Reporters go out into the street and academics lock themselves up in an ivory tower. In the past such platitudes were not uncommon to describe the contrast between journalistic practice and scientific theory. This essay shows they are not such different creatures after all. It is a reflection of the new intellectual debate going on inside my head as I was following the course Researching Africa in the 21st Century: my inner journalist was being questioned by my inner academic researcher in the making.

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