1st Edition

Participatory Journalism in Africa
Digital News Engagement and User Agency in the South

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after May 7, 2021
ISBN 9780367197292
May 7, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
128 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

USD $59.95

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Book Description

This book offers an African perspective of how news organisations are embracing digital participatory practices as part of their everyday news production, dissemination and audience engagement strategies.

Drawing on empirical evidence from news organisations in sub-Saharan Africa, Participatory Journalism in Africa investigates and maps out professional practices emerging with journalists’ direct interactions with readers and sources via online user comment spaces and social media platforms. Using a social constructivist approach, the book focuses on the challenges relating to the elite-centric nature of active participation on the platforms, while also highlighting emerging ethical and normative dilemmas. The authors also point to the hidden structural controls to participation and user engagement associated with artificial intelligence, chatbots and algorithms. These obstacles, coupled with low digital literacy levels and the well-established pitfalls of the digital divide, challenge the utopian view that in Africa interactive digital technologies are the sine qua non spaces for democratic participation.

This is a valuable resource for academics, journalists, and students across a wide range of disciplines including journalism studies, communication, sociology, and political science.

Table of Contents


List of Figures

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Chapter 1: The Participatory Turn in African Journalism: Context and Conceptualisations

Chapter 2: Readers’ Comments: How Audiences’ Voices are Challenging and (Re)defining Traditional Journalism

Chapter 3: The Social Media Turn and News Engagement

Chapter 4: Participatory Journalism in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, Algorithms and Editorial Analytics

Chapter 5: Unsettling Changes, Normative Dilemmas and Ethical Challenges

Chapter 6: Participation, Pitfalls, Predicaments and ‘New’ Normative Directions: Concluding Reflections



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Hayes Mawindi Mabweazara (PhD) teaches media and international journalism at the University of Glasgow, UK, where he is a member of the Glasgow University Media Group. He is Associate Editor of Journalism Studies and African Journalism Studies, and a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Humanities. His most recent publication, includes the edited volume, Newsmaking Cultures in Africa (Palgrave, 2018).

Admire Mare (PhD) is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek, Namibia. He is a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Humanities. He currently leads the international research project Social Media, Misinformation and Elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe (SoMeKeZi) funded by the Social Science Research Council (2019-2021).