Correspondent / behind the news

Behind the image

Sewer technician Tim Henderson shovels the fat as he works in the intersection of the Regent Street and Victoria sewer in London on December 11, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS)

(AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)

Welcome to Hell, Victorian-style

"I squeezed through the hole in the middle of the road," writes AFP photographer Adrian Dennis after taking a grisly trip into the belly of London's sewers. "Near the bottom of the ladder, I struggled to get my boot through the 'goo' and onto the last rung before stepping off backward into waist-deep 'porridge'. My harness unhooked, the sewer technician whispered, 'Welcome to hell!'"

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Above the fold

Open House at the CIA

Monday 15 December 2014 - Eye witness

The lobby of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Headquarters in Langley, Virginia (AFP PHOTO/SAUL LOEB)"The fresh-faced staff members scurried back and forth among the rows of chairs. They were clearly nervous," writes AFP's Pentagon reporter Dan De Luce, after covering the first ever live news conference held inside CIA headquarters -- as the spy agency scrambled to respond to revelations its operatives tortured Al-Qaeda suspects after the September 11 attacks.

(AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

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The night Ferguson caught fire

Monday 15 December 2014 - Eye witness

US-CRIME-POLICE-RACE-UNRESTAFP video journalist Loic Hofstedt was in Ferguson, Missouri, on November 24, 2014, the night a grand jury decided not to press charges against the white police officer who shot dead Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. He was injured in the head as rioting broke out in anger at the verdict. "I was just doing my last shots, and I told myself I'm going to get the hell out of here. It happened in a second -- I knew immediately it was a brick because I could hear them flying all around me."

(AFP Photo /Jewel Samad)

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Contagious as fear

Friday 12 December 2014 - Eye witness

A billboard with a message about Ebola in Freetown, on November 7, 2014.  (AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONG)

"Travelling to Sierra Leone to report on the Ebola crisis, I was expecting a country paralysed by the epidemic, full of people in rubber boots, gloves and masks – avoiding each other like the plague. And it was nothing like I had imagined," writes AFP video journalist Celine Clery, who travelled to the west African country, among the world's poorest, in November to find a capital still buzzing with life. "Everywhere we found a fighting spirit, looking for ways to move forward once the epidemic is over."

(AFP Photo / Francisco Leong)

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Brawl at the Hall

Monday 8 December 2014 - Eye witness

Participants land punches during the "Brawl at the Hall

"I picked up the “Brawl at the Hall” assignment in Bethnal Green, East London, late on a Thursday night. An interesting feature about white-collar boxers – City workers who trade their suit and tie for a pair of boxing gloves in the evening," writes AFP photographer Adrian Dennis. "Nine matches on the card. The fighters, a solicitor, a banker and an IT consultant, every one of them brave and committed. Quite unlike a normal sporting venue, with strict rules on where you can sit or venture, it became evident I had complete freedom to work."

(AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)

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No frills at Victoria's Secret

Wednesday 3 December 2014 - Behind the image

Brazilian model Adriana Lima during the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in London on December 2, 2014 (AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)

"As the time of Christmas stockings draws near, my gift came early with the Victoria's Secret 2014 show," writes AFP's Leon Neal, sent to cover the celebrity-packed lingerie show in London. "But I knew this was a serious event on the photographer’s calendar, not to be taken lightly however frilly the subject." For it is a fact of the news business: smiling, scantily-clad supermodels often drive more sales than headline politics, sports or entertainment.

(AFP Photo /Leon Neal)

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A Bhopal steam bath

Tuesday 2 December 2014 - Behind the image

Bhopal gas disaster survivor Akbar Khan, 70, sits inside a steam box as part of rehabilitation using traditional Ayurvedic treatment at the Sambhavna Trust Clinic on December 1, 2014  (AFP PHOTO/ INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)

Akbar Khan survived the Bhopal gas disaster 30 years ago -- but it left him with acute breathing, heart and joint problems. Steam baths are one of the Ayurvedic methods used to treat thousands like him, at a clinic in the Indian city. "It's difficult to photograph a tragedy after so many years," writes AFP's Indranil Mukherjee. "You’re trying to find an original angle and the best lighting to bring out the survivors’ emotions. But at the same time, you have to be extremely sensitive. After all, they’re having to relive the trauma of an event in which they lost a part of their life."

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Of football and friendship in Saudi Arabia

Monday 1 December 2014 - Eye witness

Saudi fans carry a portrait of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud as they cheer before the final of the 22nd Gulf Cup of Nations. (AFP PHOTO/ FAYEZ NURELDINE)

For a Western journalist new to socially-conservative Saudi Arabia, football is a precious chance to see local life up close. AFP's Ian Timberlake found himself sharing spiced coffee and jokes with police officers at the Gulf Cup final, and was left "marvelling at how a football match had again brought me face to face with Saudis." "In reality, that was the main reason I had come to this match," he writes. "For me, this wasn’t really about football."

(AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine)

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Raising the cost of lies, across two continents

Tuesday 25 November 2014 - Decoding

A graffiti in a street of Buenos Aires in October 2014 (Photo: Peter Cunliffe-Jones)

Fact-checking – not simply reporting accurately what people say but investigating, and reporting on, the accuracy of what they say – has been around for a while. It is said by most to have developed as a major force in the United States in 2004 with the creation of the website, followed a few years later by In the recent years, it has spread to Africa and Latin America, two regions where lack of trust both in politicians to tell the truth and in traditional media to report it are endemic, writes Peter Cunliffe-Jones, founder and director of Africacheck, Africa's first fact-checking website, and deputy director of the AFP Foundation.

(AFP Photo / Peter Cunliffe-Jones)

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