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a list of who to follow on Ebola that’s more diverse than the one by Vox

8 August 2014
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It was flattering to be included on Vox.com‘s list, “24 Twitter accounts you should follow to understand the Ebola outbreak.” But I had a few problems with the list. Most of us included are white (I’m only half, but you get my drift). Limited diversity is not a new problem at Vox. Unlike earlier situations, however, in the space of informing the public about Ebola via social media, there are many diverse voices. Vox readers are missing out on a lot if they limit their scope to what these 24 mostly-White people have to say about Ebola.

One particularly remarkable omission from the Vox list is any African journalist. All the journalists/freelancers/correspondents are white (except Sanjay Gupta). I was genuinely surprised by this since one of the best things I’ve read about the current Ebola outbreak was penned by Umaru Fofana, a journalist in Sierra Leone who has been very active in posting Ebola updates to Twitter.

Below is my (alphabetically ordered) list of people who you could follow on Twitter that weren’t mentioned in the Vox list but should have been. I’ve also included one of the Tweep’s recent tweets about #Ebola. (Please, if you have recommendations, leave links or Twitter handles in the comments section and I’ll add to the list.)

Adia Benton, Medical Anthropologist at Brown University

Abena Dove, Historian of Medicine and Science at UC Berkeley

Bate Felix, Dakar-based West & Central Africa Correspondent for Reuters News

Umaru Fofana, Journalist writing for Reuters and BBC in Sierra Leone

Stephane Helleringer, Demographer at Columbia School of Public Health

Lamii Kpargoi

Viviane Mbombo in Conakry, Guinea

Cédric Moro, Independent Risk Consultant

Susan Shepler, Professor at American University School of International Service (and recently a Fulbright Scholar in Nigeria)

Abdul Tejan-Cole, Ex ACC Commissioner of Sierra Leone

Jeremy Youde, Professor and author of Global Health Governance

Part of the problem with Vox’s list is that it is limited to Twitter.

I suspect like in many African countries, Facebook is more popular than Twitter in Ebola-affected countries and so including Facebook pages expands the range of topics and issues than we would see on Twitter alone. For example, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation does not have a Twitter feed, but they have been very consistent in disseminating information on their Facebook page.

Here are a few pages you could like/follow on Facebook, with a few of their recent Ebola posts (again, if you have suggestions for other resources on Facebook, please share in the comments):

FrontPage Africa, a Liberian newspaper

Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation

Journalist Nathan Charles, posting from Liberia

Concerned Africans Against Ebola

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 August 2014 7:26 am

    Thanks for this, Kim. I am so far extremely unimpressed by Vox, which is essentially the person-who-thinks-they’re-a-thinking-person’s version of click-bait sites like BuzzFeed.

    Here’s an example, all click-bait, no analysis (and worse, a misinterpretation of what the data says): http://www.vox.com/2014/8/4/5967175/the-farmers-market-fad-is-running-out-of-steam

  2. Richard, Poland permalink
    10 August 2014 3:07 am

    Thank you a lot. I use this word very sparingly, but using Western (white) media only to track the disease smacks of racism. Myself, I have discovered the local African newspapers and other brave people’s accounts by digging deeper.

    Great respect to the doctors who toil and die away, alas.

    • Mzungu wa China permalink
      11 August 2014 12:13 pm

      probably laziness rather than racism to be fair.

  3. 12 August 2014 6:28 am

    Thank you Kim for the list of the people who were not included in Vox. Unbelievable they were sorted out from the list.

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