British freelance journalist Jennifer O’Mahony 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.
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Foreign corro @jaomahony guests on the #podcast, talking about #Whatsapp, covering the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong and internet shutdowns. Link in bio! 👆 Find Jennifer's latest piece for @1843mag here: https://www.1843magazine.com/style/senegal-style #podcastersofinstagram
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 talk us through the tech a foreign reporter needs these days to get the job done, and how this varies wildly from country to country.