In 1982, about twenty Black journalists quit their jobs at American news networks, banded together under the name Jacaranda Nigeria Limited, and flew to Nigeria, where they worked under the country’s newly elected president to revamp a state-funded journalism network. On today’s episode of The Kicker, Feven Merid, a Columbia Journalism Review staff writer, tells their story.
She explains the many unforeseen challenges Jacaranda’s journalists faced—the Nigerian government’s interference in their reporting, the Nigerians’ confusion over their racial identities, the lack of proper training and resources—and, ultimately, how the problems they went to Nigeria to escape never really disappeared.
“No matter where you go as a Black journalist, you’re going to have pretty enormous challenges,” Merid says in the episode. “Whether you go to Nigeria and try to report news…or you’re in America and you’re dealing with all of the issues and racism that exist in the press today here, there is no escape.”
Jacaranda Nigeria Limited, Feven Merid, Columbia Journalism Review
Q&A: Feven Merid on the Black American journalists who went to Nigeria in the eighties, Betsy Morais, Columbia Journalism Review
Beyond Atonement, various authors, Columbia Journalism ReviewEmily Russell is a CJR fellow.