network (KTN) Financial Markets Live when he was 20. 12 years later he anchors BBC World News.

Besides the fact that Larry Madowo gives us a rare opportunity to look at global affairs through his Kenyan lens, there are six other things journalism colleagues can learn from him:

  1. Use humour and fun

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Sanne Breimer

Sanne Breimer

Exploring the solutions to the lack of inclusion in journalism, focusing on decolonising journalism and discussing whiteness, Eurocentrism and objectivity.