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.
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
The journal Journalism Studies was established at the turn of the new millennium by Bob Franklin. It was launched in the context of a burgeoning interest in the scholarly study of journalism and an expansive global community of journalism scholars and researchers. The ambition was to provide a forum for the critical discussion and study of journalism as a subject of intellectual inquiry but also an arena of professional practice. Previously, the study of journalism in the UK and much of Europe was a fairly marginal branch of the larger disciplines of media, communication and cultural studies; only a handful of Universities offered degree programmes in the subject. Journalism Studies has flourished and succeeded in providing the intended public space for discussion of research on key issues within the field, to the point where in 2007 a sister journal, Journalism Practice, was launched to enable an enhanced focus on practice-based issues, as well as foregrounding studies of journalism education, training and professional concerns. Both journals are among the leading ranked journals within the field and publish six issues annually, in electronic and print formats. From the outset, the publication of themed issues has been a commitment for both journals. Their purpose is first, to focus on highly significant or neglected areas of the field; second, to facilitate discussion and analysis of important and topical policy issues; and third, to offer readers an especially high quality and closely focused set of essays, analyses and discussions; or all three.
The Journalism Studies: Theory and Practice book series draws on a wide range of these themed issues from both journals and thereby extends the critical and public forum provided by them. The Editor of the journals works closely with guest editors to ensure that the books achieve relevance for readers and the highest standards of research rigour and academic excellence. The series makes a significant contribution to the field of journalism studies by inviting distinguished scholars, academics and journalism practitioners to discuss and debate the central concerns within the field. It also reaches a wider readership of scholars, students and practitioners across the social sciences, humanities and communication arts, encouraging them to engage critically with, but also to interrogate, the specialist scholarly studies of journalism which this series provides.