This book offers an African perspective on 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
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 is the edited volume Newsmaking Cultures in Africa (2018).
Admire Mare (PhD) is an Associate Professor and Deputy Head 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).