Digital Technologies and the Evolving African Newsroom
Towards an African Digital Journalism Epistemology
African newsrooms are experiencing the disruptive impact of new digital technologies on the way they generate and disseminate news. Indeed, newsrooms are being forced to adapt in various ways and there are clear dimensions of localized creativity and adaptations by journalists to the digital revolution. In the same way, the influences of digitization, internet, and social media are changing the informational needs of readers, including how they engage with news. These developments nonetheless remain on the margins of ‘mainstream’ journalism research – very few researchers have sought to qualitatively capture the implications of developments in digital technologies on the routine practices of African journalists, especially in their ‘natural habitat’, the newsroom.
In this light, this edited volume interrogates the changing ecology of news-making in Africa in the context of rapid technological changes in newsrooms as well as in the wider social context of news production. It brings together six contributions drawn from five countries: Egypt, Mozambique, South Africa, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, to explore practices, challenges and professional normative dilemmas emerging with the adoption and appropriation of new technologies. While the studies point to dimensions of localised new technology appropriations as defined by the complex socio-political structures in which African journalists operate, they are not rigidly confined to Africa. They are expressly in dialogue with theoretical observations largely emerging from Western scholarship. In this sense, the book goes beyond simply mainstreaming African perspectives, it engages directly with dominant theoretical observations and offers a point of departure for developing what could loosely be branded as an African digital journalism epistemology.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Digital Journalism.
Table of Contents
Preface Bob Franklin 1. Introduction: ‘Digital technologies and the evolving African newsroom’: towards an African digital journalism epistemology Hayes Mawindi Mabweazara 2. New Media Technologies and Internal Newsroom Creativity in Mozambique: The case of @verdade Admire Mare 3. Social Media and Community Radio Journalism in South Africa Tanja Bosch 4. Readers Comments on Zimbabwean Newspaper Websites: How audience voices are challenging and (re)defining traditional journalism Hayes Mawindi Mabweazara 5. Negotiating Convergence: "Alternative" journalism and institutional practices of Nigerian journalists Motilola Olufenwa Akinfemisoye 6. The Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Three Egyptian Newsrooms Ahmed El Gody 7. Journalists’ Twitter Networks, Public Debates and Relationships in South Africa Peter Verweij and Elvira van Noort
Hayes Mawindi Mabweazara, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Falmouth University, UK. He serves on the editorial board of Digital Journalism and is the Book Reviews Editor for Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies. As well as guest-editing a special issue of Digital Journalism 2(1) (2014), on which this book is based, Mabweazara has co-edited a special issue of Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism 12(6) (2011), themed: ‘New Media and Journalism Practice in Africa: An Agenda for Research’. Mabweazara also co-edited: Online Journalism in Africa (2014) and is currently working on a monograph, titled: Africa’s Mainstream Press in the Digital Era (2015).