Patience and compassion: Even in an age of electronic media moving at breakneck speed, these old-fashioned virtues are essential to getting the story — and getting it right. That was the message conveyed by Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR’s all-purpose Africa reporter, Thursday at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Delivering this year’s Rama S. Mehta Lecture, the Ghanaian journalist spoke about her in-depth efforts to amplify the voices of African women.
“African women, African girls — what they have to say is important, and we don’t hear enough of it,” she said.
As Quist-Arcton related the development of various stories to the audience, what came up repeatedly was her method, a mix of careful journalism and shared humanity that has elevated the Peabody and Edward R. Murrow-award winner’s work.
“We as reporters don’t dig deep enough,” she said. Finding interview subjects in the open-air markets of Dakar or Accra isn’t difficult, she said. What takes more work is uncovering the stories of those who aren’t always heard.
“You have to cut through the lines of eager young men who zoom in when they see a microphone,” said Quist-Arcton, who has also worked for the BBC and PRI’s “The World.”