If you sometimes get the sense that the international press doesn't always know what it's talking about with respect to the kidnapping of hundreds of girls in Nigeria, you're not alone. After a social media campaign put the issue on the top of the international media docket, some of the commentary became more reflective of the journalist's preexisting biases than of the actual truth of the situation on the ground in Nigeria.
One antidote to that is going local: getting your news straight from Nigerians or other folks on the ground then. So I reached out to a few people familiar with the local media scene, and asked them to put together a list of worthwhile Twitter accounts and news sites to follow. Here's a curated list of what I learned — each header links to a Twitter account you can follow if you're so inclined, and here's a Twitter list of all 9 accounts you can follow to get all of them.
Ezekwesil is a Senior Economic Advisor at the Open Society Institute, and a former Vice President of the World Bank. #BringBackOurGirls came from a line in a speech she gave about the kidnapping, and she's got a pretty large Twitter following which she uses to help coordinate the protests aimed at getting the girls home.
"Abubakar Shekau" seems to look radically different in each new video I see.— Alexis Okeowo (@alexis_ok) May 7, 2014
Okeowo is an extremely well-regarded Nigerian journalist. Her Wednesday dispatch in the New Yorker is one of the clearest, most insightful accounts of the search for the girls I've seen.
Based in the western Nigerian city Lagos, Olungesi writes poetry, fiction, and more reported work. He focuses on the Nigerian economy and is quite critical of the Nigerian government, seeing broader failings reflected in the Jonathan administration's handling of the Chibok kidnapping.
Tiwari isn't Nigerian; he's an Indian commodities trader who lives there. But he knows Nigeria quit well, and is often quite critical of those who don't.
A clearinghouse for work by Nigerian citizen-journalists. You can learn a lot just by perusing the site's front page.
She's a Nigerian-American freelance journalist currently working out of Nigeria. Her personal blog has a lot of interesting thoughts.
Our BBC video with first TV interviews with the mothers of the abducted girls. http://t.co/e8Xus8a7eN— will ross (@willintune) May 5, 2014
The BBC's Nigeria correspondent.
Boko Haram activities un-Islamic, devilish -Muslim Students http://t.co/14DPQmadRg— Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) May 7, 2014
A popular Nigerian newspaper with a very strong social media presence.
[ When our girls are safely back home, we should discuss improved security everywhere. Then, unemployment. And then the root, inequality. ]— #BringBackOurGirls (@gbengasesan) May 7, 2014
A relatively young Nigerian expert on information and communication technology. He leads a local NGO, and has been extremely active in #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter.
Correction: Obiageli Ezekwesil is a former World Bank vice president, not current as originally described. Apologies: that's been fixed.